- WHAT IS TEA?
"TEA is an ancient beverage, believed to have been discovered in China well over 4,000 years ago. The legend goes that while the Emperor Shen Nung was boiling water outside on an open fire, some leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant blew into his pot. As he sipped the uplifting brew, he just knew there was something special about this evergreen bush.
Cultivation of the tea plant and use of its leaves spread throughout China and Japan mostly by Buddhist monks who used the leaves as a medicine. They also used this cha, as it is called in several languages, as a means for staying awake during long hours of meditation. In an effort to combat intemperance, the monks also offered tea as an alternative to alcoholic beverages.
It wasn’t until early in the 17th century that the Dutch began importing tea from China. Thereafter, tea made its way from Holland to England and then to North America. Today, it is found all over the globe, where it is used in spiritual celebrations, meditations, cultural rituals and social functions. Tea has been used to enhance traditions, reflect customs, and bridge cultures. For some time now, tea has been the number two beverage in the world, second only to water.