When Was Tea Invented?
Tea has been a staple of many cultures and lifestyles throughout the world, from people gathering around a communal cup of tea in the Middle East to enjoying a cup of afternoon tea in Britain. But when was it first discovered?
A Short History Of Tea
The earliest records of drinking tea dates back to around 2737 BC in ancient China during the reign of one of its most legendary figures, Emperor Shen Nong. According to legend, it was the Emperor who first discovered the health benefits of drinking tea, when a dried leaf from a nearby tea tree accidentally fell into his cup of boiling water. After tasting it, he found the beverage to have a pleasant flavor and deemed it served to his court.
Over the centuries, tea soon became popular among the Chinese and its use spread to other parts of Asia and eventually to the Western world. The British adopted the drink in the mid-1600s and it was also of particular importance to the early colonists of the United States. Today, tea is enjoyed in many cultures and forms, from traditional Chinese green tea to the more common black tea and chai.
Types Of Tea
In its most basic form, there are four main types of tea: white, green, oolong, and black. Each type of tea is created from the same tea plant, Camellia sinensis, but the differences in color, flavor, and aroma are due to the different methods of processing the tea leaves. Here is a quick overview of each type of tea:
- White Tea: This is the least processed form of tea, made from young tea leaves that are steamed and dried. It has a delicate, light flavor.
- Green Tea: Green tea leaves are withered and then heated to prevent oxidation. It has a mellow, grassy flavor.
- Oolong Tea: Oolong teas are slightly fermented and then rolled and heated. It offers a balance between green and black teas, with a floral aroma.
- Black Tea: Black tea leaves are fully fermented, resulting in a bold, robust flavor.
In conclusion, the earliest recorded consumption of tea dates back to around 2737 BC in ancient China. Over the centuries, tea drinking spread across the world and today there are four main types of tea, each with their own unique flavor profiles. Whether you prefer white, green, oolong, or black, there is sure to be a tea that appeals to your taste.