Tea was born in China, as you can imagine. It was originally consumed for its medicinal properties. But it was quickly sought after for its taste and became a pleasure drink. In the 8th century CE, it was the drink of the Tang Dynasty course. The tea leaves were then pressed into molds and dried over a fire. They were then boiled to prepare the drink. The fashion was then imitated by the Japanese, the Tartars, the Turks and the Tibetan nomads. While tea lost its popularity under Mongol occupation, it once again became the Chinese favorite drink in the 17th century, under the leadership of the Ming dynasty. The tea, green or black, was then brewed.
It was not until the 17th century that tea leaves arrived on the European continent, first in Holland, imported by the Dutch East India Company, which retained the monopoly until the end of the 1660s. C This is the time when England entrusted the East India Company with the tea trade with China. Extraordinary success: consumption went from 65 kg in 1699 to 2 million kg in 1769! The road to tea was very long. From their home province, crates full of tea traveled to the port of Canton (the only city allowed to receive foreigners), before being loaded onto Western ships.
In the 19th century the trade is modernized. If London remains the leading consumer city in the West, it soon faces competition from Moscow and New York. Tall ships ("clippers"), originally chartered for the opium trade, are used for tea. At the same time, tea cultures are developing elsewhere than in China. They appear in India, Malaysia, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), but also in Guyana, Martinique and on the flanks of the Himalayas). Today it is possible to find plantations in Africa, Oceania (Australia, Papua and New Guinea) and even America (Argentina and Brazil).