The Origins Of Tea

That upstart coffee has given it a run for its money, but tea still reigns supreme as the world’s most popular drink. Tea goes by several different names depending on where you are and who you are talking to. In both the Chinese and Japanese languages it’s called cha, in Urdi and Hindi it’s referred to as chai. The English name, tea, is based on the pronunciation of cha in the south-east Chinese province of Fujian. Camellia Sinensis, the plant tea is made from, is a native of south-east China from where it spread to the east and to the west, and eventually around the world. The drink itself is made from the young leaves, leaf tips, and buds of the tea plant brewed with hot water. Buddhist monks are said to be the pioneers of the drink, around the 2nd century BCE they began drinking it to prevent themselves from falling asleep during their meditations.

Tea spread beyond the monasteries to all of society, eventually becoming an important commodity, with plantations producing the leaf in large quantities. Tea merchants grew rich and the government did, too, placing high taxes on tea that drove its price up, making it a beverage only accessible to the wealthy for a time. As tea spread around Asia, its popularity grew, and its price became more reasonable as its production spread to other countries. Today tea is readily accessible anywhere, we can purchase excellent teas online from vendors like who specialize in providing high-quality teas to thirsty consumers in Australia and beyond.Despite the profound love the English have developed for tea over the centuries, there is probably no place where it is more popular than in Japan. Tea entered Japan around the 6th century CE, where it was first enjoyed by Buddhist monks from China who brought it along with them. By 1200 CE tea had developed an enthusiastic following all across the island nation, and the first tea schools began to teach what would evolve into an important, uniquely Japanese art. The tea leaves were pounded to make a ball combined with amazura, a sweetener made from grapes, and ginger which was then brewed in hot water in fine ceramic teapots. Thus began the Japanese Tea Ceremony, chanoyu, which means ‘hot water for tea’, or chado, the ‘way of the tea’, a truly delicious and artistic Japanese tradition.

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