Legends around tea
The world’s biggest producers of tea are China and India – so perhaps it’s no surprise that each country has its own legend about tea’s ancient origins.
In China, a story is told that almost 5,000 years ago, in 2737 BCE, the Emperor ShenNung was relaxing beneath a Camellia tree when a leaf fell into his cup of hot water. As ripples pooled out from the leaf, so too did a light green liquor.
The Emperor tasted the liquid, and found the aromatic brew delicious and refreshing. And with this, tea was discovered.
And in India, there’s a story that as a boy, Prince Siddharta – who later became the Buddha – was meditating deeply on the side of a mountain, where he accidentally fell asleep.
Annoyed by his loss of concentration, on waking the prince is said to have pulled out his own eyelashes and cast them to the winds.
Miraculously, a flowering bush sprang up where they landed. This was the first ever tea plant: its leaves became known for stimulating energy and conquering drowsiness.
The Buddha bequeathed the plant to his own followers, empowering them to stay awake and alert, in order to carry out their own meditative devotions.