History of Tea           << The modern term "tea" derives from early Chinese dialect words - such as Tchai, Cha and Tay  >> 

According to Chinese mythology, in 2737 BC the Chinese Emperor, Shen Nung, scholar and herbalist, was sitting beneath a tree while his servant boiled drinking water. A leaf from the tree dropped into the water and Shen Nung decided to try the brew. The tree was a wild tea tree.From the earliest times tea was renowned for its properties as a healthy, refreshing drink. By the third century AD many stories were being told and some written about tea and the benefits of tea drinking, but it was not until the Tang Dynasty (618 AD - 906 AD) that tea became China's national drink and the word ch'a was used to describe tea. The spread of cultivation throughout China and Japan is largely accredited to the movement of Buddhist priests throughout the region.
The modern term "tea" derives from early Chinese dialect words - such as Tchai, Cha and Tay - used both to describe the beverage and the leaf. Known as Camellia sinensis, tea is an evergreen plant of the Camellia family. The Indian and Japanese legends both attribute it to Bodhidharma, the devout Buddhist priest who founded Zen Buddhism. The Indian legend tells how in the fifth year of a seven-year sleepless contemplation of Buddha he began to feel drowsy. He immediately plucked a few leaves from a nearby bush and chewed them, which dispelled his tiredness. The bush was a wild tea tree.
The wild tea plant can develop into a tree 30 meters high , so that in ancient times monkeys were trained to pick the leaves and throw them down for collection below. Today Camellia Sinensis is kept to a height of approximately one meter for easy plucking purposes. There are more than 1,500 teas to choose from more than 29 different listed countries around the world but the main producers are from India, China, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Bangladesh and Indonesia.

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