The history of tea
Tea is the most-consumed beverage on the planet. It was perhaps first referred to in the Epic of Gilgamesh. It is thought that Gilgamesh was told by Utnapishtim, a man who became a god, that on his ship he poured tea as a libation for the gods as appreciation for his deliverance, and that in smelling the tea’s sweet aroma the gods gathered around. Shen Nung, the second emperor of China, was said to be a creative scientist. One of his edicts required that all drinking water be boiled as a hygienic precaution. In 2737 BC, it is told, some tea leaves accidentally blew into a pot of boiling water that Shen Nung had ordered. The first European to encounter tea was the Portuguese Jesuit Jasper de Cruz in 1560 but tea was introduced to Europe by the Dutch in the 17th century and was brought to the United States by Peter Stuyvesant in 1650. The first mention of tea in England was made in 1658 by coffee house owner Thomas Garaway, referring to Chinese Tea. It is thought that the concept of afternoon tea was introduced around 1840 by Anna, Duchess of Bedford. Ice tea was introduced in 1904 at the World’s Fair in St. Louis.