U Win Sein


One of the earliest accounts of tea drinking is dated back to China’s Shang dynasty, in which tea was consumed as a medicinal drink. An early credible record of tea drinking dated back to 3rd century AD in a medical text written by Chinese physician Hua Tho.
The history of tea spreads across multiple culture over the span of thousands of years. With the tea plant “Camellia sinensis”, native of southwestern China and northern Myanmar. From which we came across one of the earliest accounts of tea drinking dated back to China Shang dynasty in which tea was consumed as a medicinal plant drink. It first became known to the Western world through the Portuguese priests and merchants in China during the 16th century. Drinking tea became popular in Britain during the 17th century. The British introduced commercial tea production to British India was for the reason in order to compete with the Chinese monopoly on tea. Another source said, that tea drinking has become a custom for the British people, because they have cultivated a tradition of having tea-break, in the mid of their business meeting. They may continue the second- or third-time tea-breaks, together with biscuits for every tea-break for most of the British business men. These traits of habit originated specially around the intersection of latitude 29-degree North and longitude 98-degree East, where the point of confluence of the land in Southwest China, Tibet, North Myanmar, and Northeast India met. The plant of tea – Camellia sinensis – was widely introduced to more than 52 countries from this centre of origin.
On the morphological difference between the Assam and Chinese varieties, botanists have long asserted a dual botanical origin of tea; however, from the statistical cluster analysis, all appear to demonstrate a single place of origin for Camellia sinensis – the area including the Yunnan and Sichuan province of China and northern part of Myanmar. Yunnan province has also been identified as “the birth place of tea “— the first area where human beings figured out that eating tea leaves or brewing a cup of tea for drinking could be pleasant that was started in Fenggang County in Lancang City prefecture of Yunnan Province in China. It is said to be home to the world’s oldest cultivated tea tree, some 3,200 years old.
According to the story of tea, it’s drinking habit was likely began in Yunnan province during the Shang dynasty, (1500 BC-1046 BC) as a medicinal drink. From there, the drink spread to Sichuan and it is believed that there for the first time, people began to take boiled tea leaves consumption and drink concentrated liquid without the addition of other leaves or herbs, thereby changing to put McGhee using tea as a bitter yet stimulating drink, rather than as medicinal concoction.
The Chinese have consumed tea for thousands of years. The earliest physical evidence known to date, found in 2,016, came from the mausoleum of Emperor Jing of Han in Xian, indicated that tea was drunk by Han dynasty emperors as early as the 2nd century BC. the samples were identified as tea from the genuine Camellia sinensis particularly via mass spectrometry and written records suggest that it may have been drunk earlier. People of the Han dynasty used tea as medicine (thought to be the first used as a stimulant is known)
China considered to have the earliest records of tea consumption with possible record dated back to 10th century BC. Note however that the current word for tea in Chinese only came into use in the 8th century, therefor uncertainties as to whether the older words used as the same for tea. The word “Cha “appeared in Shining and other ancient texts to signify a kind of “ bitter vegetable” and it is possible that it referred to several different plants, such as sow thistle, chicory or smart tweed, including tea in the chronicle of Huayang, it had recorded that the Ba people in Sichuan presented “Cha” to the Zhou king. The state of Ba and its neighbours Shu were later conquered by Qin, and according to the 17th century scholar Gu Yanwu who wrote in Ri Zhi Lu, it was after the Qin had taken Shu that they learned how to drink tea.
During the Suj dynasty in China, tea was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks, tea usage spread during the 6th century AD. Tea became a drink of the religious classes in Japan.
In 1557, Portugal established a trading port in Macau and the Chinese drink “Cha” spread quickly, but there was no mention of them bringing any samples home. In the early 17th century, a ship of the Dutch East India Company bright the first green tea leaves to Amsterdam from Chinese tea was known in France by 1636.
n one popular Chinese legend, Emperor Shennong was holding a bowl of just boiled water offered from some of his subjects. suddenly a few leaves were blown from a nearby tree into the water, which changing the colour and taste. The emperor took a sip of the brew and was pleasantly surprised by its flavour and restorative properties.
Tea and Myanmar share a rich history, it is believed that Myanmar’s first tea was cultivated on the Shan Plateau, six thousand feet above sea level during the Bagan Era.
One of the earliest stories heard in Yangon was tea originated from Myanmar. The tale goes that the original tea tree still grows today in the northern hills of the Shan State.
Admittedly this yarn was weaved to us by a mysterious Australian over a few too many whiskers in downtown Yangon. By the end of the evening, he had put a plan in place to heading north and find the lost tea. However sadly he slipped off into the night and never to be seen again, who knows maybe one day we may come across him searching in the hills of northern Myanmar.
Alaung Sithu (AD 1113-1167) while on a royal tour to Namshan, a small provincial town in northern Shan State, has given a handful of tea seed to the local Palaung people. Due to their favourable climate condition, the tea thrived. Today, tea bushes continue to thrive in the Namhsan and the surrounding regions.
The production rate of tea is 350-500 visses per acre. Viss is the Myanmar unit of mass equivalent to 1.6 kilogrammes. This translates to approximately 560-800 kg per acre. Tea is harvested from April through to November but the best quality leaves are those collected between late March and mid-April.


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