Did you ever ask yourself who discovered tea? There are legends that reveal who discovered tea as a world most aromatic drink. Historians still don’t know who discovered “foam green jewel”, as they call it.
People know tea for at least 3000 years. It has a rich tradition in countries where this “jewel” is rooted. Several legends, each in its own way, talk of its origin. Many nations cherish it and claim that they discovered tea.
Tea comes from Asia with no doubt. The Chinese, Indians, Japanese tells their own story. Sources indicate that the tea plant came from Assam (India) to China in the 4th century, but the Chinese know tea for thousands of years.
It is certain that the Chinese were the first ones who started to drink tea. But all legends have something in common:
China: “It refreshed him and also banished the fatigue and sleepiness.”
India: “Suddenly, he felt awake. The chewed leaves invigorated him.”
Japan: “Its freshness filled him with power and relaxation.”
Who Discovered Tea?
The legend says that tea was invented quite by an accident by a Chinese emperor Cheng-Nung. It was 2374 B.C. when some tea levaes fell in empheror’s hot water on a hot summer day . He noticed it when he raised the cup to his mouth and smelled the seductive scent of the magical concoction.
Another story explains how an Indian monk Bodhidharma sailed to China and devoted to a 9 year meditation. During this experience, he became very sleepy so he briefly closed his eyes.
At one moment he took a knife and cut off his eyelids. The eyelids fell to the ground and on that place a tea bush was grown. So the plant has found its home with Buddhist monks, who used it during long meditations for remaining awake and alert.
This was a birth of new drink, which invigorates and heals old and young, rich and poor. It also dictated political and cultural events in many places. While new ideas were born in cafes in Turkey and Europe; the China Revolution was born in the room of the Shanghai tea house in 1911.
Founder of Taoism Lao Tze described tea as the elixir of immortality in Chinese writings from the first century B.C.
The tea drinking became a ritual that symbolized both poetry and beauty during the Great Ming dynasty. It also symbolized the strength and determination. A cup of tea has become a mirror of the soul.
There are many other stories about the origin of tea and how it found its way into our cups. But the wonderful fact is that we haven’t discovered the tea, “tu”, “cha” or “tay”, but he found us through our openness and willingness to take his wonderful gifts.
It doesn’t matter who discovered tea, if it was a Buddhist monk, an emperor, herbalist or ordinary farmer. Tea was and still is used for body and lifting the spirit. Delicate flavor and medicinal properties of this beautiful plant made tea as the second most popular beverage in the world after water.
Tea Spreads to Japan
This practice spread to Japan in the early 9th century. Japanese people raised the consumption of this immortality drink to poetic heights with strictly prescribed ritual and developed it in the expression of the art of life itself. Young virgins collected the emperor’s tea in China during monarchy of emperors.
Cup of Tea in Arabia
If the Arabs offer a cup of tea it means unobtrusive expression of hospitality to visitors both in the poorest tents as in the marble palaces. They sit on the floor with legs crossed and drink hot tea in respectful silence.
In Morocco a very sweet tea is being traditionally drunk after each meal. The master or his son always prepares the tea but never a servant or even women. They pour very hot tea from the great height. Crystalline sound of pouring aromatic beverage into glasses should reverberate in Allah’s ears as thankfulness for food.
Tea comes to Europe
Western civilization didn’t know the tea until the 17th century, when the first cargo ship of fragrant tea leaves arrived in Europe from Makaa.
In France, tea is considered primarily as a drink of those people who don’t work physically. Intellectuals, wealthy people and especially ladies drank it.
Ladies who drank tea used silver, lace tablecloths and elegant pieces of pastry. I am sure you know the little finger bending when drinking a tea from porcelain cups. It was their habit.
However, by far the greatest passion for drinking tea in Europe is attributed to the British. In addition to the morning and afternoon ritual with cakes and sandwiches, almost every joyous or sad social opportunity calls for a “nice cup of tea.”
According to the traditional English rules, milk is first that goes in the cup (or very rarely lemon), tea and sugar follows. They don’t drink prepared mixture in large gulps but they delicately sip the tea.
Popularity of Drinking Tea
The legends of tea discovery tell interesting stories that attract our attention. Maybe you find legends that are made up but they still carry the magic. Our ancestors discovered this aromatic drink and it became their tradition.
As you see, people from different countries and continents have their own tradition in drinking tea. How do you drink it? Do you add sugar in tea or eat biscuits with it? Are you one of those people who drink it just when they get sick? No matter what is your reason for drinking tea, you are doing a big favor to your body and soul.
With a variety of teas you have the opportunity to pick the right one for your taste and needs.
Real teas are the most drinkable all over the world and come with different aromas and amount of caffeine. You can pick green, black, white, oolong, pu-erh tea and many more.
There are also herbal teas that help us to get better when being sick. Fruit teas are great for people of all ages and are great refreshment.
People love stories. Now that you know the legends that tells who discovered tea, you can tell it to your kids or family. I think you will have their full attention.