Loose Leaf Tea History: The Beginnings of Tea Drinking

People drink tea for different reasons. Some drink it because they need a beverage with less caffeine than coffee, and some take it due to its health benefits. Others just want to appear more sophisticated. There are various kinds of loose leaf tea–black, green, oolong, and herbal–each of which has its own benefits.

Tea is one of the most popular and healthy beverages in the world. In Canada alone, Canadians consume almost 9 billion cups of tea every year, according to Canadian Food Trends. Have you ever wondered how tea emerged to become a staple in many kitchens, and where it came from? Here’s a brief history.

Tea was first discovered in China and has conquered almost every country in the world. In one legend, the discovery was even credited to the Emperor of China in 2737 BC. For hundreds of years, tea was consumed for its health benefits. However, during the Western Zhou Dynasty, tea became a religious offering.

During the Tang Dynasty, tea spread through Japan, where only the priests and the rich consumed it because of its medicinal benefits. In the 17th century, tea was introduced to England when King Charles II married Catherine of Braganza, a Portuguese princess, who fashioned tea as the drink for the royalty.

Just like regular tea, loose leaf tea was also discovered in China. In China’s early stages of drinking tea, leaves were only boiled with sweets and spices. During the Ming Dynasty, steeping loose tea leaves in teapots became more common. Loose leaf tea was introduced to Japan around 100 AD by Yei-sai-zenji. It was also at this time when the Japanese tea ritual was invented.

In Europe, loose leaf tea was first documented by Marco Polo in the mid-11th century, while in Canada, it was first brought by The Hudson Bay Company in 1716. In America, tea became a part of political history during the Boston Tea Party of 1773.

Loose leaf tea has various benefits. Aside from the fact that there are different healthy tea options, this particular tea is better for the environment because it comes without extra packaging. It is always best to understand modern tea drinking and the history of the tea products that you use. For more information, visit www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-mirza-grotts/the-history-and-etiquette_b_3751053.html

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