Tea has been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years, and its true origins are unknown. What we do know is that tea drinking started in South East Asia, and for many centuries it was a well kept Chinese secret.
When the first book about tea was written in the year 800 A.D., the habit of drinking tea had already spread to all parts of Chinese society.
In other parts of the world, people have enjoyed similar brews but it is only tea made from the buds of the Camellia sinensis plant that is considered true tea. Other forms of herbal infusions are commonly refered to as herbal teas, even though they are not considered true tea.
Eventually, tea was introduced to Japan by Zen Buddhist monks and tea is still linked to spirituality and Zen Buddhism among the Japanese people. The first Japanese reference to tea dates back to the 9th century and is found in a text written by a Buddhist.
At first, tea was only consumed as a part of intricate and highly sophisticated tea ceremonies, but this tradition were soon to be corrupted and tea became a more mundane brew in Japanese society.
During the 14th, 15th and 16th century, three men named Ikkyu, Murata Shuko and Sen-no Rikkyu managed to restore the traditional Japanese tea ceremony and the rituals are still in practise today, even though Japanese people also love to enjoy a cup of tea under more casual circumstances.
On this site we have gathered a lot of information about tea, tea cultivating and processing, tea history, and the importance of tea around the world. As mentioned above, tea drinking originated in South East Asia and you can read more about the Chinese and Japanese tea tradition in the section named “Tea history”.
If you want to learn more about how tea eventually spread to other regions of the world, you should take a look in the section named “Tea around the world”. In this part of the site you will find information about tea and its significance in Europe, England, India, Russia, Canada and the United States.
There exist four basic forms of tea – black/red tea, oolong tea, green tea and white tea. All these tea variants are made from the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, and will develop their different characteristics during processing.
You can read more about this in the section named “Types of tea”. How the tea is harvested will also affect the quality and characteristics of a tea, and the production of first-rate tea will usually involve a harvesting technique where only the second leaf, the third leaf and the bud is picked from the tea plant. Read more about this in the “Harvesting tea” section.
Tea has a very interesting chemical composition and contains many substances believed to have a positive effect on our health and overall well-being.
Different teas each have their own specific chemical composition, and a black/red tea will for instance be high in caffeine and lower in antioxidants, while the situation is exactly the opposite for green and white teas.
Tea drinking will produce short-term as well as long-term effects on the human body. Right after enjoying a nice cup of high-quality tea, you usually feel relaxed and invigorated. What you might not know, is that the long-term effects of tea might make it possible for you to stay clear of cancer. You can read more about the composition of tea and the link between tea and health in the section named “Tea chemistry”.