A Cup of Tea
Tea is a plant of Chinese origin which gave rise to the most widely consumed beverage in the world, from the far East to Latin America. It was first consumed by human beings nearly 5,000 years ago.
Descriptions of the history of tea found on the Internet cite the legend of Chinese Emperor Shen Nung, an herbalist who discovered tea by chance one day as he sat under a wild tea tree, leaves from the tree fell into a pot of boiling water, and he decided to try the brew.
China is considered the birthplace origin of tea or "cha", which was spread throughout Asia, and later the world, by merchants and monks.
According to a website that provides answers to frequently asked questions about tea, there are 3,000 varieties today, although true tea is always brewed from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, the scientific name for the plant.
There are three basic types of tea, depending on the degree of fermentation of the leaves: green, black and oolong. Most of the tea consumed in the West is black.
Many varieties of tea are known by their place of origin, and tea-lovers are familiar with their specific flavors, aromas and characteristics.
The widespread consumption of tea has led to the cultivation of the plants across the world. More than 35 nations in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Oceania are listed as tea producers on a website that reports their share of the competitive global market, which has given rise to institutions like the tea council that links a number of the main exporters.