Who were the first people to drink tea? Well it isn’t that hard to figure out seeing that tea’s country of origin is CHINA. One legend (out of many) states that Chinese emperor and herbalist, Shennong, discovered tea when a tea leaf fell into his boiling water and turned it brown without him knowing. The emperor drank it and found the new beverage to be very refreshing. The rest, as cliché as this will sound, is history. ☺
Japan, another country that we associate with extensive tea drinking, has only been drinking this delicious beverage since the 6th century A.D. Priests and envoys sent to China brought back tea and eventually tea seeds. Emperor Saga then proclaimed that tea needed to be cultivated in Japan for use by the royalty. In 1211, in his two-volume book, Japanese Zen Priest Eisai wrote “tea is the ultimate mental and medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete.” If that doesn’t sum up the importance of tea, then I don’t know what else does.
As time went by, tea continued to expand in popularity, eventually leading to massive trade routes being established from China to Europe. Tea has caused wars, revolutions, and massive social changes for thousands of people throughout history. This is all for another article though! Keep up with our blog and make sure to let us know what your personal history is with this beverage that, if you don’t already, you should learn to love!
(You probably want to know where we get our amazing loose leaf tea that we serve at Half Baked. My cousin, Eric Ament, is the owner of a tea shop in Duluth MN called Anahata Herbals.)