The history of tea is long and complex, spreading across multiple
cultures over the span of thousands of years.
Tea likely originated in
southwest China during the
Shang dynasty as a medicinal drink. An
early credible record of tea drinking dates to the 3rd century AD, in
a medical text written by Hua Tuo.
Tea was first introduced to
Portuguese priests and merchants in China during the 16th century.
Drinking tea became popular in Britain during the 17th century. The
British introduced tea production, as well as tea consumption, to
India, in order to compete with the Chinese monopoly on tea.
1 Geographic origins
2 Origin myths
3 Early history
3.1.1 Hong Kong
4 Global expansion
4.1 Portugal and Italy
4.7 United Kingdom
4.8 United States
4.11 Sri Lanka
4.12 Africa and South America
6 Further reading
Camellia sinensis originated in southeast Asia, specifically around
the intersection of latitude 29°N and longitude 98°E, the point of
confluence of the lands of northeast India, north Burma, southwest
China and Tibet. The plant was introduced to more than 52 countries,
from this 'centre of origin'."
On morphological differences between the Assamese and Chinese
varieties, botanists have long asserted a dual botanical origin for
tea; however, statistical cluster analysis, the same chromosome number
(2n=30), easy hybridization, and various types of intermediate hybrids
and spontaneous polyploids all appear to demonstrate a single place of
Camellia sinensis—the area including the northern part of
Sichuan provinces of China.
Yunnan Province has also been identified as "the birthplace of
tea...the first area where humans figured out that eating tea leaves
or brewing a cup could be pleasant."
Fengqing County in the Lincang
City Prefecture of
Yunnan Province in China is said to be home to the
world's oldest cultivated tea tree, some 3,200 years old.
According to The Story of Tea, tea drinking likely began in Yunnan
province during the
Shang Dynasty (1500 BC–1046 BC), as a medicinal
drink. From there, the drink spread to Sichuan, and it is believed
that there "for the first time, people began to boil tea leaves for
consumption into a concentrated liquid without the addition of other
leaves or herbs, thereby using tea as a bitter yet stimulating drink,
rather than as a medicinal concoction."
Japanese painting depicting Shennong.
In one popular Chinese legend, Shennong, the legendary Emperor of
China and inventor of agriculture and
Chinese medicine was drinking a
bowl of just boiled water due to a decree that his subjects must boil
water before drinking it  some time around 2737 BC when a few
leaves were blown from a nearby tree into his water, changing the
color. The emperor took a sip of the brew and was pleasantly surprised
by its flavor and restorative properties. A variant of the legend
tells that the emperor tested the medical properties of various herbs
on himself, some of them poisonous, and found tea to work as an
Shennong is also mentioned in Lu Yu's famous early work
on the subject, The Classic of Tea. A similar
Chinese legend goes
that the god of agriculture would chew the leaves, stems, and roots of
various plants to discover medicinal herbs. If he consumed a poisonous
plant, he would chew tea leaves to counteract the poison.
A rather gruesome legend dates back to the Tang Dynasty. In the
legend, Bodhidharma, the founder of Chan Buddhism, accidentally fell
asleep after meditating in front of a wall for nine years. He woke up
in such disgust at his weakness that he cut off his own eyelids. They
fell to the ground and took root, growing into tea bushes.
Sometimes, another version of the story is told with
Gautama Buddha in
place of Bodhidharma.
Scholars however believe that tea drinking likely originated in the
southwest of China, and that the Chinese words for tea themselves may
have been originally derived from the
Austro-Asiatic languages of the
people who originally inhabited that area.
Whether or not these legends have any basis in fact, tea has played a
significant role in Asian culture for centuries as a staple beverage,
a curative, and a status symbol. It is not surprising, therefore, that
theories of its origin are often religious or royal in nature.
History of tea
History of tea in China
Lu Yu's statue in Xi'an
The Chinese have consumed tea for thousands of years. The earliest
physical evidence known to date, found in 2016, comes from the
Emperor Jing of Han
Emperor Jing of Han in Xi'an, indicating that tea was
Han Dynasty emperors as early as the 2nd century BC. The
samples were identified as tea from the genus
via mass spectrometry. and written records suggest that it may
have been drunk earlier. People of the
Han Dynasty used tea as
medicine (though the first use of tea as a stimulant is unknown).
China is considered to have the earliest records of tea
consumption, with possible records dating back to the 10th
century BC. Note however that the current word for tea in
Chinese only came into use in the 8th century AD, there are therefore
uncertainties as to whether the older words used are the same as tea.
The word tu 荼 appears in
Shijing and other ancient texts to signify
a kind of "bitter vegetable" (苦菜), and it is possible that it
referred to a number of different plants, such as sowthistle, chicory,
or smartweed, including tea. In the Chronicles of Huayang, it
was recorded that the Ba people in
Sichuan presented tu to the Zhou
king. The state of Ba and its neighbour Shu were later conquered by
the Qin, and according to the 17th century scholar
Gu Yanwu who wrote
in Ri Zhi Lu (日知錄): "It was after the Qin had taken Shu that
they learned how to drink tea."
The first known reference to boiling tea came from the Han dynasty
work "The Contract for a Youth" written by
Wang Bao where, among the
tasks listed to be undertaken by the youth, "he shall boil tea and
fill the utensils" and "he shall buy tea at Wuyang". The first
record of cultivation of tea also dated it to this period (Ganlu era
of Emperor Xuan of Han) when tea was cultivated on Meng Mountain
(蒙山) near Chengdu. From the Tang to the Qing dynasties, the first
360 leaves of tea grown here were picked each spring and presented to
the emperor. Even today its green and yellow teas, such as the
Mengding Ganlu tea, are still sought after. An unknown Chinese
inventor was also the first person to invent a tea shredder. An
early credible record of tea drinking dates to 220 AD, in a medical
text Shi Lun (食论) by Hua Tuo, who stated, "to drink bitter t'u
constantly makes one think better." Another possible early
reference to tea is found in a letter written by the Qin Dynasty
general Liu Kun. However, before the mid-8th century Tang dynasty,
tea-drinking was primarily a southern Chinese practice. It became
widely popular during the Tang Dynasty, when it was spread to Korea,
Japan, and Vietnam.
Laozi, the classical Chinese philosopher, was said to describe tea as
"the froth of the liquid jade" and named it an indispensable
ingredient to the elixir of life. Legend has it that master Lao
was saddened by society's moral decay and, sensing that the end of the
dynasty was near, he journeyed westward to the unsettled territories,
never to be seen again. While passing along the nation's border, he
encountered and was offered tea by a customs inspector named Yin Hsi.
Yin Hsi encouraged him to compile his teachings into a single book so
that future generations might benefit from his wisdom. This then
became known as the Dao De Jing, a collection of Laozi's sayings.
Sui Dynasty (589–618 AD) tea was introduced to Japan by
Tang Dynasty writer Lu Yu's (simplified Chinese: 陆羽;
traditional Chinese: 陸羽; pinyin: lùyǔ) Cha Jing (The Classic of
Tea) (simplified Chinese: 茶经; traditional Chinese: 茶經; pinyin:
chá jīng) is an early work on the subject. (See also
According to Cha Jing tea drinking was widespread. The book describes
how tea plants were grown, the leaves processed, and tea prepared as a
beverage. It also describes how tea was evaluated. The book also
discusses where the best tea leaves were produced. Teas produced in
this period were mainly tea bricks which were often used as currency,
especially further from the center of the empire where coins lost
their value. In this period, tea leaves were steamed, then pounded and
shaped into cake or brick forms.
Ming Dynasty painting by artist
Wen Zhengming illustrating scholars
greeting in a tea party
Song Dynasty (960–1279), production and preparation of
all tea changed. The tea of Song included many loose-leaf styles (to
preserve the delicate character favored by court society), and it is
the origin of today's loose teas and the practice of brewed tea. A new
powdered form of tea also emerged. Steaming tea leaves was the primary
process used for centuries in the preparation of tea. After the
transition from compressed tea to the powdered form, the production of
tea for trade and distribution changed once again.
Illustration of the legend of monkeys harvesting tea
The Chinese learned to process tea in a different way in the mid-13th
Tea leaves were roasted and then crumbled rather than
steamed. By the Yuan and Ming dynasties, unfermented tea leaves were
first pan-fried, then rolled and dried. This stops the oxidation
process which turns the leaves dark and allows tea to remain green. In
the 15th century,
Oolong tea, where the tea leaves were allowed to
partially ferment before pan-frying, was developed. Western taste,
however, preferred the fully oxidized black tea, and the leaves were
allowed to ferment further.
Yellow tea was an accidental discovery in
the production of green tea during the Ming dynasty, when apparently
sloppy practices allowed the leaves to turn yellow, but yielded a
different flavour as a result.
Tea production in China, historically, was a laborious process,
conducted in distant and often poorly accessible regions. This led to
the rise of many apocryphal stories and legends surrounding the
harvesting process. For example, one story that has been told for many
years is that of a village where monkeys pick tea. According to this
legend, the villagers stand below the monkeys and taunt them. The
monkeys, in turn, become angry, and grab handfuls of tea leaves and
throw them at the villagers. There are products sold today that
claim to be harvested in this manner, but no reliable commentators
have observed this firsthand, and most doubt that it happened at
all. For many hundreds of years the commercially used tea tree has
been, in shape, more of a bush than a tree. "Monkey picked tea" is
more likely a name of certain varieties than a description of how it
In 1391, the Ming court issued a decree that only loose tea would be
accepted as a "tribute". As a result, loose tea production increased
and processing techniques advanced. Soon, most tea was distributed in
full-leaf, loose form and steeped in earthenware vessels.
See also: Hong Kong tea culture
In Hong Kong, apart from the yum cha culture of southern China, a
localised version of English tea was developed, the Hong Kong-style
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Tea Urns used by merchants to store tea
Japanese tea ceremony
History of tea
History of tea in Japan
Tea use spread to Japan about the sixth century AD.
Tea became a
drink of the religious classes in Japan when Japanese priests and
envoys, sent to China to learn about its culture, brought tea to
Japan. Ancient recordings indicate the first batch of tea seeds were
brought by a priest named
Saichō (最澄, 767–822) in 805 and then
by another named
Kūkai (空海, 774–835) in 806. It became a drink
of the royal classes when
Emperor Saga (嵯峨天皇), the Japanese
emperor, encouraged the growth of tea plants. Seeds were imported from
China, and cultivation in Japan began.
In 1191, the famous
Eisai (栄西, 1141–1215) brought
back tea seeds to Kyoto. Some of the tea seeds were given to the
priest Myoe Shonin, and became the basis for Uji tea. The oldest tea
specialty book in Japan, Kissa Yōjōki (喫茶養生記, How to Stay
Healthy by Drinking Tea), was written by Eisai. The two-volume book
was written in 1211 after his second and last visit to China. The
first sentence states, "
Tea is the ultimate mental and medical remedy
and has the ability to make one's life more full and complete." Eisai
was also instrumental in introducing tea consumption to the warrior
class, which rose to political prominence after the Heian Period.
Green tea became a staple among cultured people in Japan—a brew for
the gentry and the
Buddhist priesthood alike. Production grew and tea
became increasingly accessible, though still a privilege enjoyed
mostly by the upper classes. The tea ceremony of Japan was introduced
from China in the 15th century by Buddhists as a semi-religious social
custom. The modern tea ceremony developed over several centuries by
Buddhist monks under the original guidance of the monk Sen no
Rikyū (千 利休, 1522–1591). In fact, both the beverage and the
ceremony surrounding it played a prominent role in feudal diplomacy.
In 1738, Soen Nagatani developed Japanese sencha (煎茶), literally
roasted tea, which is an unfermented form of green tea. It is the most
popular form of tea in Japan today. In 1835, Kahei Yamamoto developed
gyokuro (玉露), literally jewel dew, by shading tea trees during the
weeks leading up to harvesting. At the end of the Meiji period
(1868–1912), machine manufacturing of green tea was introduced and
began replacing handmade tea.
Korean tea ceremony
Korean tea ceremony and Korean tea
Korean tea ceremony
The first historical record documenting the offering of tea to an
ancestral god describes a rite in the year 661 in which a tea offering
was made to the spirit of King Suro, the founder of the Geumgwan Gaya
Kingdom (42–562). Records from the
Goryeo Dynasty (918–1392) show
that tea offerings were made in
Buddhist temples to the spirits of
Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910), the royal Yi family and the
aristocracy used tea for simple rites. The "Day
Tea Rite" was a common
daytime ceremony, whereas the "
Tea Rite" was reserved for
specific occasions. Toward the end of the Joseon Dynasty, commoners
joined the trend and used tea for ancestral rites, following the
Chinese example based on Zhu Xi's text formalities of Family.
Stoneware was common, ceramic more frequent, mostly made in provincial
kilns, with porcelain rare, imperial porcelain with dragons the
rarest. The earliest kinds of tea used in tea ceremonies were heavily
pressed cakes of black tea, the equivalent of aged pu-erh tea still
popular in China. However, importation of tea plants by
brought a more delicate series of teas into Korea, and the tea
ceremony. Green tea, "Jakseol(작설, 雀舌)" or "Jungno(죽로,
竹露)", is most often served. However, other teas such as
"Byeoksoryeong(벽소령, 碧宵嶺)" Cheonhachun(천하춘,
天下春), Ujeon(우전, 雨前), Okcheon(옥천, 玉泉), as well as
native chrysanthemum tea, persimmon leaf tea, or mugwort tea may be
served at different times of the year.
Vietnamese green teas have been largely unknown outside of mainland
Asia until the present day. Recent free-enterprise initiatives are
introducing these green teas to outside countries through new export
activities. Some specialty Vietnamese teas include Lotus tea and
Jasmine tea. Vietnam also produces black and oolong teas in lesser
Vietnamese teas are produced in many areas that have been known for
tea-house "retreats." For example, some are located amidst immense tea
forests of the Lamdong highlands, where there is a community of
ancient Ruong houses built at the end of the 18th century.
A conical urn-shaped silver-plated samovar used for boiling water for
tea in Russia and some Middle eastern countries
The earliest record of tea in a more occidental writing is said to be
found in the statement of an Arabian traveler, that after the year 879
the main sources of revenue in Canton were the duties on salt and tea.
Marco Polo records the deposition of a Chinese minister of finance in
1285 for his arbitrary augmentation of the tea taxes. The travelers
Ramusio (1559), L. Almeida (1576), Maffei (1588), and
Teixeira (1610) also mentioned tea. In 1557, Portugal established a
trading port in
Macau and word of the Chinese drink "chá" spread
quickly, but there is no mention of them bringing any samples home. In
the early 17th century, a ship of the
Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company brought
the first green tea leaves to
Amsterdam from China.
Tea was known in
France by 1636. It enjoyed a brief period of popularity in Paris
around 1648. The history of tea in Russia can also be traced back to
the seventeenth century.
Tea was first offered by China as a gift to
Czar Michael I in 1618. The Russian ambassador tried the drink; he did
not care for it and rejected the offer, delaying tea's Russian
introduction by fifty years. In 1689, tea was regularly imported from
China to Russia via a caravan of hundreds of camels traveling the
year-long journey, making it a precious commodity at the time.
appearing in German apothecaries by 1657 but never gained much esteem
except in coastal areas such as Ostfriesland.
Tea first appeared
publicly in England during the 1650s, where it was introduced through
coffeehouses. From there it was introduced to British colonies in
America and elsewhere.
Portugal and Italy
Tea was first introduced to Europe by Italian traveler Giovanni
Battista Ramusio, who in 1555 published Voyages and Travels,
containing the first European reference to tea, which he calls "Chai
Catai"; his accounts were based on second-hand reports.
Portuguese priests and merchants in the 16th century made their first
contact with tea in China, at which time it was termed chá. The
first Portuguese ships reached China in 1516, and in 1560 Portuguese
missionary Gaspar da Cruz published the first Portuguese account of
Chinese tea; in 1565 Italian missionary Louis Almeida published the
first European account of tea in Japan.
A view of tea Plantations in Munnar, Kerala, India
Tea Garden in Assam, India
History of tea
History of tea in India
Assam tea, Darjeeling tea, Masala chai, Nilgiri tea, Doodh
Pati Chai, and Munnar
Commercial production of tea was first introduced into India by the
British, in an attempt to break the Chinese monopoly on tea. The
British, "using Chinese seeds, plus Chinese planting and cultivating
techniques, launched a tea industry by offering land in
Assam to any
European who agreed to cultivate tea for export."
originally only consumed by Anglicized Indians, it was not until the
1950s that tea grew widely popular in India through a successful
advertising campaign by the India
Prior to the British, the plant may have been used for medicinal
purposes. Some cite the
Sanjeevani tea plant first recorded reference
of tea use in India. However, scientific studies have shown that the
Sanjeevani plant is in fact a different plant and is not related to
tea. The Singpho tribe and the Khamti tribe also validate that
they have been consuming tea since the 12th century. However,
commercial production of tea in India did not begin until the arrival
of the British East India Company, at which point large tracts of land
were converted for mass tea production.
The Chinese variety is used for Sikkim, Darjeeling tea, and the
Assamese variety, clonal to the native to Assam, everywhere else. The
British started commercial tea plantations in India and in Ceylon: "In
1824 tea plants were discovered in the hills along the frontier
Burma and Assam. The British introduced tea culture into India
in 1836 and into Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1867. At first they used seeds
from China, but later seeds from the clonal
Assam plant were
used." Only black tea was produced until recent decades.
called chaai in India.
India was the top producer of tea for nearly a century, but was
displaced by China as the top tea producer in the 21st century.
Indian tea companies have acquired a number of iconic foreign tea
enterprises including British brands Lipton, Tetley,
Typhoo. While India is the largest consumer of tea worldwide, the
per-capita consumption of tea in India remains a modest 750 grams
per person every year. Recently consumption of green tea has seen
a great upsurge across the cities. Average growth in the consumption
is assumed to be over 50%. One estimate suggest the market size has
already crossed over INR 1400crore and will reach a 6000 crore in next
Top station, 41 km (1 Hour) from Munnar, is aptly named, as it is
home to some of the highest tea plantations in India. It lies on the
Kerala and commands a panoramic view of rolling green hills.
A panoramic view of tea plantations in Munnar, Kerala, India.
Tea harvest in Lahijan, Iran
Gilan in North of
Iran is main production center of Iranian Tea.
Lahijan is the first town in
Iran to have tea
plantations. With its mild weather, soil quality and fresh spring
Lahijan stands to have the largest area of tea cultivation in
Lahijan Spring Tea" is the best quality tea produced in the
Tea is cultivated at other cities of Gilan, for example Fuman
Tea plantation in Taiwan
Taiwan is famous for the making of
Oolong tea and green tea, as well
as many western-styled teas. Bubble
Tea or "Zhen Zhu Nai Cha"
(Mandarin: 珍珠奶茶) is black tea mixed with sweetened condensed
milk and tapioca. Since the island was known to Westerners for many
centuries as Formosa—short for the Portuguese Ilha Formosa, or
"beautiful island"—tea grown in Taiwan is often identified by that
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Thai tea or "cha-yen" (Thai: ชาเย็น) in Thailand, is a
drink made from strongly brewed black tea ("red tea" in East Asia).
Other ingredients may include added orange blossom water, star anise,
crushed tamarind seed or red and yellow food coloring, and sometimes
other spices as well. This tea is sweetened with sugar and condensed
Usually, Thai people drink Thai hot tea in the morning, frequently
with Yau ja gwai (fried dough) or Pa-tong-ko (Thai:
ปาท่องโก๋). The varieties of
Thai tea include:
Thai hot tea (Thai: ชาร้อน, cha-ron) is
Thai tea served
Dark Thai hot tea (Thai: ชาดำร้อน, cha-dam-ron) is
Thai tea served hot with no milk content, sweetened with sugar only.
Dark Thai iced tea (Thai: ชาดำเย็น, cha-dam-yen) is
Thai tea served cold with ice and without milk.
See also: Turkish tea
Turkey is traditionally one of the largest tea markets in the world.
Turkish black tea is the most popular drink in Turkey, even more
popular than Turkish coffee.
See also: British tea culture
Tea plantation in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia
The first record of tea in English came from a letter written by
Richard Wickham, who ran an
East India Company
East India Company office in Japan,
writing to a merchant in
Macao requesting "the best sort of chaw" in
1615. Peter Mundy, a traveller and merchant who came across tea in
Fujian in 1637, wrote, "chaa—only water with a kind of herb boiled
in it". In 1657, Thomas Garway, a "tobacconist and coffee-man" was
the first to sell tea in London at his house in Exchange Alley,
charging between 16 and 50 shillings per pound. The same year, tea
was listed as an item in the price list in a London coffee house, and
the first advertisement for tea appeared in 1658. On
25 September 1660
Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary: "I did send
for a cup of tee (a China drink) of which I never had drank
before." It is probable that early imports were smuggled via
Amsterdam or through sailors arriving on eastern boats. The
marriage of King Charles II in 1662 to the Portuguese princess
Catherine of Braganza
Catherine of Braganza also brought the tea drinking habit to court.
Official trade of tea began in 1664 with an import of only two pound
two ounces for presentation to the king, but grew to 24 million
pounds a year by 1801.
Regular trade began in Canton (now Guangzhou), where it was
controlled by two monopolies: the Chinese
Cohong (trading companies)
and the British East India Company. The
Cohong acquired tea from
'tea men' who had an elaborate supply chain into the mountains and
provinces where tea grew.
East India Company
East India Company brought back many products, of which tea was
just one, but proved one of the most successful. It was initially
promoted as a medicinal beverage or tonic but by the end of the
seventeenth century was taken as an all-purpose drink, albeit mainly
by the elite, as it was still expensive.
Tea was not traded in
significant amounts until the 18th century. By 1700 tea was being sold
by grocers and tea shops in London, the latter frequented by women as
well as men. By the 1720s black tea overtook green tea in
popularity as the price dropped, and early on British drinkers began
adding sugar and milk to tea, a practice that was not done in
China. By the 1720s European maritime trade with China was
dominated by exchange of silver for tea. As prices continued to
drop, tea became increasingly popular, and by 1750 had become the
British national drink.
A fungus reduced coffee production in Ceylon by 95% in the 19th
century, cementing tea's popularity.
The escalation of tea importation and sales over the period 1690 to
1750 is mirrored closely by the increase in importation and sales of
cane sugar: the British were not drinking just tea but sweet tea.
Thus, two of Britain's trading triangles converged: the sugar sourced
from Britain's trading triangle encompassing Britain, Africa and the
West Indies and the tea from the triangle encompassing Britain, India
In China, the
Qianlong Emperor wrote to King George III
in response to the MaCartney Mission's request for trade in 1793: "Our
Celestial Empire possesses all things in prolific abundance and lacks
no product within its borders. There is therefore no need to import
the manufactures of outside barbarians in exchange for our own
Tea also had to be paid in silver bullion, and critics
of the tea trade at this time would point to the damage caused to
Britain's wealth by this loss of bullion. As a way to generate the
silver needed as payment for tea, Britain began exporting opium from
the traditional growing regions of
British India (in present-day
Pakistan and Afghanistan) into China. Although opium use in China had
a long history, the British importation of opium, which began in the
late 18th century, increased fivefold between 1821 and 1837, and usage
of the drug became more widespread across Chinese society. The Qing
government attitude towards opium, which was often ambivalent,
hardened due to the social problems created by drug use, and took
serious measures to curtail importation of opium in 1838–39.
now had become an important source of tax revenue for the British
Empire and the banning of the opium trade and thus the creation of
funding issues for tea importers was one of the main causes of the
While waging war on China was one of Britain's tactics, it also began
to explore, then executed, a plan to use India for growing tea. After
tea plants were smuggled out of China, plantations were established in
areas such as Darjeeling, Assam, and Ceylon. As an attempt to
circumvent its dependence on Chinese tea, the
East India Company
East India Company sent
Robert Fortune to China to purchase and bring out of
China tea plants, which were then taken to India, although it was the
discovery of native varieties of tea plant in India which proved more
important for the development of production there.
Tea remained a very important item in Britain's global trade,
contributing in part to Britain's global dominance by the end of the
eighteenth century. To this day tea is seen worldwide as a symbol of
'Britishness', but also, to some, as a symbol of old British
London 2012 section of the paralympic handover in Beijing included
tea as part of the routine. A cup or mug of tea in Britain is
usually made in a different way than is common in China and other
Eastern countries. Over 90% of tea consumed is black tea, often but
not always with a small amount of milk and / or sugar added. The tea
used is often contained in a tea bag. As of 2009, the UK can boast one
commercial tea plantation with another planned. The existing one lies
Cornwall and is owned by the Tregothnan Estate. By 2015,
another will lie in Pembrokeshire, Wales, owned by the Pembrokeshire
American tea culture
American tea culture and
Tea production in the United States
While coffee is by far more popular, hot brewed black tea is enjoyed
both with meals and as a refreshment by much of the population.
Similarly, iced tea is consumed throughout. In the Southern states
sweet tea, sweetened with large amounts of sugar or an artificial
sweetener and chilled, is the fashion. Outside the South, sweet tea is
sometimes found, but primarily because of cultural migration and
The drinking of tea in the United States was largely influenced by the
passage of the
Tea Act and its subsequent protest during the American
Tea consumption sharply decreased in America during and
after the Revolution, when many Americans switched from drinking tea
to drinking coffee, considering tea drinking to be unpatriotic.
The American specialty tea market quadrupled in the years from 1993 to
2008, now being worth $6.8 billion a year. Similar to the trend of
better coffee and better wines, this tremendous increase was partly
due to consumers who choose to trade up. Specialty
tea houses and retailers also started to pop up during this
Canadians were big tea drinkers from the days of British colonisation
until the Second World War, when they began drinking more coffee like
their American neighbors to the south. During the 1990s, Canadians
begun to purchase more specialty teas instead of coffee.
A commercial tea farm has opened on
Vancouver Island in British
Columbia in 2010 and expects production to start in 2015.
Tea in Australia
Aboriginal Australians drank an infusion from the plant species
leptospermum (a different plant from the tea plant or camellia
sinensis). Upon discovering Australia,
Captain Cook noticed the
aboriginal peoples drinking it and called it tea. Today the plant is
referred to as the "ti tree".
Through colonisation by the British, tea was introduced to Australia.
In fact, tea was aboard the
First Fleet in 1788.
Tea is a large part
of modern Australian culture due to its British origins. Australians
drink tea and have afternoon tea and morning tea much the way the
British do. Additionally, due to Australia's climate, tea is able to
be grown and produced in northern Australia. In 2000, Australia
consumed 14,000 tonnes of tea annually.
Tea production in
Australia remains very small and is primarily in northern New South
Wales and Queensland. Most tea produced in Australia is black tea,
although there are small quantities of green tea produced in the
Alpine Valleys region of Victoria.
In 1884, the Cutten brothers established the first commercial tea
plantation in Australia in
Bingil Bay in northern Queensland. In
1883, Alfred Bushell opened the first tea shop in Australia in
present-day Queensland. In 1899,
Bushell's sons moved the enterprise
Sydney and began selling tea commercially, founding Australia's
first commercial tea seller
Tea Garden in Sri Lanka
Tea production in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is renowned for its high quality tea and as the fourth
biggest tea producing country globally, after China, India and Kenya,
and has a production share of 9% in the international sphere. The
total extent of land under tea cultivation has been assessed at
approximately 187,309 hectares.
The plantations started by the British were initially taken over by
the government in the 1960s, but have been privatized and are now run
by 'plantation companies' which own a few 'estates' or tea plantations
Ceylon tea is divided into 3 groups as Upcountry, Mid country and Low
country tea based on the geography of the land on which it is
Africa and South America
Africa and South America have seen greatly increased tea production in
recent decades, the great majority for export to Europe and North
America respectively, produced on large estates, often owned by tea
companies from the export markets. Almost all production is of basic
mass-market teas, processed by the
Crush, Tear, Curl
Crush, Tear, Curl method.
now the third largest global producer (figures below), after China and
India, and is now the largest exporter of tea to the United Kingdom.
There is also a great consumption of tea in Chile. In South
Africa, the non-
Camellia sinensis beverage rooibos is popular. In
South America yerba mate is a popular infused beverage. The only
European plantation is Chá Gorreana, located in Ribeira Grande, São
In South America, the tea production in Brazil has strong roots due to
the country's origins in Portugal, the strong presence of Japanese
immigrants and also because of the influences of their neighbor's
yerba mate culture. Brazil had a big tea production until the 80s, but
it has weakened in the past decades. Right now, there's only a few
families trying to reorganize the tea production in the Registro, São
Paulo, facing strong competition against the coffee companies.
^ a b c Mary Lou Heiss; Robert J. Heiss (23 March 2011). The Story of
Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide. Random House. p. 31.
ISBN 978-1-60774-172-5. By the time of the Shang dynasty
(1766–1050 BC), tea was being consumed in
Yunnan Province for its
^ a b Martin, p. 29: "beginning in the third century CE, references to
tea seem more credible, in particular those dating to the time of Hua
T'o, a highly respected physician and surgeon"
^ a b Bennett Alan Weinberg; Bonnie K. Bealer (2001). The World of
Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World's Most Popular Drug.
Psychology Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-415-92722-2. The
Portuguese traders and the Portuguese Jesuit priests, who like Jesuits
of every nation busied themselves with the affairs of caffeine, wrote
frequently and favorably to compatriots in Europe about tea.
^ a b c Colleen Taylor Sen (2004). Food Culture in India. Greenwood
Publishing Group. p. 26. ISBN 978-0-313-32487-1.
^ Mary Lou Heiss; Robert J. Heiss. The Story of Tea: A Cultural
History and Drinking Guide. citing Mondal (2007) p. 519
^ Yamamoto, Kim & Juneja 1997:4 "For a long time, botanists have
asserted the dualism of tea origin from their observations that there
exist distinct differences in the morphological characteristics
between Assamese varieties and Chinese varieties. Hashimoto and
Shimura reported that the differences in the morphological
characteristics in tea plants are not necessarily the evidence of the
dualism hypothesis from the researches using the statistical cluster
analysis method. In recent investigations, it has also been made clear
that both varieties have the same chromosome number (2n=30) and can be
easily hybridized with each other. In addition, various types of
intermediate hybrids or spontaneous polyploids of tea plants have been
found in a wide area extending over the regions mentioned above. These
facts may prove that the place of origin of
Camellia sinensis is in
the area including the northern part of the Burma, Yunnan, and Sichuan
districts of China."
^ Fuller, Thomas (2008-04-21). "A
Tea From the Jungle Enriches a
Placid Village". The New York Times. New York. p. A8.
^ The Oldest
Tea Tree on the Earth, (Kunming, 2006).
Guangdong News, Pearl River Delta, Canton Fair - Newsgd.com,
NewsGD". Archived from the original on 31 March 2016. Retrieved 8
^ Saberi, Helen. Tea, a global history. London. Reaktion books ltd.
^ Chow p. 19-20 (Czech edition); also Arcimovicova p. 9, Evans p. 2
^ Lu Ju p. 29-30 (Czech edition)
^ Chow p. 20-21
^ Evans p. 3
^ Mair & Hoh 2009, pp. 264-267.
^ a b Houyuan Lu et al. (7 January 2016). "Earliest tea as evidence
for one branch of the Silk Road across the Tibetan Plateau". Nature.
doi:10.1038/srep18955. Retrieved 11 January 2016. CS1 maint: Uses
authors parameter (link)
^ "Archaeologists discover world's oldest tea buried with ancient
Chinese emperor". The Independent. 10 January 2015. Retrieved 11
^ a b "Tea". Encarta. Archived from the original on 2008-03-08.
^ a b "Tea". The
Columbia Encyclopedia Sixth Edition. 2001–07.
^ a b James A. Benn.
Tea in China: A Religious and Cultural History.
Hong Kong University Press. p. 42. ISBN 9789888208739.
^ Mair & Hoh 2009, pp. 264-265.
^ a b Mair & Hoh 2009, pp. 29-30.
^ Mair & Hoh 2009, pp. 30-31.
^ The History of
Tea Bags and Makers. Inventors.about.com (9
April 2012). Retrieved on 13 May 2013.
^ a b Bennett Alan Weinberg, Bonnie K. Bealer (2001). The World of
Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World's Most Popular Drug.
Routledge. p. 28. ISBN 978-0415927222. CS1 maint: Uses
authors parameter (link)
^ Pettigrew, Jane (2009). "The discovery of Tea". afternoon tea.
PITKIN. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-84165-143-9. Known as the 'Elixir
^ Mair & Hoh 2009, pp. 39-41.
^ James A. Benn.
Tea in China: A Religious and Cultural History. Hong
Kong University Press. p. 42. ISBN 9789888208739.
^ Mair & Hoh 2009, pp. 118.
^ George Staunton (1797). An Historical Account of the Embassy to the
Emperor of China, Undertaken By Order of the King of Great Britain;
Including the Manners and Customs of the Inhabitants; and Preceded By
an Account of the Causes of the embassy and Voyage to China. J.
Stockdale. p. 452. The Chinese perceiving these dispositions in
the monkey took advantage of the propensities of the animal and
converted them to life in a domestic state which in that of nature
were exerted to their annoyance.
Robert Fortune (1852). A Journey to the
Tea Countries of China;
including Sung-Lo and the Bohea Hills. J. Murray. p. 237. I
should not like to assert that no tea is gathered on these hills by
the agency of chains and monkeys but I think it may be safely affirmed
that the quantity in such is small.
^ Constance Frederica Gordon Cumming. Wanderings in China. W.
Blackwood and Sons. p. 318.
^ Laura C. Martin (2007). Tea: The Drink that Changed the World.
Tuttle Publishing. p. 133. ISBN 0-8048-3724-4.
^ Kiple & Ornelas 2000:4
^ Book of
Tea By Kakuzō Okakura (pp. 5–6). Published 1964. Courier
Dover Publications. Sociology. 94 pages. ISBN 0-486-20070-1
^ Ukers, William Harrison (1 January 1935). "All about Tea".
coffee trade journal Company. Retrieved 8 January 2017 – via Google
^ Sen, Colleen Taylor. p. 26. "Ironically, it was the British who
introduced tea drinking to India, initially to anglicized Indians..
tea did not become a mass drink in India until the 1950s when the
Tea Board, faced with a surplus of low-grade tea, launched an
advertising campaign to popularize tea in the North, where the drink
of choice was milk."
^ "In search of Sanjeevani" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-11-17.
^ tea. (2008). Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica 2008
Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica.
^ a b c Sanyal (2008)
^ a b Paul Chrystal (October 17, 2014). Tea: A Very British Beverage.
Amberley Publishing Limited.
^ Bradley, Rose M. (1912). The English housewife in the Seventeenth
& Eighteenth Centuries. E. Arnold. p. 176.
^ "The Diary of Samuel Pepys". Retrieved 2009-05-11.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Tea". In Our Time. 29 April 2004. BBC
^ The Cottager's monthly visitor. XX. 1842. p. 128.
^ a b Peterson, Willard J. (7 April 2016). "The Cambridge History of
China: Volume 9, The Ch'ing Dynasty to 1800". Cambridge University
Press. Retrieved 8 January 2017 – via Google Books.
^ Yong, Ed. "Ant farm". Aeon Magazine. Retrieved 30 July 2013.
^ "Qianlong Letter to
George III (1792)". University of California,
^ Movable Feasts, Sarah Murray, 2007, pp. 161
^ Movable Feasts, Sarah Murray, 2007, pp. 164
^ "www.london2012.com" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8
June 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2009.
^ Levin, Angela (20 May 2013). "Welcome to Tregothnan, England's only
tea estate". The Telegraph. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
^ Turner, Robin (3 October 2009). "Duo plant tea in Wales". Wales
Online. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
^ (1) Adams, John (1774-07-06). "
John Adams to Abigail Adams". The
Adams Papers: Digital Editions: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 1.
Massachusetts Historical Society. Archived from the original on
2014-02-26. Retrieved 2014-02-25. I believe I forgot to tell you one
Anecdote: When I first came to this House it was late in the
Afternoon, and I had ridden 35 miles at least. “Madam” said I to
Mrs. Huston, “is it lawfull for a weary Traveller to refresh himself
with a Dish of
Tea provided it has been honestly smuggled, or paid no
“No sir, said she, we have renounced all
Tea in this Place. I cant
make Tea, but I'le make you Coffee.” Accordingly I have drank Coffee
every Afternoon since, and have borne it very well.
Tea must be
universally renounced. I must be weaned, and the sooner, the
(2) Stone, William L. (1867). "Continuation of Mrs. General Riedesel's
Adventures". Mrs. General Riedesel: Letters and Journals relating to
the War of Independence and the Capture of the Troops at Saratoga
(Translated from the Original German). Albany: Joel Munsell.
p. 147. She then became more gentle, and offered me bread and
milk. I made tea for ourselves. The woman eyed us longingly, for the
Americans love it very much; but they had resolved to drink it no
longer, as the famous duty on the tea had occasioned the war. At
Google Books. Note: Fredricka Charlotte Riedesel was the wife of
General Friedrich Adolf Riedesel, commander of all German and Indian
troops in General John Burgoyne's
Saratoga campaign and American
prisoner of war during the American Revolution.
(3) Heiss, Mary Lou; Heiss, Robert .J (2007). "A History of Tea: The
Tea Party". The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking
Guide. pp. 21–24. At Google Books.
(4) Zuraw, Lydia (2013-04-24). "How
Coffee Influenced The Course Of
History". NPR. Archived from the original on 2014-02-26. Retrieved
(5) DeRupo, Joseph (2013-07-03). "American Revolution: Stars,
Stripes—and Beans". National
Coffee Association. Archived from the
original on 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
(6) Luttinger, Nina; Dicum, Gregory (2006). The coffee book: anatomy
of an industry from crop to the last drop. The New Press.
p. 33. At Google Books.
Tea finally making a stir in America' Times Online. Retrieved 17
^ Campbell, Polly (April 26, 2006). "Suited to a tea." Cincinnati
^ "Rising tea sales drive profits for beverage chains; Canadian tea
drinking outside the home on the increase with spread of DavidsTea,
Teavana". CBC News. November 12, 2013.
Tea farm on Vancouver Island, a Canadian first". Vancouver Sun. 5
May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
^ "Tea". Retrieved 8 January 2017.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-09-12. Retrieved
^ "Nerada Tea". Retrieved 8 January 2017.
^ tea, Bushells. "About Bushells - Bushells tea". Retrieved 8 January
^ a b "
Tea Board". Pureceylontea.com. Archived from the
original on 2010-06-27. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
^ "Where the world's biggest tea drinkers are". QUARTZ. 2014-01-20.
Mair, Victor H.; Hoh, Erling (2009). The True History of Tea. Thames
& Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-25146-1.
Mondal, T.K. (2007). Pua, E.C.; Davey, M.R., eds. "Tea". Biotechnology
Agriculture and Forestry. Berlin: Springer. Transgenic Crops V.
Yamamoto, T; Kim, M; Juneja, L R (1997). Chemistry and Applications of
Green Tea. CRC Press. ISBN 0-8493-4006-3.
Lapsang souchong (Jin Jun Mei)
Ban Tian Yao
Bu Zhi Chun
Da Hong Pao
Shui Jin Gui
Anji bai cha
Lu'an Melon Seed
Earl Grey (Lady Grey)
Breakfast tea (English, Irish)
Moroccan mint tea
Prince of Wales
Afternoon/High tea/Evening meal
Chashitsu (tea room)
Mizuya (prep room)
Teahouse circuit or trek (Himalayas)
Tea processing (
Tea leaf grading)
Tea plant diseases and
Tea plant predation
Ground or pressed (
Tea and health
Flavan-3-ol (Catechin), Epigallocatechin gallate
Consumption by country
Doodh pati chai
Hong Kong-style milk tea
7 layered Tea
Tea set (Brewing: Strainer or Infuser, Utensils:
Teacup or Teapot)
Bak kut teh
List of Chinese teas
Lipton Institute of Tea
Teas of related species
Tea seed oil