The history of tea in China is long and complex. According to popular legend, tea was discovered by Chinese Emperor Shennong in 2737 BCE when a leaf from a nearby shrub fell into water the Emperor was boiling.
Tea is deeply woven into the history and culture of China. The beverage is considered one of the seven necessities of Chinese life.
Originally, tea was valued for its medicinal qualities. The elevation of tea drinking to an art form began in the 8th century, with the publication of poet Lu Yu’s “The Classic Art of Tea.” In the centuries following the publication of Yu’s work, tea’s popularity spread rapidly throughout China and the rest of the world.
Chinese tea can be classified into five distinctive categories: white, green, oolong, red (black) and puer. All of these come from varieties of the Camellia Sinensis plant.