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Tea in China: The history of China's national drink

Author(s): Evans JC

Abstract

Tea is one of the world’s most popular beverages, and the birthplace of tea is China. Until the 1830s, China was the only producer of tea, and today it remains the world’s greatest producer and consumer. Tea in China is a history of China’s national drink, where it came from, how it was drunk, and the place it has occupied in Chinese society from prehistory to the present.

Prehistoric use of tea by Peking Man and Laotian Man are discussed, as are the changing teas favored by the various dynasties. The role of tea in the spread of religions is reviewed, as is the impact of Chinese teas on societies as varied as the Japanese and Europeans. All aspects of tea and its socio-economic place in Chinese life are examined in detail. Tea in China will be of considerable use to scholars of Chinese history and culture and to those concerned with the folkways of food and drink.

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