Where the word tea come from?

At the beginning, the sinogram for the word, tea has two different pronunciations: "ch'a" in Mandarin and Cantonese, which comes from the verb "to pluck", and "t'e" in the Chinese Minnan dialect practiced in the region of " Amoy (now Xiamen) in southeast China.

The discovery of tea in different parts of the world was done through the sea or land silk routes. The sea route, set up by the Dutch, started from the Amoy region to wait for the countries of Europe. In these countries, tea has been designated by a word beginning with "t": tea, tee, tea ... because it originates in the pronunciation "t'e" of the Minnan dialect.

Countries using "ch" or "ch" have known tea through the trade routes of silk caravans, through the Cantonese word "ch'a". This is the case of Afghanistan, Russia, countries of Central Asia, Turkey, Iran, the Middle East, Tibet and Japan, a country for which tea has arrived with Buddhism Coming from China.

Legends of Tea

To the Chinese legend, the history of tea begins in 2737 BCE : Emperor Shen Nung, sitting in the shelter of a tree, boiled water to quench his thirst. A slight breeze then waved the branches of the tree, some leaves fell into the water and gave it an amber color and a delicate fragrance. The emperor drank the fragrant water and delighted in it. The tree was a wild tea, tea was born.

The Indian legend tells her that Prince Dharma, while traveling to China to preach the precepts of Buddhism, did not want to sleep during the nine years of his journey. However, by the end of the third year, when exhausted he was about to succumb to sleep, he picked some leaves from a tree and bit them. The tree was a tea tree. Feeling rapidly exhilarated by their invigorating virtues, Prince Dharma collected other leaves and drew from their virtues the strength to remain awake during the last years of his journey.

The Japanese legend is a little different. Prince Dharma, exhausted, fell asleep after three years of traveling. Upon awakening, ashamed of his weakness, he cut his eyelids and threw them to the ground. Returning a few years later to the same place, he noticed that a tree he had never seen before was growing in the very spot where he had thrown his eyelids. Intrigued, he tasted the leaves and realized that they had the property of allowing him to keep his eyes open. The tree was a tea tree. He spoke of it in his entourage, and it was then in the habit of cultivating tea at the places where he passed.

The world discovers tea

Whatever the legend, it seems that the tea tree (Camellia Sinensis) is originally from China, presumably from the region between Burma, North Vietnam and the Chinese province of Yunnan. The habit of consuming tea was first developed in China and then spread across the world through various trade routes. In China, it was during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) that tea became a daily drink.

Tea appeared in Japan in the seventh century. From the 15th century, it became an art of living through Zen Buddhism..

Europe discovered tea in the 17th century thanks to the development of relations between the East and the West. The first importation of tea was made by the Compagnie des Indes Orientales in 1610, first in Holland, then in France and in England. The English and Dutch emigrants also take tea with them to the New World. The economic stakes are such that it gives rise to speed races between tea-clippers, light sailing ships used for the transport of tea, on the main sea routes between Europe and America. In 1773, the settlers settled in Boston decided to boycott these heavily taxed imports and on December 16 threw a cargo of tea from England. This act, known as the "Boston tea party", marked the first stage of the independance War.

In the mid-nineteenth century, to meet a growing Western demand, the English developed plantations in India and then in the island of Ceylon. At the end of the nineteenth century, tea was established in many countries in Asia, in Anglophone Black African countries and then in South America. Today, tea has become the world's first drink after water. 

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