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Tea was discovered in China’s Yunnan Province sometime before 1000 B.C., but the story of its origin is shrouded in mystery – one legend claims that the Emperor of China in 2737 B.C., Shen Nong, was boiling water for drinking when tea plant leaves fell into the pot by chance. Rumors, stories, and legends abound, but the beverage most likely originated in China – and it was used primarily for medicinal reasons. It wasn’t until 618 A.D. that tea became popular across the country, and afterwards it spread first to Japan, and then to other countries.
Today, tea is a key facet of many cultures around the world. In parts of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, 75 to 100 percent of people prefer tea to coffee. In Russia, people drink about three times as much tea as they do coffee, while in the United States, the ratio is almost exactly reversed. 5.03 million metric tons of tea were produced globally in 2014 alone, and tea is still an important tradition around the time of the Chinese New Year and in many other ceremonies around the world.
Check out the infographic to discover the different dos and don’ts for traditional tea in countries across the globe. No matter the variations, tea is the common thread that brings people together in all of the following cultures.