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History Of Tea
Birth Place of Tea

Thus wrote William H. Ukers in 1935 :

Tea had its genesis in China. There is ample corroboration of this view as far as the creation of the industry and the adoption of tea as a beverage are concerned. Speaking from a botanical point of view, however, the subject presents other aspects, and for many years controversies raged among scientific men and scholars as to whether the tea plant originated in China or in India. Plants of the China variety had been painstakingly carried to India for a long time after the native assamica was found there in 1823, and there are ancient stories of how tea came to China from India. Indeed, there are today those who believe the Chinese must have obtained the plant for cultivation from a source outside of China. Samuel Baildon, who wrote extensively on the tea industry of India in the seventies, was an active proponent of the idea that tea was indigenous only to India; his theory being that the plant was introduced into China and Japan from India some twelve hundred years ago. He argued there was but one species of tea – the Indian – and that the inferior growth and smaller leaves of the China tea were the result of the transportation of the plant far from home into an uncongenial climate and into unfavourable conditions of soil and treatment.

Dr. C.P. Cohen Stuart, former botanist of the Thee Proefstation of Buitenzorg, Java, in his scholarly essay on the origin of tea, makes an exhaustive examination into the literature dealing with the wild tea plant found on the borderlands of China – the mysterious Tibetan mountain walls and the scarcely explored jungles of southern Yunnan and Upper Indo-China. In this region, according to Dr. Cohen Stuart, we must expect the solution, if one is obtainable, of the primary problem in tea history – the origin of the tea plant. The French colonies in India also furnish evidence of supplying important clues as to the origin of tea. Dr. Cohen Stuart declares that it is not anticipating too much to suspect that here, close to the heart of Mother Nature’s first tea garden, lies hidden the answer to this age-old enigma.
 

28 Apr, 2011




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