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The legend of tea

According to the legend, it all began in 2737 BC, in China. While the emperor Shen Nung was boiling water to drink, under a tree the wind shook the branches and some leaves fell.

They mingled with water and gave it a emperor enjoyed it. The tree was a wild tea plant: the tea was born.

In India, another legend accounts that the third son of King Kosjuwo, prince Dharma had an epiphany and decided to leave his country and go to China to preach Buddha’s precepts. To make himself more worthy of such a mission, he vowed not to sleep during the nine years of his journey. Towards the end of the third year, however, he was caught by drowsiness and would succumb to sleep when, by chance he picked up a few leaves from a wild tea tree, and he chew them mechanically. The invigorating tea had its effect immediately: Dharma woke up and had the strength to stay awake for the last six years of his apostolate.

In Japan, the story was a little bit different : After three years, Bodhi Dharma, exhausted fell asleep. When he woke up, furious at his weakness and  overwhelmed by his fault, he cut off his eyelids and threw them to the ground. A few years later, passing by same place, he found that they had given birth to a bush that he had never seen before. He tasted the leaves and found out that he couldn’t close his eyes. He spread the word and people started cultivating tea in the places where he had been.

Whatever the legend, it seems that the tea trees are from China, probably from the region on the border of Burma, North Vietnam and Yunnan, and the consumption of this drink would be developed first among the Chinese.

Tea origins

China is certainly the oldest exporter of tea in the world, but it’s not the only one. Today the tea tree grows in over 30 countries around the world, from South America to Japan through Africa.

China

Producer of some of the greater green and black teas: teas of Yunnan province, but also the Keemun, the Chingwoo or Szechwan. Do not forget china smoked teas (especially the famous Lapsang Souchong) and traditional flavoured teas (jasmine tea, rose, chrysanthemum, etc.).

India

Currently it’s the first in the world in terms of production. There, plantations date back to the nineteenth century and are mainly concentrated in the southwest trays (Nilgiri and Travancore) and in the north at the Himalayas gateway (Assam and Darjeeling large gardens).

Ceylon

(Sri Lanka) Ceylon teas account for nearly 50% of the black tea consumed in France.

Japan

It produces only green tea, the most famous is undoubtedly the Sencha tea (natural tea leaves), the Genmaïcha tea (blend of green tea, roasted rice and corn) and Matcha tea (powdered made from tea leaves dried and often used in the tea ceremony).

Kenya

In Kenya, tea culture has taken off in the 60’s. Today, most of its production uses the “CTC method” (method by which the leaves are pressed, cut and rolled) especially used for teas with small leaves, ideal for tea bags.

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