MORE ON THE HISTORY OF TEA…

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During the years of 648-749 the Japanese monk Gyoki planted the first tea bushes in 49 Buddhist temple gardens.

Tea in Japan during that time was rare and expensive, enjoyed mostly by high priests and the aristocracy.

In 725 the Chinese give tea give its own character ch’a, and in 729 the Japanese emperor’s served powdered tea (named hiki-cha from the Chinese character) to Buddhist priests.

By 780 the first tea tax was imposed in China and the Chinese poet-scholar Lu Yu wrote the first book of tea titled Ch’a Ching (The Classic of Tea) in timely alignment with the Taoist beliefs. The book covers detailed ancient Chinese tea cultivation and preparation techniques.

In 805 Buddhism and tea devotion spread further and the Japanese Buddhist saint and priest Saicho and monk Kobo Daishi brought tea seeds and cultivation and manufacturing tips back from China to plant in the gardens of the Japanese temples.

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