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How Was Tea Discovered?

The history of tea dates back to approximately 5,000 years in Imperial China. According to legend, Emperor Shen Nong discovered tea accidentally during one of his routine herbal field visits.

The emperor was a well-known herbalist and the first to teach Chinese people how to use herbs in therapy and diet. During his time, he identified hundreds of herbs by personally tasting and analyzing their properties.

One day, while resting beneath a tree after accidentally tasting a toxic plant, some leaves from a tree bush were blown into the boiling water pot, which was prepared for the emperor to quench his thirst. The boiling water suddenly turned a yellow-greenish color and had an indescribable, distinct scent.

After taking a sip, Emperor Shen Nong was surprised at the infusion that was created by happenstance. Chewing the tea leaves, the uncomfortable and painful feeling from ingesting the toxic plant previously disappeared completely.

The emperor collected leaf samples to learn more about this particular herbal plant, and over time his discovery had become popular for its medical benefits — although the tea leaves were originally chewed rather than drunk as we do today.

With increasing popularity worldwide, tea is widely used not just as a drink nowadays, but also in ceremonies, sacrificial offerings and food. Who would’ve thought that a chance discovery centuries ago would spark such wide varieties of tea, each with its unique flavor?

Whether it’s black tea, green tea, white tea, oolong tea, or pu-erh tea, hot or cold, with or without milk and sugar, tea is a delicious and refreshing beverage that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. So when you’re looking for a refreshing drink, reach for a cup of tea, the drink for all times!