How do we know the Chinese drank tea first?Where did tea come from?Oolong tea, green tea, white tea, Pu'er tea, black tea... How many kinds of tea are there?How did tea get to the other parts of the world?Who drinks tea?How important is tea to the Chinese?What's so special about all those tea pots?Questions to ponderPrint this chapterShare on FacebookLinks / ReferencesSite map Font size: original Font size: medium Font size: large 中文
Origins - Where tea first appeared
 Origins - Where tea first appearedEarliest accounts - And the monumental importance of Lu YuEarliest legends - And our friend Shen NongWhy is tea called

Tea originally occurred in Southwestern China. According to Lu Yu's Classic of Tea, "tea is a good tree of the south". The native land of tea, China was the first country to use tea leaves and known to the world as the birthplace of tea. As supported by written accounts, our ancestors began cultivating and using tea plants more than 2,000 years ago, and Bashu area, covering Yunnan, Guizhou, and Sichuan in Southwestern China, was the region of origin.

Scientists have also found evidence that support this statement. They have found 3 of the world's oldest tea trees in this region. They are the: Bada ancient tea tree, estimated to be about 1,700 years old (around the time of the Three Kingdoms) and is a wild tea tree; the Bangwei ancient tea tree, over 1,000 years old and considered to be a "transitional stage tea tree"; and the Nannuo tea tree, the "King of Tea Trees", considered to be planted by someone in the Song dynasty, about 800 years old.

Tea has a long history. Before becoming a common beverage, it was used as one of many ingredients for soups and medicines. In the Jin dynasty (265 - 420 A.D.), Sun Chu wrote in The Song that Bashu produced ginger, cinnamon, tea, and old tea leaves. It showed that Bashu (now Sichuan province) was a famous tea growing region more than a thousand years ago.

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