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|The Story of Tea |
China, the Homeland of Tea
Of the three major beverages of the world tea, coffee and cocoa, tea is consumed by the largest number of people.
China is the homeland of tea and it is believed that China had tea-shrubs as early as five to six thousand years ago! Tea from China, along with her silk and porcelain, began to be known throughout the world more than a thousand years ago and has since always been an important Chinese export. At present, more than forty countries in the world grow tea with Asian countries producing 90% of the worlds total output. The word for tea leaves or tea as a drink in many countries are derivatives from the Chinese character "cha". The Russians call it "chai", which sounds like "chaye" (tea leaves) as it pronounced in northern china. The English word "tea" sounds similar to the pronunciation of its counterpart in Xiamen (Amoy). The Japanese character for tea is written exactly the same as it is in Chinese, though pronounced with a slight difference. The habit of tea drinking spread to Japan in the 6th century, but it was not introduced to Europe and America till the 17th and 18th centuries. Now the number of tea drinkers in the world is legion and is still on the increase.
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