The oldest reliable record of tea drinking in Japan can be found in the "Nihon Kouki'' (one of the six classical Japanese history texts).
One passage describes how the Buddhist monk Eichu offers tea to the Saga emperor on the 22nd of April 815. At the time, tea was a very rare delicacy.
It then got more widely spread during the Kamakura period (1185 - 1333 CE) when Yosai, a Buddhist monk also known for having started the Rinzai Sect, brought back tea to Japan from Sung dynasty China.
The tea drunk at the time was close in resemblance to today's Matcha.
Sencha came into being during the Edo period and within time it spread to the common people as well.
Tea arrived in Europe in the 16th century during the Age of Discovery. The Portuguese who made it to Canton are said to have been the first Westerners to taste tea.
In the 17th century the Dutch established hegemony over the trade in Asia and through the Dutch the export to tea to Great Britain started.
During the following centuries, tea gradually spread to all corners of the world. According to statistics from 2014 the production of tea was approximately 5,170,000 t, among which Green Tea accounted for 1,670,000 t, and Black Tea for an estimated 3,500,000 t.
The Origin of Tea Posted on 3 Oct 20:43 , 0 comments
The birthplace of tea is thought to be China, and originally it was used as a remedy and antidote. The expression "Ocha wo ippuku'' or "a dose of tea'' is said to have its origin in this as well.
The father of herbal medicine, Shen Nong, who according to the legend is credited for having created the base for today's Chinese medicine is said to have wandered through fields and mountains in search of beneficial herbs.
As he was trying to discern whether different types of herbs and leaves were good to consume for humans or not, he got poisoned as many as 72 times a day but when that happened, he always used tea leaves as an antidote.
This story is of great importance for the understanding of the world of tea.