A Small History of Tea Culture

Do you know which countries are famous for tea? I would choose the UK and China. The biggest consumer of tea is the UK, proved by the fact that the British drink over 163 million cups of tea daily, about 20 times the number of cups consumed by Americans. However, tea’s origin is from China. The story of tea’s origin is mixed with some myths and facts.
To look at the first discovery of tea, we need to go back in time to 2737 B.C.E. when the Emperor was Shen Nong. Shen Nong, was a skilled ruler and scientist and accidentally discovered tea. While boiling water in the garden, a leaf from an overhanging wild tea tree drifted into his pot. He enjoyed drinking the water so much that he was compelled to research the plant further. This is how tea was discovered and developed. After this event, tea became popular to everyone, regardless of class, and a crucial role in Chinese culture throughout history.
The Chinese enjoy drinking tea in the case of a formal events and in daily life. Drinking tea in special events is an important custom in China. For example, they drink tea as a meaning of respect for their guests, when they celebrate family events, when they want to apologize to someone, and when they explain their tradition and history to someone.
As you see, tea is a crucial key to understand Chinese culture. Now, let’s look at what kinds of tea the Chinese enjoy. The most common kinds of tea are Green tea, Oolong tea, and Pu-erh tea.
Green tea is the most popular tea in China, and also well-known all over the world. Green tea is well known for reducing risk of heart disease, lowering blood pressure, reducing negative effects of cholesterol, and helping weight loss. Oolong tea is similar to black tea and green tea, but it is not as flowery as Black tea and has a bitter taste with a sweet aftertaste. It is commonly served in Chinese restaurants as a welcome drink. Oolong tea is very popular and common in China and Taiwan. Also, those countries are famous for skillfully handmade Oolong teas, which are grown in high mountainous regions and in cool weather. Lastly, Pu-erh tea is known as Black tea in the East part of the world just because it can taste like Black tea, but it has a fruity and musky flavor. The interesting fact is many Pu-erh teas are able to retain their freshness for up to fifty years, so you can drink fresh Pu-erh tea over time.

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