Where did tea originate? Scholars of many tea-producing countries have argued that there are tea trees as old as a thousand years in age. With the discovery of a 2700-year-old puerh tea tree in Qianjiazhai, Tianyuan, Yunan, China has proved that tea trees did in fact originated in China. This ancient tea tree of 2700 years old has been considered the king of tea trees and has been put into the Guinness Book of Records.http://www.colortea.com/tea/proinfo.asp?ID=572 http://z.hubpages.com/u/99126_f520.jpg
Lu Yu, the Sage of Tea
Lu Yu: In many ancient societies, historical figures often became Gods or Saints over time. Such has happened to Lu Yu (733 - 804), often called The Saint of Tea. He was not only a very nice man, but wrote the first known book entirely on tea, it's benefits on culture and the individual called The Classic of Tea.
Shennong: (Shen Nung, Shen Nong, Sheng Nong, Sheng Nung, Shen Nong Shi and probably quite a lot of other names) All Chinese Emperors became Either Dragon Gods or Gods, including this innovative fellow who had quite a green thumb. He is thought to have live in China around 2800 BCE. This nickname was "The Ploughman King". He was most likely the mythical Emperor who had some stray green tea leaves blow from the heavens into his usual cup of hot water which he liked to drink. (Hot water was often drunk because any bad bacteria were boiled away). He then taught tea brewing to his subjects. He is now thought to have graduated from Chinese Emperor to God of all Plants, including tea. He shares a lot of similarities to Mars, the Roman God of war, agriculture and Mars Bars (maybe).
Buddha: The tea falling into hot water legend is also attributed to Buddha (who, technically is not a God, but I'm not quibbling). There is a slightly more gruesome tea legend, also attributed to the founder of Zen Buddhism, Bodhiharma. The legend goes that the Big B kept falling asleep during meditation. To stop himself from doing that again, he cut his eyelids off. The fallen eyelids turned into tea bushes. Perhaps that's where we get the word "bud"?
Unlike the Gods, who usually were celebrated for making the tea bush, the Goddesses of Tea were more celebrated for their ability to heat water. If you think heating water is nothing special, stick tea leaves in cold water and see how long it takes to brew.
Kuan Yin (Quan Yin): This is the beloved Goddess of Mercy who still has a strong following today. She is thought to have been based on a real woman. She is legendary for rescuing lost travelers in distress. There is another legend that says she only consented to become a Goddess if She was still allowed to go back to Earth to help people. Black tea and oolong tea is associated with Her, as it is both nourishing and comforting.
Huchi-Fuchi (Unchi-Ahchi): ("Grandmother Hearth") My apologies if my spelling is off. Japanese Goddess of the stove and thus the Goddess that heats the tea. The intricate Japanese Tea Ceremony is in part to honor Her. Another one of Her jobs is to intercede with the Gods on behalf of mortals. The hearth is considered the heart of a home, the vital element that keeps life flowing. Hearth goddesses are found all over the world, and they all wouldn't mind being asked for tea every now and then. Other hearth Goddesses include the German Heartha (where we get the word "hearth" from), Hestia (Greek Goddess very high in the pantheon) and Vesta (of Virgin fame - basically the Roman name for Hestia)http://voc-kenniscentrum.nl/images/prod-koffie.jpg
Coffee tree (O. Dapper, Beschrijving van AsiŽ, Amsterdam 1680, p. 62)(source)
It is unknown when coffee was first discovered and when the first cup of real coffee was drunk. Many different legends exist, but there are no definite written sources or other proof that coffee was used before the early Middle Ages. Homer and some Arab legends tell the story of a mysterious black and bitter beverage with powers of stimulation, but it is not sure whether this really is coffee... Coffee most likely originated from what is now Ethiopia and may have spread North to Egypt and ancient Greek, or East to the Arab peninsula.
There are a number of different legends as to the origin of coffee and how it was discovered.
The most common is the legend of Kaldi the goatherd or shepherd who, in around 600-800 AD, was tending to his animals on the mountainside one night in Eastern Africa, most likely modern day Ethiopia, when he noticed that they were acting strangely. On investigating this he realised that they had been eating the cherry-red berries of a nearby shrub. As a result of this they remained awake, jumping and leaping around the whole night - even the older goats. Curious, the goat herder picked some and tasted them himself. He found that they invigorated him and made him more wide awake.
It was about this time that a monk from a nearby monastery was passing. The shepherd told him about the goats and he demanded to be shown this plant. Kaldi showed the monk a pretty little shrub with a greyish bark and brilliant foliage, the slender branches of which, at the base of their leaves, had bunches of small white flowers mingles with clusters of small berries, some green, riper ones a clear yellow colour and yet others, which had reached complete maturity, of the size, shape and colour of a cherry.
The monk, wishing to try the effects of these berries, crushed a few into a powder and poured boiling water over them to make a drink. This was the first cup of coffee - it was not until much later, however, that coffee was first roasted. Impressed with the results of the drink in making him wider awake and yet not affecting his intellectual capabilities, the monk took the new discovery back to his monastery realising that it would help him and his fellow monks stay awake during their long hours of prayer. Coffee soon spread from monastery to monastery and, therefore, became in much demand, and regarded to be a divine gift brought by an angel from heaven to the faithful.
This legend probably is of European origin, as there is no similar story in the Arab coffee tradition or legends. The oldest written source of this story dates from 1671, written by Antoine Faustus Nairon, a professor in Eastern languages in Rome. Already in 1699 the story was criticised by the French scholar Antoine Galland.
In the Arab literature many different legends on the origin of coffee exist. The most common is that the Archangel Gabriel offered Mohammed some coffee to give him more strength and endurance.
Another famous Arab legend tells of Sheik Omar who, around 1258, was banned from the city of Mocha . During their travels they collected some berries and boiled them in water. The brew gave them suddenly much strength and the story of the miracle berries spread to the leper colony in Mocha. The coffee cured the lepers, and Sheik Omar returned a hero to Mocha.
Who and where coffee was discovered still is unknown, the fact remains that the coffee plant originates in Africa, from which it spread to Yemen, Arabia and Egypt, where it developed enormously, and entered popular daily life. Wild coffee can still be found in Ethiopia today. The great port of Yemen, Mocha (now Al Mukha), became the centre of the coffee trade; it's name now synonymous with coffee. Coffee was already being cultivated in Yemen by the 15th century and probably much earlier than that.
Initially, the authorities in Yemen actively encouraged coffee drinking as it was considered preferable to the extreme side effects of Kat, a shrub whose buds and leaves were chewed as a stimulant. The first coffeehouses were opened in Mecca and were called 'kaveh kanes'. They quickly spread throughout the Arab world and became successful places where chess was played, gossip was exchanged, and singing, dancing and music were enjoyed. They were luxuriously decorated and each had an individual character. Nothing quite like the coffeehouse had existed before: a place where society and business could be conducted in comfortable surroundings and where anyone could go, for the price of coffee.
The Arabian coffeehouses soon became centres of political activity and were suppressed (the first time in 1511 in Mecca). Coffee and coffeehouses were subsequently banned several times over the next few decades, but they kept reappearing. Eventually a solution was found when coffeehouses and coffee were taxed.
The Arabs brewed their coffee by boiling the whole berry for a long time in water. The resulting drink was named Ďqishr', which was the name of the sweet outer layer of the berry. Coffee beans were probably first roasted in the early 16th century in Turkey. During the 16th century both coffee drinks co-existed, as was noted by the Italian botanist Prosper Alpinus during his travels in Egypt in 1592.
In the late 16th century the black coffee had spread all over the Arab world and was by far the most popular drink. http://www.food-info.net/uk/products/coffee/hist.htmhttp://images.google.ca/images?gbv=2&hl=...G=Search+Images