Production of tea in China, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Indonesia, Russian Federation, and Japan is discussed.  

Origin of Tea in China

         The discovery and origin of tea and tea drinking are generally ascribed to China. (1). Its legendary history dates back to the year 2737 B.C. In the account of the "Herbal Canon of Shen Nong," the Chinese Emperor Shen Nong claimed that tea was able to detoxify 72 kinds of poisons (2). It is stated in an ancient Chinese document published in 347 A.D. (3) that people living in southwest China used teas for paying tribute to Chinese emperors as early as 1066 B.C.  The poetic work "Er Ya," describing the ecology of tea trees and tea drinking, was published in 130 B.C.  (4) In this era, tea was used as medicine as well as for entertaining guests. The antiquity of tea is also evident in the essay "Tong Yue" published in 59 B.C.  (5), in which there is evidence of the making and sale of tea, as well as the establishment of schools during the second century to instruct people on how to grow and drink tea. The existence of tea markets in 130 B.C.  is also documented in a recent publication.(6). It is clear that China enjoyed a flourishing tea industry centuries before the Christian ear. Recently excavated Western Han Tombs of the second century B.C. , situated in the Hunnan Province of China, revealed that tea was one of the items included in the list of burial objects (7).
         Records indicate that tea production and tea drinking were restricted to southwest China until about the fifth century B.C. (8). At about that time, China entered its "Wamng States Period," and this led to a steady movement of pobulations across the country. As a result of this migration, tea was spread to other regions of China, see Figure III. 1. During the third century B.C. , the  custom of  tea drinking was intoduced to northwest China and Mongolia. By the beginning of the Tang Dynasty, 618-907 A.D., tea had become one of  the principal goods of trade in the Tu Lu Fan Basin. The use of tea was increased by the spread of Buddhism in China and by the edict of the Imperial Court that tea should replace the use of wine. As a result, tea became a staple commodity, second only to salt. It was during this period, 780 A.D., that Lu Yu published the book "Tea Classics" (9), in wich he gave a comprehensive introduction to the origin, variety, cultivation, processing, storage of tea, and drinking customs; described the ecology of tea trees; and extolled the virtues of tea drinking.
          By the time of the Song Dynasty, 960-1271 A.D. the major tea plantations in China extended to the southeast, and people were offering tea astribute in place of grain and money. During the Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644 A.D., harsh laws, including death penalty, were imposed on illegal business practices in the sale of tea. In 1397 A.D. Ouyang Lun, the son-in-law of the first emperor (Zhu Yuanzhang) of the Ming Dynasty, was sentenced to death for demanding exorbitant prices for the sale of his illegally acquired hoard of tea (10). It was in this ear that the tea-house barter system became popular because fine horses required by the army were not available in inland China. It was reported that in the year 1398 A.D. , 250,000 kilograms (kg) of  tea were bartered ofr 13,584 horses. This tea-house barter trade prevailed for several generations and was instrumental in spreading the popularity of tea. After the Ming Dynasty, tea became the national drink in China. In fact, tea became a necessity of life, equal to fuel, rice, oil, and salt. People would go without rice for three days but would not go without tea for a single cay.

   Spread of Tea to Other Countries

            The spread of tea from China to other parts of the world, see Figure III. 1, is said to have commenced as early as 221 B.C. with the migration of minority nationalities from China to Vietnam, Burma, Laos, and Thailand. These migrations were the result of incessant internal wars which prevailed at that time. Although these migration occured many centures ago, the methods of processing used in some of the mountainous areas of these countries today are similar to those employed in ancient China, such as the addition of condiments during the steaming of tea leaves and the use of tea as food dishes and medicines (11).
           During the fifth century A.D., China had already a well-established tea trade with Turkey. Many foreign buyers, especially from Iran, had established trading posts in Luoyang. In the middle of the sixth century A.D., thousands of Tujue-whose territory once extended across Eurasia from Baikal Lake in the north to the Caspian Sea in the west and was later under the jurisdiction of the Tang Dynasty-entered China each year to trade in tea. In this era, China had begun communication with Rome, Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Korea, and Japan; and she enjoyed a flourishing barter trade, with tea as one of the principal barter items. It was at this time that trade on the famed Silk Road prospered. The opening of sea lanes led to further expansion of trade with China. In approximately the seventh century




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