Tea Hisotry of China
The Chinese have been drinking tea for a long time. Tea plants are native to East and South Asia and probably originated around the point of confluence of the lands of northeast India, north Burma, southwest China and Tibet. Legend tells us that tea, the drink, was discovered accidentally around 2700 BC by the mythical Emperor known as the Divine Cultivator, Shennong. Tea has been cultivated in China for at least eighteen hundred years. Though some people think that tea is from England, but in fact, in 1823, it was a squadron leader of the English invading army who found the wild tea plant and brought to India and then planted there.
Although tales exist the beginning of tea being used as a beverage, no one is sure of its exact origins. The usage of tea as a beverage is first recorded in the Chinese classics Shennong Ben Cao Jing, whose author is Shennong exactly. It was already a common drink during Qin Dynasty (around 200 BC) and became widely popular during Tang Dynasty, when it was spread to Korea and Japan.
Trade of tea by the Chinese to Western nations in the 19th century spread tea and the tea plant to numerous locations around the world. The China tea trade reached its zenith in 1886. The Opium War, the Taiping Rebellion, combined with a general decline in Ching Dynasty fortunes, resulted in a drastic decline of exports. By the 1940s India and Japan were the leading tea merchants to the world. Nowadays, China has become the third largest country in tea export.
Chinese tea history also features the tea monograph. The first tea monograph Cha Jing by Tang dynasty writer Lu Yu was completed around 760 AD. This is more than four hundred years earlier than the first Japanese tea monograph by Eisai No known ancient Indian monograph on tea exists.There were about one hundred tea monographs from the Tang dynasty to Qing dynasty. This treasure about tea culture is only beginning to attract the interest of western scholars.