Tea is a product of leaves from the camellia sinensis plant where it is cured in a variety of different methods. What most people are familiar with is loose leaf tea or organic black tea which is made with boiling water to make a delicious hot beverage. Tea is the second most consumed beverage behind blooming tea water in the world and many people enjoy drinking it warm or iced and cold. There are many types of tea and the most common ones are white, black, green, oolong and blooming teas. Even though the different varieties all come from the same plant, the methods and the parts of the plant in curing them are different giving them all a different taste and aroma. The other popular kind of tea is an herbal one which has no caffeine and is made from leaves, flowers, fruits and herbs and does not have any parts of the camellia sinensis plant in it.
The Yunnan Province of China is known as the birthplace of tea where people living in this area discovered that eating the leaves from the tea plant and also brewing it with water could taste good and be quite pleasant. China is also proud to claim that they have the world’s oldest tea tree which is said to be 3,200 years old. Green tea is one of the favorite blends that come from china and has been said to have wellness benefits as well as helps to curb an appetite.
There are many interesting myths surrounding the start of drinking or consuming tea leaves. One is based on Shennong or (Divine Farmer) who was the Emperor of China as well as the inventor of agriculture and Chinese medicine. One myth states that he was drinking a bowl of water in 2737 B.C. when some leaves from a nearby plant blew into his bowl changing the color. He tried it and discovered it had a pleasant taste. Another myth was that he often was testing different herbs and plants for their medicinal effects and sometimes the herbs he tried were poisonous. He would then drink boiled water with tea leaves to counteract the poison he had ingested.
In other countries and cultures tea was consumed for different reasons. In India, for example, it was mainly used as a type of medicine. It was first noted to be used as a medicine in 500 B.C. In fact so much tea was consumed in India that it was the leading country of tea consumption for 100 years until it was passed by China in the 21st century.
In Japan, tea was originally consumed as religious classes in the country when different priests were sent to China to learn various things about their culture. Britain also became consumers of tea early on and it is highly consumed today still. It was originally a drink only considered for the aristocratic classes but now is widely consumed in the afternoons with milk and sugar for many residents living in Great Britain.