Ancient Tea Culture

Many have stated that the legend of tea dates back to Chinese Emperor, Shen Nung. He sat relaxing one calm afternoon under a Camellia Sinensis tree, a well-known tree amongst tea lovers, while his servant boiled water. The emperor busy enjoying his leisure time, did not notice the leaves that dropped from the tree into his boiling water. The servant decided to serve the water as it was and the first cup of tea had been served. In a sense on unawareness, the servant had no idea that what he had served would become a world-wide sensation.

Yet a nation away, they swore that tea had originated from their land and was taken to China by Buddhist saint Bodhi Dharma when he left to preach Buddhism to China. The nation in reference is none other than the land of art and history, India.

These stories are for the most part considered to be fables, but the evidence of tea existing in these ancient cultures is plentiful. Many writings discovered in these nations mention tea being used as a medicinal drink or as a preserved food. Tea has also been mentioned in Vatsayana’s famous work “Kamasutra”. During the Tang Dynasty, a writer by the name of Lu Yu wrote a scholarly piece on tea.  Though if a comparison was to be made, tea had been more prominent in the Chinese kingdom.

Japan had absorbed the tea culture, possibly from Buddhist monks who had brought it to their lands, and turned it into a “posh” item. It started off as just a beverage but eventually every upper class residence had a separate tearoom and teahouses were being started all around Japan.