What is the origin of tea?
The origin of tea is infused with a fine blend of fact, myth, and ancient concepts of spirituality and philosophy. According to an ancient Chinese legend, the story of tea was born over 4700 years ago when a fortuitous blunder caused a few dry leaves to accidentally fall into a pot of boiling water that was being prepared for emperor Shen Nong in the hills of China.
The emperor enjoyed drinking the infused water as it had a most unusual and delicious flavour. He felt so immensely invigorated and refreshed, and as he was a skilled scientist and ruler he set out to further research the plant whereby he discovered tea to possess medicinal properties.
Indian history attributes the birth of tea to Prince Bodhi-Dharma, an Indian saint who established the Japanese Zen school of Buddhism. In 520 A.D., he left India to teach the ways of Buddhism in China. So as to exemplify Zen principles, Prince Bodhi-Dharma vowed to meditate without pause for nine years. Towards the end of his meditative endeavor, he fell asleep. Upon awakening, he was so distraught that he tore off his eyelids and threw them unto the ground. It is said that a tea plant sprung up from where his eyelids fell so as to sanctify his sacrifice.
Since that time, through exploration, discovery and experimentation, tea has exploded into the most widely consumed beverage in the world, second to water. It is a world that has become so very vast and specialized- just like that of fine wine.