According to Lu Yu, writer of the book “Tea Classics” during the Tang Dynasty, Chinese tea has enjoyed a history of more than 4000 years.
Tea was used as offerings in the West Zhou, vegetables in the Spring and Autumn period, and medicine in the Warring period. Later in the West Han dynasty, it became a major commodity.
During the 300 years between the Three Kingdoms period and the Northern and Southern Dynasties, especially in the latter era, Buddhism was extremely popular. The Buddhists applied tea to relieve sleep in Za-zen, so tea trees spread along valleys and around Buddhist temples. That is why people say tea and Buddhism accompanied each other during their development in China.
Till the Tang Dynasty, tea became popular with the common people. In the Ming Dynasty, tea trade began to play an important role in the government’s economic plans and the “Tea and Horse Bureau” was set up to supervise the tea trade.
In the 6th century, a Buddhist monk brought tea to Japan and in the 16th century a Portuguese missionary introduced tea to Europe. It was then that tea truly became an international drink.
Presently in China, the tea family not only consists of traditional tea, but also tea beverage, tea food, tea medicine and other tea products.
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