A brief history of tea ,its emergence and expansion in Europe

Tea is an evergreen plant of Camellia family and is known as Camellia Sinensis. It has been a recreational drink in Europe ever since the Portuguese traders and missionaries living in East brought it to their homelands after being introduced to the benefits of drinking it. The Portuguese were the first to come across it, the Dutch became the first to commercialize after the successful intrusion of Portuguese trading route in the east during the late sixteenth century. The dutch successfully established a trading port in Java and shipped the first tea consignment from China to Netherlands in the year 1606. Following the great success, it gave birth to the European market for Camellia Sinensis which is said to have started flourishing in the western Europe becoming a drink of great demand among wealthy european families.

The culture of drinking tea in England was introduced around seventeenth century whereas its birth dates back to 2000-3000 BC. According to the legends, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung (Devine Healer), who was also a great herbalist and agriculturalist, took immense pride in teaching the value of cultivating land and boiling water for making it safer to drink and believed that it also increased longevity. Since the practice of cultivating a land attunes the body naturally making one healthier and happier.

On one fortunate day, he noticed few leaves of the nearby camellia-like bush had blown into his cup of steaming water while taking a stroll in his garden. It made him realize that the water had transformed into something entirely new with a delicious fruity fragrance. Sipping the co-incidental concoction and the amazement of the refreshing, relaxing, delightful effect which enhanced his sense of well-being immediately after drinking it, led to the auspicious birth of the tea. 


Another story suggests that the birth of tea emerged from a Bodhisattva monk who chewed upon leaves that kept him awake during his meditation hours. After examining the plant conclusions were derived by learned monks and scholars declaring its advantages to the human health. It was used by the Chinese herbalist for various physical, medicinal, psychological and spiritual advantages. The authenticity of these stories is untraceable however the culture of drinking tea was born in China which has been evident through various historical sources.