Timeline of Tea

Let’s take a ride to our Tea History

It’s hard to imagine a world where tea isnt the most beloved beverage by all. Its hard to imagine that we don’t wake up to the aroma of a freshly brewed cup of tea. Hard to imagine that a commodity as profitable as tea wouldn’t exist. But it does make one wonder as to how tea came to be. Was it an accidental discovery or has it been part of our history for as long as time. In today’s edition of ‘Discover Tea’, let’s go back to its root and find out how this delicious beverage came to be.

2737 B.C

The second emporer of China, Shen Nung, discovered tea when a few leaves fell into his cup of boiling water, whilst he was resting under a tree. A bit hard to believe right but then most discoveries have been accidental

350 A.D

A Chinese disctionary ‘ErhYa’ first acknowledged it existence, around this time.

400-600 A.D
Tea in its early discovery was considered and consumed for medcicinal purposes and the demand for tea because of its medicinal properties increased around this era.
400 A.D

Tea, now being fondly called as KuangYa in the Chinese dictionary, tea and its famous ceremony is clearly defined for the masses.

479 A.D

:Tea, now slowly gaining popularity, was being demanded on the border of Mongolia by Turkish Traders.

593 A.D

Japanese priests studying in parts of China, discover tea and the famous tea ceremony and bring it back with them tea seeds to japan.

618-917 Tang Dynasty

Now having gained immense popularity amongst tea for its taste and medicinal properties.

729 A.D

Japanese plant gyoki tea plants around various temple gardens. Tea, still being considered an expensive commodity and only reserved for high priests and aristocrats.

780 A.D

 First tax imposed on tea

805 A.D

Buddhism and Tea devotion went hand in hand at this stage. Japanese Buddhist priests, monks and saints brought tea seeds from China and continued planting around various temples.

960-1280 Sung Dynasty

Chinese tea drinking continues rising, and becomes more mainstream with sophisticated porcelain tea cups and tea pots become all the rage. And before one knows, along came the temple tea ceremonies.

1101-1125

 Chinese Emporer Hui Tsung becomes tea obsessed and shares his immense love for tea by publishing articles on different tea whisking methods and takes his tea obsession further by hosting lavish tea ceremonies in his court. And as the legend goes, Mongolians took over his empire, whilst he was busy nurturing his tea obsession.

1208-1368 Yuan Dynasty

During the Mongolian takeover of the Chinese empire, tea becomes a commonly drunk beverage, and never again did it regain its high social status.

1211

First tea book has been written by the Japanese Buddhist abbot Eisai, called KitchaYojoki (Book of Tea Sanitation)

1280

Tea drinking further loses its high status amongst the emperor and aristocrats, as the emperor of Mongol isn’t a fan of tea. It is still being consumed largely by the masses.

1368-1644 Ming Dynasty

After the Mongolia reign over China falls apart, most tea varieties such as black, green and oolong are widely available and consumed by the Chinese masses.

1422-1502

Gaining popularity in the Japanese, tea reaches a new high after process of drinking is almost depicted in an artful manner. Created by the Zen priest named Murata Shuko, the ceremony is now called Cha-no-yu, literally translated as meaning ‘hot water tea’, celebrating the laidback approach to drinking tea and it being an integral part of one’s lifestyle.

1589

Europeans are introduced to tea when a Venetian author regards tea drinking as the Asians secret to long life.

End of 1500’s

Europeans hear of tea again when Portuguese priests spreading roman Catholicism through china, taste tea and write about it benefits.

1610

The Dutch bring back tea from Japan or China, history is a little fuzzy on that. They start selling it at a high prices, thus resulting in only the aristocrats affording it.

1618

The Czar of Russia Alexis refuses tea, when served of chests of it by the Chinese and is deemed as useless.

1650-1700

Women tea parties gain momentum and become extremely popular, which resulted in the husbands blaming tea for ruining their family dynamics, and the priests calling for a ban.

1650

The Dutch, still keeping up with promoting tea and its traditions, popularize it in New Amsterdam, which in today’s world is referred to New York.

1657

First time tea become part of a beverage menu was at a coffee shop called Garaway’s Coffee House in London, England.

1661

Debate of its harmful properties versus medicial benefits continue, where Dutch doctors sing praises of its curative properties, whereas the German doctors call out its harmful properties.

1662

Charles the second, marries a tea loving bride (Catherine Braganza of Portugal) and makes it so popular and chic in the process that alcohol consumption faces a decline.

1664

The English East Indian Company gifts tea to the King and queen of England. Whilst the British continue taking over New Amsterdam and name it New York and the infamous British tea tradition commences.

1669

The English East Indian Tea Company monopolize British tea imports after convincing the British government to ban Dutch imports of tea.

1680

Tea with milk is spoken about in Madam de Sevigne’s letters. And the Duchess of York introduce tea to Scotland.

1697

Tea consumption reaches Taiwan and it starts importing it to other countries.

Late 1600’s: Tea traders enter Mongolia and Siberia due to a Chinese and Russian Treaty.

18th Century

The over consumption of tea and its high price still prove to be a problem for English and Scottish consumers whereas most scholars still deem it as harmful to health

1702-1714

During the reign of Queen Anne, consumption of tea continues to thrive and had become an important part of their culture.

1705

The import value of tea reaches an all-time high of 800,000 pounds, thus further cementing its popularity and the fact that its enjoyed by the masses.

1706

The world famous tea brand ’Twinning’ is bought to reality by Thomas Twinning, when its served at Tom’s Coffee House in London.

1717

First teashop is born when Tom’s Coffee Shop evolves into Golden Lyon. And both men and women are welcomed to enjoy the beverage.

1723

Taxes are reduced on tea by the British Primes Minister Robert Walpole.

1735

Tea becomes a part of regulated trade, per the Russian Empress’s instructions. To fulfill the increasing demand for tea, and a sixteen month journey is embarked upon when tea traders and three thousand camels travel 11,000 miles to and from China. Russian tea customs take form, which involve adding tea concentrate to hot water, topping it with lemon and drinking it whilst holding a hump of sugar between the teeth.

1765

Tea’s popularity is an all-time high and reaches top status in America.

1773

To protest British taxes on tea, colonists disguised as Native Americans, board East India Company ships, unload hundreds of tea chests into the harbor, and this act is referred to as the Boston Tea Party. Similar tea parties are repeated in Philadelphia, New York, Maine, North Carolina, and Maryland through 1774.

1774

After the rebellious act of the Boston Tea Party, furious British government takes a stand and passes the Coercive Acts. King George the third agrees to the Boston Port Bill, which shuts down the Boston Harbor, until the East India Company is reimbursed for its loss.

1775

After many failed attempts by the British to put an end to the taxation protests, the American revolutions begin.

1778

Before the native tea plants of Assam were discovered, British naturalist, Sir Joseph Banks, was hired by the East India Company, to import Chinese tea seeds, import and cultivate them on their homeland. For 50 years, East India Company is unsuccessful.

1784

In order to put an end to the smuggling of tea in the country, which accounted for a majority of the imports, the British Parliament reduces taxes on tea.

1826

English Quaker John Horniman was the first one to introduce tea to the retail industry, sealed in lead lined packages.

1833

East India Company loses its monopoly in tea trade with China, by an act of the British Prime Minister Charles Grey (second Earl Grey and the namesake of the famous tea).

1835

After many attempts, the East India Company finally starts its first tea plantations in Assam, India.

1838

The first tea from the Indian soil and imported Chinese tea plants are sold. A small quantity, which was sent to England, gains everyone’s approval and is purchased for its uniqueness.

1840s and 50s

The first tea plants, imported from China and India, are grown on trial basis in Sri Lanka (Ceylon).

1840

Anna the Duchess of Bedford, introduces the now famous afternoon tea ritual.

1856

Tea is planted in Darjeeling, India for the first time.

1866

90 percent of tea is still imported from China to Britain.

1869

An accidental plant fungus, which ruined coffee crops in Ceylon and spreads throughout the Orient and the Pacific, giving a major boost to tea drinking.

1870

Twinning’s of England begins to blend tea for uniformity.

1876

While working I the grocery section of a New York department story, Thomas Johnstone Lipton learned plenty of merchandising methods that he implemented to his first Lipton store, that opens in this year.

1890

Thomas Lipto, further goes on to buy tea estates in Ceylon, to sell tea at a reasonable price at his fast growing chain of 300 grocery stores.

1893

Thomas J Lipton Co. takes birth and is established as a tea packing company, with its headquarters easily situated in Hoboken, New Jersey.

1895

Assam Tea plants take over imported Chinese tea plants in India and the market continues to boom.

1904

Englishman Richard Blechynden ends up creating iced tea during a heat wave at the St Louis World Fair.

1904

Green Tea and Formosan tea outsells black tea by 5 times in the US.

1908

Tea bags are invented accidentaly, when New York tea importer Thomas Sullivan unintentionally sends tea to clients in small silk bags and they mistakenly steep the bag as a whole.

1909

Lipton becomes a household name when Thomas Lipton begins blending and packaging his tea in New York.

1910

Sumatra, Indonesia becomes a cultivator and exporter, closely followed by Kenya and parts of Africa.

1998

Revolution Tea is founded based on the idea of bringing premium, full leaf teas to consumers.

1876

While working I the grocery section of a New York department story, Thomas Johnstone Lipton learned plenty of merchandising methods that he implemented to his first Lipton store, that opens in this year.

2000

Revolution Tea introduces the first flow through Infuser tea bags, which essentially capture the flavor and aroma of loose full leaf tea in a convenience of a tea bag.

1876

While working I the grocery section of a New York department story, Thomas Johnstone Lipton learned plenty of merchandising methods that he implemented to his first Lipton store, that opens in this year.

1876

While working I the grocery section of a New York department story, Thomas Johnstone Lipton learned plenty of merchandising methods that he implemented to his first Lipton store, that opens in this year.

  • 1
    2737 B.C

    The second emporer of China, Shen Nung, discovered tea when a few leaves fell into his cup of boiling water, whilst he was resting under a tree. A bit hard to believe right but then most discoveries have been accidental

  • 2
    350 A.D

    A Chinese disctionary ‘ErhYa’ first acknowledged it existence, around this time.

  • 2
    400-600 A.D

    Tea in its early discovery was considered and consumed for medcicinal purposes and the demand for tea because of its medicinal properties increased around this era.

  • 2
    400 A.D

    Tea, now being fondly called as KuangYa in the Chinese dictionary, tea and its famous ceremony is clearly defined for the masses.

  • 2
    479 A.D

    Tea, now slowly gaining popularity, was being demanded on the border of Mongolia by Turkish Traders.

  • 2
    593 A.D

    Japanese priests studying in parts of China, discover tea and the famous tea ceremony and bring it back with them tea seeds to japan.

  • 2
    618-917 Tang Dynasty

    Now having gained immense popularity amongst tea for its taste and medicinal properties.

  • 2
    729 A.D

    Japanese plant gyoki tea plants around various temple gardens. Tea, still being considered an expensive commodity and only reserved for high priests and aristocrats.

  • 2
    780 A.D

    First tax imposed on tea

  • 2
    805 A.D

    Buddhism and Tea devotion went hand in hand at this stage. Japanese Buddhist priests, monks and saints brought tea seeds from China and continued planting around various temples.

  • 2
    960-1280 Sung Dynasty

    Chinese tea drinking continues rising, and becomes more mainstream with sophisticated porcelain tea cups and tea pots become all the rage. And before one knows, along came the temple tea ceremonies.

  • 2
    1101-1125

    Chinese Emporer Hui Tsung becomes tea obsessed and shares his immense love for tea by publishing articles on different tea whisking methods and takes his tea obsession further by hosting lavish tea ceremonies in his court. And as the legend goes, Mongolians took over his empire, whilst he was busy nurturing his tea obsession.

  • 2
    1208-1368 Yuan Dynasty

    During the Mongolian takeover of the Chinese empire, tea becomes a commonly drunk beverage, and never again did it regain its high social status.

  • 2
    2737 B.C

    The second emporer of China, Shen Nung, discovered tea when a few leaves fell into his cup of boiling water, whilst he was resting under a tree. A bit hard to believe right but then most discoveries have been accidental

  • 2
    1211

    First tea book has been written by the Japanese Buddhist abbot Eisai, called KitchaYojoki (Book of Tea Sanitation)

  • 2
    1280

    Tea drinking further loses its high status amongst the emperor and aristocrats, as the emperor of Mongol isn’t a fan of tea. It is still being consumed largely by the masses.

  • 2
    1368-1644 Ming Dynasty

    After the Mongolia reign over China falls apart, most tea varieties such as black, green and oolong are widely available and consumed by the Chinese masses.

  • 2
    1422-1502

    Gaining popularity in the Japanese, tea reaches a new high after process of drinking is almost depicted in an artful manner. Created by the Zen priest named Murata Shuko, the ceremony is now called Cha-no-yu, literally translated as meaning ‘hot water tea’, celebrating the laidback approach to drinking tea and it being an integral part of one’s lifestyle.

  • 2
    1589

    Europeans are introduced to tea when a Venetian author regards tea drinking as the Asians secret to long life.

  • 2
    End of 1500’s

    : Europeans hear of tea again when Portuguese priests spreading roman Catholicism through china, taste tea and write about it benefits.

  • 2
    1610

    The Dutch bring back tea from Japan or China, history is a little fuzzy on that. They start selling it at a high prices, thus resulting in only the aristocrats affording it.

  • 2
    1618

    The Czar of Russia Alexis refuses tea, when served of chests of it by the Chinese and is deemed as useless.

  • 2
    1650-1700

    Women tea parties gain momentum and become extremely popular, which resulted in the husbands blaming tea for ruining their family dynamics, and the priests calling for a ban.

  • 2
    1650

    The Dutch, still keeping up with promoting tea and its traditions, popularize it in New Amsterdam, which in today’s world is referred to New York.

  • 2
    1657

    First time tea become part of a beverage menu was at a coffee shop called Garaway’s Coffee House in London, England.

  • 2
    1661

    Debate of its harmful properties versus medicial benefits continue, where Dutch doctors sing praises of its curative properties, whereas the German doctors call out its harmful properties.

  • 2
    1662

    Charles the second, marries a tea loving bride (Catherine Braganza of Portugal) and makes it so popular and chic in the process that alcohol consumption faces a decline.

  • 2
    1664

    The English East Indian Company gifts tea to the King and queen of England. Whilst the British continue taking over New Amsterdam and name it New York and the infamous British tea tradition commences.

  • 2
    1669

    The English East Indian Tea Company monopolize British tea imports after convincing the British government to ban Dutch imports of tea.

  • 2
    1680

    Tea with milk is spoken about in Madam de Sevigne’s letters. And the Duchess of York introduce tea to Scotland.

  • 2
    1697

    Tea consumption reaches Taiwan and it starts importing it to other countries.

  • 2
    Late 1600’s

    Tea traders enter Mongolia and Siberia due to a Chinese and Russian Treaty.

  • 2
    18th Century

    : The over consumption of tea and its high price still prove to be a problem for English and Scottish consumers whereas most scholars still deem it as harmful to health

  • 2
    1702-1714

    During the reign of Queen Anne, consumption of tea continues to thrive and had become an important part of their culture.

  • 2
    1705

    The import value of tea reaches an all-time high of 800,000 pounds, thus further cementing its popularity and the fact that its enjoyed by the masses.

  • 2
    1706

    The world famous tea brand ’Twinning’ is bought to reality by Thomas Twinning, when its served at Tom’s Coffee House in London.

  • 2
    1717

    First teashop is born when Tom’s Coffee Shop evolves into Golden Lyon. And both men and women are welcomed to enjoy the beverage.

  • 2
    1723

    Taxes are reduced on tea by the British Primes Minister Robert Walpole

  • 2
    1735

    Tea becomes a part of regulated trade, per the Russian Empress’s instructions. To fulfill the increasing demand for tea, and a sixteen month journey is embarked upon when tea traders and three thousand camels travel 11,000 miles to and from China. Russian tea customs take form, which involve adding tea concentrate to hot water, topping it with lemon and drinking it whilst holding a hump of sugar between the teeth.

  • 2
    1765

    Tea’s popularity is an all-time high and reaches top status in America.

  • 2
    1773

    To protest British taxes on tea, colonists disguised as Native Americans, board East India Company ships, unload hundreds of tea chests into the harbor, and this act is referred to as the Boston Tea Party. Similar tea parties are repeated in Philadelphia, New York, Maine, North Carolina, and Maryland through 1774.

  • 2
    1774

    After the rebellious act of the Boston Tea Party, furious British government takes a stand and passes the Coercive Acts. King George the third agrees to the Boston Port Bill, which shuts down the Boston Harbor, until the East India Company is reimbursed for its loss.

  • 2
    1775

    After many failed attempts by the British to put an end to the taxation protests, the American revolutions begin. /p>

  • 2
    1778

    Before the native tea plants of Assam were discovered, British naturalist, Sir Joseph Banks, was hired by the East India Company, to import Chinese tea seeds, import and cultivate them on their homeland. For 50 years, East India Company is unsuccessful.

  • 2
    1784

    In order to put an end to the smuggling of tea in the country, which accounted for a majority of the imports, the British Parliament reduces taxes on tea.

  • 2
    1826

    English Quaker John Horniman was the first one to introduce tea to the retail industry, sealed in lead lined packages.

  • 2
    1833

    The East India Company loses its monopoly in tea trade with China, by an act of the British Prime Minister Charles Grey (second Earl Grey and the namesake of the famous tea).

  • 2
    1835

    : After many attempts, the East India Company finally starts its first tea plantations in Assam, India.

  • 2
    1838

    The first tea from the Indian soil and imported Chinese tea plants are sold. A small quantity, which was sent to England, gains everyone’s approval and is purchased for its uniqueness.

  • 2
    1840s and 50s

    The first tea plants, imported from China and India, are grown on trial basis in Sri Lanka (Ceylon).

  • 2
    1840

    Anna the Duchess of Bedford, introduces the now famous afternoon tea ritual.

  • 2
    1856

    Tea is planted in Darjeeling, India for the first time.

  • 2
    1866

    90 percent of tea is still imported from China to Britain.

  • 2
    1869

    While working I the grocery section of a New York department story, Thomas Johnstone Lipton learned plenty of merchandising methods that he implemented to his first Lipton store, that opens in this year.

  • 2
    1890

    Thomas Lipto, further goes on to buy tea estates in Ceylon, to sell tea at a reasonable price at his fast growing chain of 300 grocery stores.

  • 2
    1893

    Thomas J Lipton Co. takes birth and is established as a tea packing company, with its headquarters easily situated in Hoboken, New Jersey.

  • 2
    1895

    Assam Tea plants take over imported Chinese tea plants in India and the market continues to boom.

  • 2
    1904

    Englishman Richard Blechynden ends up creating iced tea during a heat wave at the St Louis World Fair.

  • 2
    1904

    Green Tea and Formosan tea outsells black tea by 5 times in the US.

  • 2
    1908

    Tea bags are invented accidentaly, when New York tea importer Thomas Sullivan unintentionally sends tea to clients in small silk bags and they mistakenly steep the bag as a whole.

  • 2
    1909

    Lipton becomes a household name when Thomas Lipton begins blending and packaging his tea in New York.

  • 2
    1910

    Sumatra, Indonesia becomes a cultivator and exporter, closely followed by Kenya and parts of Africa.

  • 2
    1998

    Revolution Tea is founded based on the idea of bringing premium, full leaf teas to consumers.

  • 2
    2000

    Revolution Tea introduces the first flow through Infuser tea bags, which essentially capture the flavor and aroma of loose full leaf tea in a convenience of a tea bag.