China is known as the birthplace of tea, with legends of its discovery dating back five-thousand years. One legend has it that the Emperor Shen Nong discovered tea in 2737 BC while boiling water in the shade of a tree. A light breeze caused a few leaves to fall into his boiled water. A delicate and perfumed liquor was produced. The legend says that when the Emperor tasted it, he found it to be delicious. The tree that had given him this gift was a wild tea plant—tea was born.
Other tea producing nations and regions in the world include Sri Lanka, South Asia, South East Asia, particularly Indonesia, Japan, the former Soviet Union, Turkey and Iran. Nine other countries in Africa including Tanzania, Malawi and Zaire are important producers, plus a growing market in Argentina. Many nations are expanding their tea producing acreage to meet the rising world demand for this most popular and satisfying beverage.