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Tea Origin Stories

Updated: Mar 15, 2022


Black and white illustrated image of Emperor Shennong Discovering Tea
The Discovery of Tea

According to legend, the discovery of tea was accidental. In 2737 BCE, Emperor Shennong unknowingly sat under a tea tree while boiling his drinking water. When some of the leaves blew into the pot, he found that they imparted a pleasant flavor, as well as promoting a balance of focus and tranquility. He took seeds from the tree to plant all over China, and the tradition of tea was born.



Beyond the legendary origins of tea itself, many of the most famous cultivars and styles of tea have their own origin stories. We'll be highlighting many of those on this site, under the hashtag #TeaOrigins.

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