The Tea Story

You would be surprised to know for how long tea has been a part of lives around the world. Over the centuries, its cultivation has spread beyond all borders and has been transformed in many ways to suit different lifestyles, cultures and climates. Yet, the natural goodness of tea remains same even today and so does its rise in popularity.

Since we too are making history with Alokozay Tea, we thought it would be a good idea to take you back around 5,000 years to the origin of tea.

2737 B.C.

The second emperor of Ancient China, Shen Nung, discovers tea when tea leaves, through a fortunate accident, blow into his cup of hot water.

400-907

Tea becomes a popular drink in China for both its flavour and medicinal qualities. Different ingredients such as ginger, onion, spices and orange are added by tea drinkers.

Meanwhile in Japan, tea is rare and expensive, enjoyed mostly by high priests and the aristocracy. However, tea devotion spreads along with Buddhism.

1422-1600

Tea’s status elevates to an art form and almost becomes a religion in Japan where the Commander-in-Chief, Shogun Yoshimasa encourages tea ceremonies, painting, and drama. Later, Europeans learn about tea when in 1583, a Venetian author credits the lengthy lives of Asians to their tea drinking.

1610-1700

Green tea is brought to Denmark from Japan (although some argue it was from China).
The Dutch East India Company markets tea as an exotic medicinal drink, but it’s so expensive that only the aristocracy can afford the tea and its serving pieces.

In 1657, the first tea is sold as a health beverage in London, England at Garway’s Coffee House. It is also gifted to the British royalty by the English East India Company.

It is subsequently introduced in Scotland by the Duchess of York.
By the late 1600s, tea is sold publicly in Massachusetts and Taiwan begins exporting its first domestic cultivation of tea. Also, Russia and China sign a treaty that brings the tea trade across Mongolia and Siberia.

1735-1800

Russian tea-drinking customs emerge, which entail using tea concentrate, adding hot water, topping it with a lemon, and drinking it through a lump of sugar held between the teeth.

By 1773, tea easily ranks as the most popular beverage in the American colonies. In the same year, following the British tea tax imposition, colonists board East India Company ships and unload hundreds of tea chests into the harbor. This rebellion is famously known as the ‘Boston Tea Party’.

1815-1900

English Quaker John Horniman in 1826 introduces the first retail tea in sealed, lead-lined packages. Much later, in 1840, Anna, the Duchess of Bedford begins a lasting English ritual of afternoon tea.

During the 1840s-1850s, American clipper ships speed up tea transports to America and Europe. In another part of the world, the first tea plants, imports from China and India, are cultivated on a trial basis in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) which by the end of the century becomes a successful tea market.

1904-1970s

In 1904, Englishman Richard Blechynden creates iced tea during a heat wave at the St Louis World Fair. Another tea invention follows four years later when the New York tea importer, Thomas Sullivan, inadvertently invents tea bags when he sends tea to clients in small silk bags, and they mistakenly steep the bags whole. However, teabags won’t be taking off till the ‘70s.

By 1910, Indonesia becomes a cultivator and exporter of tea followed by Kenya and parts of Africa.

In 1953, world’s first instant tea is introduced. The British start preferring teabags during the 1970s and today, 90% of all cups drunk daily in the UK alone are brewed from tea bags.

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