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As you reach for your tea cup, something falls into it. You gingerly fish out a flower petal and push the vase filled with roses further away from the cup. As you try to decide if it is necessary to brew a new cup of tea, you remember a story someone told you about the history of drinking tea in China. Didn't someone say that tea was discovered in the first place when a leaf fell into a cup of hot water?
A legend about the discovery of tea does say that an emperor found out about the wonders of tea in just this way over four thousand years ago. He was certainly fortunate that tea leaves fell into his water rather than poisonous leaves from another shrub.
After this discovery long ago, China began a love affair with tea that is still going strong today. Chinese doctors quickly found that tea seemed to have medicinal qualities and prescribed tea as a treatment for health conditions.
As we reached 1000 A.D., Chinese tea houses and traditional Chinese tea ceremonies began to evolve and tea became much more than a drink. Serving tea is a ritual that still has cultural significance today.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|