When composing and/or speaking about tea in Burma, or any other nation for that matter, it is inescapable to leave on the trip right into the world of tea in China – in south-west China to be precise – for that is as I will certainly discuss in the following certainly from where tea is originally coming from.
The conversation on whether the background of Burmese tea as well as the alcohol consumption of tea in Burma have actually originated in China has possibly much more to do with at the very least some Bamars’/ Burmans’ unwillingness to confess that the origin of tea is China and that the alcohol consumption of tea was taken on by them later on from the Shan, than with tea, tea alcohol consumption and also tea culture itself. The facts are that tea both as plant as well as beverage was uncovered and had ended up being fundamental part of Chinese as well as later Shan culture already at a time when no Bamar/Burman had ever before established foot into what is nowadays Burma (because 1989 additionally called Myanmar).
Simply put the first kingdom of the Bamar the ‘kingdom of Pagan’ (that was in fact started by the Pyu, and also while we are at it, Anawrahta, the 42nd king of Pagan that is by the Bamar/Burman considered the creator of the 1st Burman kingdom was a Pyu, not a Bamar/Burman) did at that time not exist what is currently the guaranteed solution to the concern of the origin of tea, tea drinking as well as tea society in Burma; Burma or any type of precursor of it just really did not exist in or throughout the period concerned, period. But why are there still individuals (not so many of them, though) who despite all facts as well as reasoning claim that Burmese tea, tea drinking and tea culture are not come from China? Short answer: Since the location that was in pre-Bamar time occupied by the Shan is now laying partially within the far north eastern of Burma. However, that these locations are nowadays located within Burma’s limits does not always imply that the exact area in which Camellia sinensis was at first discovered and from where it after that spread to India, through all of south-east Asia and, finally, throughout the world lies within north-east Burma. It is feasible but it is also feasible that Camellia sinensis – converted from Latin right into English the name means ‘Tea blossom’ (camellia) ‘from China’ (sinensis) – has at a later point prolonged into the area now covered by the north-eastern part of Burma.
The book of tea is a publication with several pages as well as phases starting shrouded in the haze of myth as well as tale some time back in 3000 BC. There is even the concrete date 2725 BC mentioned what is connecting the (unintended) exploration as well as the later drinking of tea to the Chinese emperor Shen Nung concerning that I will certainly tell you a lot more feshop a bit later on. No person actually recognizes when it was that the drinking of tea (what at that time was always environment-friendly tea due to the fact that it was unfermented likewise called unoxidised) started to enter into Chinese society. That is why it can not be within the extent of this write-up to (as interesting as this might be) deal with associated myths, legends and also folklore in order to disclose tea history’s key of when and also where this was and exactly how it took place. The response to this inquiry will never be located anyway what suggests that it will for always stay hidden behind the curtain of tale. For that reason we have to find facts in the form of created records as well as historical discovers that will certainly give us tea relevant information we are searching for. And as far as that is concerned we do not need to look for long.
We are given the initial dependable information in a Chinese encyclopaedia that was started to be put together and also created throughout the Han Dynasty at some point around 325 BC as well as additional broadened from then on: its name is Erya likewise led to Erh-ya. The writer of the Erya is unknown yet it is amongst scholars approved that this have been adherents of Confucius. Below we discover records allowing us understand that tea was currently recognized and also drunken at the very least at the beginning of the Zhou Dynasty in 1046 BC, probably previously. Nevertheless, it is not specified whether it was tea brewed from camellia sinensis leaves and drunken for satisfaction or some herbal possibly not extremely scrumptious tea inebriated for medical objectives only.
From later documents we know that brewing as well as drinking tea was currently part of the Chinese people’s everyday life at the beginning of the Han Empire in 206 B.C. and even earlier. That the drinking of tea has so fairly fast penetrated the Chinese culture would certainly not have been feasible without Buddhist monks. It was the Buddhist monk orders that have not only spread the drinking of tea among the populace however that had additionally taken over the growing and also processing of tea. Right after tea as drink had been introduced throughout the Han Empire, Buddhism was associated with tea. The Buddhist monks have actually really early identified that tea was an affordable and revitalizing drink with taste and also fragrance that maintained them awake.
From the by Lu Yu during the Tang Dynasty written and also at about 760 advertisement released book ‘The Standard of Tea’ (Cha Jing in Chinese) we can take that eco-friendly tea was known as well as drunken throughout every one of China for enjoyment from 618 ADVERTISEMENT, or earlier on. For Lu Yu tea was the symbol of consistency and also strange unity of the Universe where we can see exactly how very he thought of tea.
A mind-blowing discovery would (at the time of this writing in 2016) 1255 years later on prove Lu Yun wrong in until now as environment-friendly tea was already a prominent drink in south and west China earlier than 141 BC. The a.m. mind-blowing exploration was that it was shown that leaves located in the burial place of the sixth Emperor of the western Han Dynasty, Emperor Jin of Han (Liu Qi), where real (Camellia sinensis) tea leaves that were given him in addition to hundreds of clay soldiers and also many other points as serious helpful for the journey right into his afterlife. To prevent complication, the emperor’s burial place was already discovered in the 1990s throughout road building and construction job, which in itself (not the roadway construction but the exploration of the Emperor’s burial place) was a world feeling. Nonetheless, with respect to the contents of this write-up the finding of the tea leaves was even more mind-blowing due to the fact that these tea leaves are the most ancient as well as finest tea leaves ever discovered what has earned them an entry in the Guinness Book of Globe Records as ‘The world’s earliest tea leaves’.
Similar to so many various other points the beginning of drinking tea is soaked in tale. There are different tales regarding how the initial phase of the book of tea starts as well as having read them I have actually concerned the verdict that 99.99 percent of them belong into the world of tales. Among the most popular Chinese tales is the with terrific satisfaction repeatedly informed legend concerning an emperor’s pot of hot water that happened to be placed exactly under a tea tree where tea leaves were sure to go down into the pot. Normally, oh wonder (exactly how can it be any type of various) tea leaves fell into the pot with boiling water whereupon the emperor got of inquisitiveness a sip of the formerly unidentified now slightly yellowish-brown coloured water. He was, as the tale goes, so thrilled about the fragrance as well as taste that from then on he made tea his favourite beverage as well as the drinking of tea entered into Chinese society. The emperor in this legend is the mythological emperor Shen Nung likewise led to Shannong, Shen Nong who is by the Chinese venerated as the ‘Divine Farmer’ and the ‘Daddy of Chinese Herbal Medication’. He was what is nowadays called ‘pharmacologist’, and it is thought that he has ‘lived’ 140 years, from 2838 BC to 2698 BC. This is no doubt all pure legend yet its origin may be seen versus the backdrop of the fact that Shen Nung was herbalist and that tea was at the beginning made use of as natural medication in both strong (as vegetable or salad) and/or fluid type (as tea).
What is tea and where is it stemmed? Quickly placed, tea is a drink typically comprising of water and also natural (uncured) and cured tea leaves of the species camellia sinensis. This is, as formerly claimed, an evergreen shrub native to Asia that can when it remains untouched expand in the wilderness into a tree with a height of some 55 ft/ 17 m. Incidentally, why do we call tea, tea? Let me briefly describe where the name ‘tea’ originated and from where it spread around the globe. The name ‘tea’ has its beginning in China where 2 names are made use of for the same beverage. It is called ‘Cha’ in Mandarin dialect and also ‘Tay’ in Xiamenese language. In 1644 the British established a trading post in Xiamen as well as anglicised the Xiamenese ‘tay’ what, subsequently, ended up being ‘tea’ a name that in the following time quickly spread via as well as was approved by the English speaking world.
Where exactly is Camellia sinensis originated? As astonishing as it sounds as well as whatever we could consider it, substantial and thorough research study has resulted in the result that this tea plant – the Camellia sinensis – was not a plant that had or could have evolved and also expanded individually in numerous parts of the globe but amazingly enough only within a fairly little location situated in and confined to an area that does consist of parts of what is nowadays the Shan state (as north and also north-eastern part of the at that time not existing Burma) and also the Chinese provinces Yunnan and also Sichuan.
However whether ‘Burmese’ tea has its beginning in China (what it has) or otherwise, or whether the alcohol consumption of tea entered into the Burman’s culture only after it was introduced to them by the Shan (what it was) or whether the well-known ‘Burmese milk tea is in fact Indian tea introduced by the Indian – and also NOT British – people throughout British colonial times (what it was and is) does actually not matter much – if anything – because the truth continues to be that ‘tea’ has over time (trough all the Bamar/Burman kingdoms, the British colonial times and the past-independence time) became an important part of the so-called ‘Burmese beverage and also food society’ what it continues to be to be to now as well as will constantly be wherewith I have now ‘beamed’ us from the ancient past into today.
Prior to our arrival at one of the many Burmese tea shops in Yangon – serious, they are actually at every edge, what is true for every single place with more than two residences in all of Burma – to enjoy a mug or 2 of the famous ‘Burmese Milk Tea’ as well as one of the scrumptious Burmese tea leave salads called ‘Lahpet Thoke’ at the end of this post allow us start at the start, by briefly answering concerns such as, where tea is growing within the boundaries of present-day Burma, what type of tea it is, just how it is refined after being plugged, of what top quality Burmese tea is contrasted to the qualities of e.g. China, India as well as various other Asian countries, and more.