In 2737 B.C., a Chinese emperor named Shen Nung was boiling a pot of water over a fire. One of the leaves from the fire floated into the pot.
When the emperor drank the water, he found that it tasted delicious. What kind of leaf was it that gave the water its flavor? The leaf came from an evergreen shrub called Camellia sinensis, better known to us as tea!
This story is only a legend. But tea was certainly discovered in China or neighboring lands thousands of years ago. It spread through the East, but for many centuries it was drunk only as a medicine.
Then the Chinese learned how to roast the leaves, as Shen Nung’s fire had done, to make the drink taste better, and people began to drink tea as a refreshing beverage instead of a medicine.
Even though India is the world’s largest tea grower today, tea wasn’t grown there until the 19th century!