Tea Timeline

  • The earliest known physical evidence of tea from the Camellia plant was discovered in the mausoleum of a Han Dynasty emperor as early as the 2nd C BCE.
  • Tea, “chá” was first introduced to Europeans by Portuguese priests & merchants in China during the 16th C. The first recorded shipment of tea to a European nation was in 1609 by the Dutch East India Co.
  • Tea became a fashionable drink  in the Netherlands, and the Dutch introduced the drink to Germany, France and across the Atlantic to New Amsterdam (New York).
  • Tea was sold in a coffee house in London in 1657 & Samuel Pepys  tasted tea in 1660. Catherine of Braganza  took the tea-drinking habit to the British court when she married Charles II in 1662.
  • Tea was not widely consumed in Britain until the 18th C. British drinkers preferred black tea with sugar & milk, and black tea overtook green tea in popularity in the 1720s.
  • In 1689 Russia established trade relations with China and tea was bought in exchange for fur and transported across Siberia to Moscow. Around 20,000 chests a year by 1850.
  • After the Boston Tea Party of 1773, large numbers of Americans switched to drinking coffee during the American Revolution because drinking tea had become unpatriotic.