Ancient Tale of Tea
Legend has it that Shen Nung, an early Chinese emperor passed a law that all drinking water must be boiled. One day, as he was resting on a journey through one of his territories, dry leaves from a nearby bush fell into the water and the water turned a caramel-coloured brown. The Emperor was interested in the new liquid, drank some, and found it refreshing. And so, tea was created.
Tea consumption spread throughout the Chinese culture reaching into every aspect of the society. In 800 A.D. Lu Yu wrote the first definitive book on tea, the Ch’a Ching. He is known to have codified the different methods of cultivating and preparing tea in ancient China. It was this form of tea service that Zen Buddhist missionaries would later introduce to imperial Japan.
As the amount of tea imported into Europe increased, the price fell as the volume of sales expanded.
By 1650, the Dutch were actively involved in trade throughout the Western world. Peter Stuyvesant brought the first tea to America in the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam (later New York).