History: green tea

Green tea has a long history leading back to a Chinese legend which is said to have taken place in year 2737BC. The legend goes that the discovery of tea occurred by mere coincidence. The great Chinese Emperor Shen Nong was travelling around when he approached a tree and decided to stay there. Due to his cleanliness he drank his water only after it had been distilled and therefore still warm at times. One day as he was holding a bowl of warm water in his hands, the wind blew off some leaves from a nearby tea, which coincidently fell into his drink. Curious about the color and aroma of his water, Emperor Shen Nong decided to try it only to find that he was very impressed by the taste. This may be the story of the first tea to have been drunk.
It is a beautiful legend but we shall never know if the first tea drink was actually consumed in this exact manner, but we can certainly assume. There is proof that tea has been cultivated in China for over 2,500 years. Documents dating back to 221BC can conclude that there was even a state tax on tea at this time. Historically, tea was used almost exclusively as a remedy against a variety of ailments such as headache, fatigue and poor concentration.

It isn't until the Tang Dynasty (618-907AD) that tea finally arrived to the imperial court as a favourable choice of consumption. On the same note, Buddhist monks began to savour the teas invigorating refreshment from extensive meditation, which was often quite exhausting. It wasn't too long before they began to cultivate tea in cloister gardens themselves. In the year 760AD, the world's first book on tea, "Book of Tea," was written by Lu Yu. In his book, he describes details on the production and growth of tea and suggests locations that are best for growing tea. To no surprise had Lu Yu rightfully earned himself the nickname, "God of the tea." At this point, tea's popularity and demand had widened, and China started exporting tea to other countries such as Japan and Korea.
For several hundred years the consumption of tea had been reserved for only the imperia. Due to its monetary, spiritual and dietary value, tea was considered too precious and much too expensive for the common people to acquire. Eventually, an ascendance of upper-class citizens made the demanded tea more abundant on the market. Thus, the event became more widespread and appreciated.
There were several types of processing methods in the preparation of green tea. For example, it was pressed and formed into small bricks, pulverized and then diffused in warm water using a small bamboo whisk. At the time of the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368AD) tea was much more available to the common people and was being consumed among the entire population. The original method of pouring hot water over tea leaves became the most common preparation technique. Still today, it is the most well-known and popularly used type in China. Even Lu Yu was convinced that people should enjoy green tea as naturally as possible.

It was not until 1610 that tea arrived in Europe when the Dutch shipped in stocks of tea. Eventually, this spread by trade to Germany and France. Much later, about 60 years later, the English joined in on the tea business and began to grow tea in their colonies.
It was through the discovery of fermentation that black tea was discovered. This is still the most popular tea choice in Europe. Green tea, however, isn't too far off, winning more and more friends every day. The wide variety of health-promoting agents, the invigorating effect, and the delicate flavour is gaining increasing popularity.