It is universally acknowledged that China is the original tea-growing area, as well as the first country to grow, produce and drink tea. Then when did China find and start to use tea? According to the Holy farmer's Herbal Classic, 2700 years ago, the Holy farmer tasted various herbs he picked, and often got poisoned. Later, he found a plant tea, which could detoxify him, This story shows that people in ancient times treated tea only as a medicinal herb. It took quite a long time for tea to be used as a drink rather than a herb, Wan Bao mentioned in his " A Contract with a Child Servant," which was written in 59 B.C., that the child servant should boil tea for his master and to to Wuyang (east of Pengxian County, Sichuan Province, then a famous tea market ) to buy tea. This evidence reveals that tea, as a drink, started not later than the Western Han Period. In the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280), King of the Dongwu State Sun Hao(242-283) ordered his ministers to drink liquor and gained pleasure from their drunkenness each time he entertained them. Minister Wei Yao could not drink, so Sun Han gave him tea secretly and let him drink tea instead of liquor. From then on, treating guests to tea became gradually popular among scholars.
In the Northern and Southern Dynastiies(420-589), Buddhism became popular and monks refreshed themselves with tea when sitting in meditation and chanting scriptures. Drinking tea became widespread in big and small temples, where tea trees ware grown and tea drinking was studied. This was called the integration of tea and Buddhism.
In the Tang Dynasty (618-907), tea drinking achieved even greater popularity. Since tea could stimulate their thing, scholars took delight in it and wrote poems and painted pictures using it as the theme. At that time, tea trees grew in Sichuan , Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi and Fujian Provinces and many other places, and the trade volume of tea rapidly increased. Tang poet Bai Juyi wrote, " The businessman stressed profits and belittled the affection for his wife.
The month before last he went to Fuliang to buy tea." Fuliang (today's Jing DeZhen, Jiangxi province) was then a distribution center of tea. Te businessman gained profit by transporting tea for sale and often rashly took leave of his wife for business. During this period, Lu Yu (733-8-4) summed up this predecessors' experience of tea and wrote the Book Tea, the first book about tea in the world. In the book, he systematically related the origin of tea, it nature, history and growing area, as well as describing tools. for picking tea, processes of producing tea, methods of drinking tea and drinking vessels. Later, he was called the "Saint of Tea."
In the Song (950-1279) and Yuan (13271=13568) dynasties a popular custom was tea appraising . To win the appraisal, the tea owner had to have top=quality tea, which was the most important factor, high-quality water, and tea sets of exquisite appearance and nice colors to fully set off the color of the tea. Over the ling history of drinking tea, a special and simple Chinese tea cultures came into being. Dinking tea was not only for quenching thirst or for enjoyment, but also for the promotion of friendship and mutual understanding. In addition, tea inspired many kinds of cultural activity. Fro examples, the tea-related poems and paintings, left by scholars, as well as the songs, dances and local operas about tea, show the close relationship between tea and spiritual experience. Folk customs of drinking tea reflected the ancient Chinese people's great interest in tea culture. The most typical examples was the teahouses dotting the streets and lanes of Chinese towns. Peoples from high officials and noble lords to commoners liked to gather at teahouses. Businessman exchanged information about business, fellow-villagers gathered to extend greeting, and scholars exchanged ideas while during tea