With something as ancient as tea, there are bound to be a great number of ancient stories about its origins too.

Chinese Emperor Shen Nung (2737 BC)

shennong31Emperor Shennong (or Shen Nung), the “Devine Farmer”, was important in the development of agriculture and medicine in ancient China. Emperor Shennong, the “Devine Farmer”, was important in the development of agriculture and medicine in ancient China. He taught his people how to grow grains, and personally tested many herbs for their assumed medicinal properties. It was believed his body was transparent; this way he could see what effects various natural herbs/medicines had on his body.

One of the ancient stories tells us that about 4700 years ago, in 2737 BC, burning, floating  wild tea leaves fell into his pot of boiling water. Shen Nung tasted the infusion (water in which plants have been steeped to give it a certain aroma and flavour) and delighted he indicated that it not only quenches thirst, but also lessens the desire to sleep (this will be the caffeine speaking) and cheers the heart.

A drink that is stimulating and relaxing at the same time.

The drink was called Cha.

Shen Nung is seen as the Father of Chinese medicine. He is also believed to have introduced the technique of acupuncture.

Tea In The Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD)

During the Han Dynasty tea was used as medicine.

Early Tea Customs Chin Dynasty (557-589 AD)

At the end of the sith century, people started to enjoy tea just for its taste as well. The first signs of social tea ceremonials started, where people offered bowls of tea as a sign of friendship, hospitality or respect.

This lead to more and more commercial cultivation of tea, up to the point that tea was used as a currency. pressed “tea bricks” were used for payment in trade. It could be used to make tea by breaking chunks off of the tea bricks, turning them into powder and adding this to boiling water.

Tea = Hot In Tang Dynasty (620-907 AD)

A statue of Tang Chinese tea scholar, Lu Yu (733 – 804)Tea became a really “hot” drink during the Tang Dynasty. It became a popular social drink, that could just be enjoyed. Tea was now also being seen as a taxable commodity, and tea masters started to establish true tea ceremonial guidelines.

During this period, somewhere between 760 and 780, the Book Of Tea (Cha Jing) was written by Chinese poet Lu Yu. This encyclopedia of tea explored areas like the mythological origins of tea, tools for picking, brewing and drinking of tea.