Imagine you are an Emperor of a gigantic country thousands of years ago. Back then, it was good to be an Emperor. Trust me. You could do pretty much anything you wanted, tell people whatever was on your mind and everyone would have to worship you. So, in all of your splendidness, you decide to take a stroll in your favorite forest, which you actually own. You get a bit tired and decide to take a nap. Being this splendid is pretty tough. While you are sleeping, a leaf from a nearby bush falls off and lands in a pot of hot water your staff has ready for you (they are smart and they know how cranky you are about having hot water ready at all times).
You wake up and look at the leaf sitting in your precious water. Since you are a mini-God, you decide to drink it. What is the worst that can happen?
Well, it turns out you just discovered the most popular beverage in history.
This is the story behind the discovery of tea
In 2737 B.C., the Chinese Emperor Shen Nong was a legendary botanist. He loved to discover and teach about new herbs to be used as medicine. One day a tea leaf blew into his cup while he was taking a nap and tea was discovered.
Tea was medicine until 200 B.C.
It wasn’t until the Han Dynasty that tea became a beverage for the wealthy. Royalty would sit around and drink the super exclusive beverage that commoners were not even permitted to try. If you think there are tea snobs today, imagine what it was like in a country that was 99% peasants.
The Tang’s made tea available to average people
Around 600 A.D., the Tang Dynasty thought they would share a bit of the wealth and make tea available to commoners. They had the government plant a bush-load of tea plants and even open up tea stores. The explosion in tea drinkers was unreal. It was so popular it began to spread to Japan through Zen Buddhist Priests.
Things were pretty mellow for tea for another 1400 years
And then the British got involved. Once that happened tea exploded on the global scene. But that is another story….