of people all over the world drink tea and it has become an
essential part of their daily lives. As you enjoy a refreshing
cup of tea, have you ever thought about its origins, who first
discovered delicious beverage and which country is the
homeland of tea? It′s an interesting story dating back over
the world′s earliest nation drinking, planting and making
tea. It was recorded in ″Shengnong′s Herbal″ over two
thousand years ago that he tasted various herbals and was once
poisoned. Eventually he discovered that tea cured his toxic
system , and he also noted that regular consumption of tea can
maintain one′s youthful appearance and reindforce vital
books used the word″ Tu″ when they referred to tea plant.
Today. The popular beverage is known around the world as
‘tea′ and′ cha′ which are derived from pronunciation
of its name in Guangzhou and Fujian dialects. So, as tea was
spread from China to other countries, it retained its Chinese
long time it was an undisputed fact that China was the homland
of tea, but in more recent time this has been challenged in a
series of arguments and disputes. India has been credited by
some authorities as the homeland of tea, but the facts
substantiate that tea did originate in China.
known that a Japanese Buddhist monk, called Deng, studied in
China and brought tea back to Japan in 805 B.C. He was the
pioneer for growing tea outside of China. India, although a
country of great history, did not engage in tea planting and
drinking in ancient times.
In 1610, tea was first taken to Europe by a Dutch
merchant, and it rapidly gained in popularity. There were high
profits to be made in dealing in tea, and to take advantage of
this, Britain started planting tea in India in 1780. To aid
this, successive prime—ministers
sent representatives to China to buy tea and learn about
plantations. Surviving records indicate that in the eighteenth
century, tea was cultivated in at least twelve provinces of
China, and two of these——Anhui and Fujian——supplied
the largest portion of exports to Europe.
In 1824, the British Major General R. Bruce, who invaded
India, claimed that he discovered wild tea trees at Beesam
(presently called Assam) in India, somewhere near the
Burma/China (Yunnan) border. Under his direction, five boxes
of black tea were shipped to London and subsequently received
the prestigious ‘Innovation Award′ from the British
Technologues Institute in 1836. Spurred by General Bruce′s
discovery, the Indian Tea Commottee organized a scientific
research group to study the wild tea trees at Assam. Led by
botanists Dr. Wallice and Dr. Griffich and geologist Mr.
Mcclelland, the group found that the species of wild tea
growing in Assanm was actually from China; although its
quality was poor because of a long period of wild,
R. Bruce vehemently disagreed with the conclusions of the
ressarch team, and he wrote a pamphlet in India listing the
108 wild tea trees he had found in Assam including a 43 ft
high by 3 ft diameter specimen. Thus India was promulgated as
the original homeland of tea, starting a dispute which has
persisted right through to this century.
There are five schools of thought on the subject:
1. Indian School
Represented by an Englishman, Samuel Baildon, who
opposed the historical theory of Chinese origin in his book
′Tea in Assam′ written in 1877. Mr. Baildon advocated that
tea originated in India. Also of this school, Englishman John
H. Blake wrote a book ″Guide to Tea Merchants′ to promote
Indian tea sales in 1903. Edith A. Browne was another
prominent figure who supported the Indian School.
2. Persistent School
Numerous scholars of the Persistent School insist that
tea was sourced from China. Notable works supporting this
include Rassian scholar E. Brets—cheider′s ″Botanic
Ccience″, French Decandle Oenine′s ″Natural Systematic
Botany″, and A. Wilson′s ″The Traveller′s Tale of
A java ‘tea Classifier′ Cohen Stuatt indicated in
his book that there are two types of tea leaves,
differentiated by their separate origins. He believes the
large—leaf species originated in India whereas the
small—leaf varieties came from China.
In his publication, ″A
Full Text On Tea″ an American tea expert. William H. Ukers,
insisted that tea originated wherever the natural environment
favoured ist survival thus expounding a multi—origin theory.
theory, which can only be described as “Anony mous″ was
put forward by T. Eden in his book ″Tea written in 1974. In
this publication, Mr. Eden indicated that neither China nor
India is the orgin of tea.
Facts Speak for Themselves
establish truth about the origin of tea, one has only to look
at the facts. Learned scholars in China have long studied the
history of tea, and their findings indicate conclusively that
China is the homeland of tea.
Honorable Director of the Tea Academy, Mr. Wujuenong and
Professor Chen Chuan of Anhui Agricultural College and
professor Zhuang Wanfang of Zhejiang Agricultural University
have studied the claims of the various schools of thought on
the origins of tea, and their findings are recorded.
first argument——Indian school——lacks scientific
evidence because tea trees growing in the wild did not
necessarily originate in that place; especially if they′re
discovered in areas bounding tea—growing territory, It′s
also possible that wild trees were previously transplanted.
According to Kindon Ward, what Bruce claimed to be wild tea
tree land might have been a small piece of Tea land left idle
by immigrants before British rule. In the third edition of
″The Culture and Marketing of tea″, Written by C. R.
Harler in 1964, he points out that wild tea trees have been
found on plains and slopes in Assam since 1823; but it didn′s
necessarily mean that Brahmaputra Valley (Assam region at
present ) is the homland of tea. Here, Harler denied Bruce′s
second argument is that ″No one has ever found tea within
the territory of mainland China, that is to say, no wild
large—leaved tea tree is grown in China; so surely China is
not the original place for tea″ According to the world′s
first renowned article on tea, Lu Yu′s ″Cha jing″ ( The
Treatise on Tea ); in the eighth century tea trees ranging in
height from one to nearly one—hundred feet were growing at
the eastern part of Sichuan and western valley of Hubei.
″Some of them are so large that two men cannot embrace their
trunks and branches have to be shorten to collect the tea
leaves″. Other historical records on tea substantiate the
facts, and even today many wild tea trees can be found in
Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi Provinces.
end of the nineteenth century, Mr. A. Wilson studied the
plants in south western China, and the visitor claimed he
found many large—leaved tea trees over 10 feet high on the
slopes of Sichuan. Later, following Mr. Li Liandiao′s
discovery of wild tea trees at the Eagle Rock in Guizhou in
1939, the Chinese government undertook large scale research
and more evidence was revealed proving the existence of wild
tea trees in Yunnan and Guizhou.
primitive forest of Yunnan′s Xishuangbanna, there are more
tall trees; the largest having a height of over 32 metres and
diameter greater than one metre. This grand old tree is known
as ″The King of the Tea Trees″. Another famous 200 year
old tree, five metres high, was recently found on the Da Huang
Shan as reported by the Nanning China News Agency on June
1979. This magnificent specimen has Luxuriant branches and
leaves and still gives 60 jin tea one harvest.
third ″Binoriginism″ school of thought is contrary to all
biological principles, including Darwin′s ″The Origin of
Species″ which states that every spcies must have a single
central source from where genus are spread. Being occupied by
the concepts of the Indian School and lacking explanation of
later deviation of a vague concept of binoriginism which
ignores all bioloigical evolutionary principles. In 1973, a
Japaness scholar pointed out in his work ″the Disseminating
History of Tea″ that both Chinese and Indian tea chromosome
numbers are 30 in cell hereditism and appearances show that
the species were subjected to consequential changes from
Eastern China (including Taiwan), through Hainnan Island,
Thailand, and Burma to Assam in India. There is evidence that
changes took place due to the geographical and environmental
fourth thesis states that all natural environments favourable
to tea growing in Southeast Asian countries are possibly the
sources of tea origins. In the desired context, origin means
the total evolution of tea in an area, including its
ancestors, offspring and other subgenus over hundrees of
thousands of years. Yet Ukers considered only a specific place
which currently has a favourable natural environment.
Therefore it is illogical and unscientific to judge a
longstanding development with short and occasional data.
its Roots in South Western China
vast country of China, it was the southwestern region where
tea originated the true root of all tea trees; There, the
first tea plant grew and generated over an evolutionary period
of several thousand; and it is from southwest China that the
tea eventually spread and multiplied to benefit people all
around the world.
to the continental drift theory, the earth had only two major
continents 250 million years ago. One, Laurasia, included
today′s North America, Europe, and most parts of Asia, The
other, called Gondwanaland, included South America, Africa,
Australia and the remainder of Asia. There two major
continents were divided by the Toothy Sea; China and India
were disconnected, and there was a mighty ocean where the
Himalayan range exists today.
Upper paleozoic Era in geology China′s Yunnan, Yunnan,
Guizhou Plateaux and Sichuan Basin was a mountain range
situated at the southern edge of northern group Laurasia and
facing the Tethys Sea. The area had a warm, Wet climate and
abundant rainfall; the optimum environment for seeding
oaleophytes and the orgin of many high quality plant.
In systematic botant, tea tree families species derived
as: Theales, Theaceae, Camellia and tea species. Through this
reputionship we can trace the tea affinity.
There are 23
Camellia and over 380 species of Theaceae. China proved to
have 15 Camellia and 260 species widely spread over Yunnan,
Guizhou and Sichuan Provinces. Most of the species originated
in Yunnan which is renowned as the best Camellia producing
area in the world. Over 60 of the 100 Camellia varieties were
discovered in China; and the diverse tea clusters in the
region prove it was the original place of tea.
Tea which was growing in various landscapes, climates
and conditions, adapted to the changing environment to
survive. The most obvious variances which resulted are the
large leaves, small leaves, trees and shrubs; and after many
generations, these altered species spread and nurture in other
areas. Hence, the factors affecting the changes of tea species
can also vindicates south western China as the souce of tea.
recent times, a Swiss systematisc botanist, Carl Von Linnie,
named a specimen of tea tree ″Theasinsis″ (which means
Chinese tea tree).
In conclusion, it can be seen that tea originated in China;
with Yunnan at its center and Guizhou and Sichuan its
you have any needs of Chinese tea and other products,
please to tell us .