History of Tea & Tea Culture

The oldest tea, 2100 years old, is being discovered in an ancient tell dated to Han dynasty in HanYang, Shangxi province , China. This discovery confirms one solid fact – tea and tea culture began from China.

The size is +/- 1mm in width and +/-4-5mm in length, the aging process that took place in the last 2100 years has trasformed its color to brownish copper. From this piece of tea, apparently the emperor then drank the top quality tea made from young buds.

2100 years old tea727So far there is no one, not even Chinese, really know exactly when tea and tea culture began in China. We do can find the first introduction of tea in Er Ya, the earliest Chinese dictionary written by Confucian scholars sometime between the Spring and Autumn period and early Han Dynasty (8th through 2nd centuries B.C.).  Now with the discovery of these ancient aged tea, it is clear that the quality standards of tea plucking and processing techniques were already very advance.

Because it has been buried under ground for 2100 years, so it’s hard to say it originally was loose leave or tea cake, but the post fermentation process has transformed the color to dark brownish cooper as as aged raw Puer.

Having a cup of tea is pretty simple, all you need is tea leaves, water, tea ware and time. But behind each leaf there are endless learning from history, geography, botanic, nature, environment, health, arts and living philosophies.   Where to start?  It’s very easy, starting from enjoying tea.

©copyrighted Mei Lan Hsiao, Belgium Chinese Tea Arts Centre/Belgium Chinese Tea Culture Association, info@chineseteaarts.com +32-494506899

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