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2016-05-24

THE LEGEND

There is a legend behind every one of man’s most ancient traditions and customs.

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The story of tea is one of the most poetic. It owes its origins to just one man, but not just any man. He was an emperor and something of a demi-god. In 2737 BC (because all legends that are true have a precise date), Sheennong, the last of the Three Sovereigns who reigned even before the three dynasties began, discovered tea and made its benefits known to all of China. Sheenong invented agriculture, developing wheat and rice amongst other things, and, worried for the health of his subjects, instructed them to drink only boiled water. It was whilst following his own advice one very hot day that, having taken to the shade of a tree to write poetry, the emperor saw a light breeze shake three leaves from its branches, which landed gently in his simmering water. The drink quickly changed colour and, intrigued, Shennong tasted the concoction, only to discover that it was more delicious than anything he had ever tasted before. And so tea was born. That warm sunshine, the wind and poetry should be associated with the origins of tea is no surprise: this most refined of beverages remains, in this day and age, a synonym of comfort and dreams…

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