Shen Nong’s Little Tea Leaf

According to an ancient Chinese legend, Emperor Shen Nong discovered tea when wild tea tree leaves fell into his pot of boiling water. Intrigued by the aromatic scent, he drank the leaf infused water and found, to his delight, that he greatly enjoyed the flavor. From there, tea slowly established itself in the Chinese household and later found its way to Europe and other parts of Asia through the trade routes.

While its exact origins are unknown, historians and researchers agree that the tea plant originated in East Asia. Traders introduced Chinese tea to Britain where it overtook coffee in popularity and status in both the English coffeehouses and high courts. Following her marriage to King Charles II, Catherine of Braganza introduced afternoon tea consumption to the English masses, a tradition that still exists today.

Today, tea consumption is second only to water. While China as a country consumes the most tea, tea consumption per person is actually higher in Turkey, where the average person consumes about 7 pounds of tea a year; the average person in China only consumes about 1.2 pounds a year. Commercially, tea is the most popular manufactured drink in the world and its production levels are equivalent to those of coffee, alcohol and soft drinks combined. 

Tea is heralded around the world and avid consumers have developed tea traditions immersed within their cultures. India’s national drink is Masala Chai, an aromatic and spice infused tea concoction often referred to simply as “chai.”  Japanese tea houses host tea ceremonies known as matcha and serve tea to small groups of people. In Morocco, their unique mint tea (touareg tea) is linked with hospitality and hosts serve their guests three times, with each glass symbolizing a different thing. 

With over 20,000 kinds of classified teas, there is most certainly a tea for everyone. If you seek coffee for its caffeine, there are teas with high caffeine content for you to indulge in. If you are drawn to flavors, the vast variety of mixed teas or flavored tea(100% natural) ranging from citrus to peach to berry are sure to innervate your tastes. Whether you seek a rich and aromatic scent or a sweet and lighthearted taste, there is surely a type of tea to satisfy your cravings.

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