The origin of this popular wonder drink is steeped in legends. According to one version prevalent in China, “The good King drank water from a pot into which leaves from a wild bush had fallen while the water was on the boil, and savored the first cup Tei. [Significantly, the Chinese tea garden workers called it “chai’’, which is possibly the origin of the word “Cha” in India].
Another story says that “Chinese travelers carried it from northeast India to China 5000 years ago for its medicinal values.” And get another version says that the founder of the Zen Buddhism cult, Saint Bodhidarma, once fell asleep during his meditation. When he awoke, he was so embarrassed that he decided to cut off his eyelids as an act of penance. “Cast To the ground the severed eyelids grew into a tea plant which, when brewed, could banish sleep!”.
Legends apart, the fact remains that by the seventh century, tea began to occupy the pride of place among popular drinks in China.
According to available sources, the first “book of tea” was written by Lu Yu in 780AD and the types of “green”, “black” and “oolong” teas made their first appearance under the Ming Dynasty during 1368 to 16440 40 for centuries, China remains the only supplier of tea leaves in the world, till Japan entered the scene in ninth century A.D.