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The History of Tea

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Tea is not only a popular beverage of our time, it has has delighted the palettes of many for centuries. According to Chinese legend, the story of tea began in 2737 B.C. when the legendary Emperor Shen Nong, also a skilled scientist and the father of Chinese medicine, discovered it by accident. While boiling water in the garden, a leaf from an overhanging wild tea tree drifted into his pot—inadvertently brewing the first pot of tea. The Emperor found the infused, unusually flavoured water delicious, invigorating and refreshing. As a scientist, he further researched the plant and found that tea leaves eliminated numerous toxins from the body. Thus, tea is considered one of the earliest Chinese medicines.

There are several stories about discovery of Tea in India, but the most widely accepted story goes back to about 1815, when an Englishman had said to have noticed that people in Assam drank a kind of tea from a locally growing plant. It was later in 1823, Major Robert Bruce met with a Singpho King, where he was offered tea as a medicinal drink, he managed to send some sample of the plant to East India Company’s Botanic Garden at Calcutta and it was confirmed that they tasted like Chinese Tea when dried. History also states that the British brought tea to India after being introduced to it by China.

Interestingly, there’s an Indian variation to the discovery of tea too. Gautama Buddha is said to have discovered tea when a falling tea leaf happened to land in his cup one day as he sat meditating in a garden.