Genesis of Our Favorite Drink...
2737 BC - The legend of tea’s origin is founded in China. Nearly 5,000 years ago emperor Shen Nong fell asleep under a tree. Upon waking he boiled (to purify) some water to quench his thirst. Some leaves from the tree in which he was dozing had fallen into the water. He drank and enjoyed it. That tree was a wild tea plant.
604-650 King Songtstan Gampo unites Tibet. A beautiful book I acquired last year, Tea Horse Road, by Michael Freeman and Selena Ahmed, discusses how Chinese tea and Tibetan horses were historically traded. Over 1400 miles of trade routes are developed and known as the Tea Horse Road. Today, much is gone, but tourism concerning the trails remains. An interesting article was published by National Geographic: http://bit.ly/PHgmvb.
733-804 Lu Yu, a Buddhist monk in china, writes The Classic of Tea, which is still referenced today. Lu Yu stressed teas bitter sweet properties.
1082-1135 Emperor Huizhong, the Chinese crowned dreamer, spreads the popularity of tea from Buddhists to royal courts. The emperor wrote the 'Discussions on Tea During the Da Guan Era'. Disregarded the bitter qualities of tea and focused on the sweet.
1368-1644 Ming Dynasty. A peasant child, Zhu Yuanzhang, becomes first Ming emperor of China. Loose tea as the West is familiar with today, became widespread during his reign.
Early 19th Century - The English thirst for Chinese grown tea. The Opium Wars 1839–42 and 1856–60 begin.
Today, tea is China’s National drink and green tea is predominately consumed. The Chinese remain the top producer of tea in the world.
In China, Hong Kong milk tea, also known as pantyhose or silk stocking tea, is made with evaporated or sweetened condensed milk in a filter resembling pantyhose or stocking.
Tibet imports most of their tea from China, but they have a few noteworthy tea concoctions.
Tibet butter tea – More like soup, salty as opposed to sweet. Made with butter, milk, water, black tea, and salt.
Tibetan yak butter/milk tea – made with the butter/milk of a yak (stronger taste) instead of a cow.
Life’s toiling, the water’s boiling, drink more tea!
A fun game - High Tea – The Opium Wars Online Game, can be found and played at: http://bit.ly/MSyPDa.