History of Tea

Number one Tea legend.

Prince Bodhidharma, the sixth century Indian priest who brought Buddhism to China, spent nine years facing a cave wall in meditation. Furious with his inability to stay awake, he is said to have ripped off his eyelids. Upon touching the ground, they sprung up as the first tea plant. This legend suggests that tea's stimulating qualities were not lost on monks who spent long hours in meditation.

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shen nong

Number two Tea legend.

Ancient legend in China, the story of tea began in 2737 B.C. when the Chinese Emperor Shen Nong, a skilled ruler and scientist, accidentally discovered the tea. While boiling water in the garden, a leaf from an overhanging wild tea tree drifted into his pot. The Emperor enjoyed drinking the infused water with its unusual and delicious flavor. He felt invigorated and refreshed. As a scientist, he was compelled to further research the plant whereby he found tea to have medicinal properties.

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Dutch East India Company

Decades before Boston Tea Party and the Opium Wars and well before the British East India Company ever amounted to the greatness it is remembered for, there was the Dutch East India Company, or VOC. It was, for over a century, the largest company in the world. The first tea import to Europe is accredited to the Dutch in the year 1597 . Tea, however, was initially relegated as a luxury good or medicine, as opposed to the common beverage it is today. Its market was relatively small for years, particularly in comparison to the big spice imports of the VOC of pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. Tea opinion began to change as doctors began to write about its medicinal effects. As tea went from the medicine cabinet of the apothecaries to the coffeehouses and salons of the day its popularity soared, particularly in England.

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