Tea has a long history and is a cultural staple in many countries across the world. It can relax your senses, clear your digestive tract and provide a wonderful smelling aroma. Tea ceremonies and traditions have been practiced worldwide for many years and learning about the history can help you to understand its origins and provide great insight into the history of the world around us. Tea is one of the most popular and healthy beverages in the world. Due to it’s popularity and the benefits it provides tea houses have become a hot new craze. Tea is served in every corner of the world and this article will help you better understand a tradition “steeped” in history.
China and Japan-the origins:
China has been popularly credited with the matcha bubble tea discovery of tea in 2737 BC. During the Western Zhou Dynasty the beverage was used as a religious offering. During the Han Dynasty, between 202 BC-220 AD, tea plants were quite limited and scarce, and therefore only royalty and high-class citizens were able to enjoy the taste to maintain good health. During the Tang Dynasty, from 618-907 AD, more extracts were discovered and, as a result, tea drinking became more common among all social classes.
Around the time of the Tang Dynasty, the beverage was brought over to Japan, where it was consumed for its medicinal properties. Zen Buddhism developed a major correlation with tea and soon after Buddhists developed the Japanese Tea Ceremony, a sacred and now ancient tradition.
The English tradition:
Tea first arrived in England during the 17th century when the Portuguese bride of King Charles II, Catherine of Braganza, introduced the trend of consuming the warm beverage to England’s elites. It came to be known as the unofficial drink of England when Anna, Duchess of Bedford, introduced the custom of afternoon tea. The purpose of afternoon tea was to satiate the hunger between lunch and dinner. It quickly became a popular happening and social gathering.
Two popular English varieties are English Breakfast and Earl Grey. These well-loved teas are generally served with sugar and milk and can be enjoyed at any point in the day–not just during the afternoon.