Depending on which version of history you are reading, the colonists are responsible for bringing tea to the US. One colonist in particular, Peter Stuyvesant, is given credit for bringing the first tea to the Dutch settlement in 1650. This would later be renamed New York. The early settlers were confirmed tea drinkers. When England acquired the colony they discovered that the small settlement consumed more tea than all of England. What an enterprising opportunity for some up and coming entrepreneur! It was not until the 1670's that tea became known to the other English colonists in Boston. Add another 20 years and it finally became available for public sale! Tea gardens opened in New York City centered around natural springs. The most famous of these "tea springs" was at Roosevelt and Chatham (later Park Row Street). I bet the "tea springs" were beautiful. They are a perfect example of a city helping with its trade. The city leaders installed pumps in the springs to help with the "tea craze".


Tea made its way to Europe in the 1600's. It was introduced to England in 1669. At that time tea was very expensive. A pound of tea cost and average British laborer the equivalent of nine month in wages. So the drink was enjoyed mostly by the aristocracy. The British began to import tea in large quantities to satisfy the rapidly expanding market. Tea became the most important trade item from China. As the tea trade increased it became less of a luxury item and all classes were able to drink tea. From here it grew in popularity.



Containers of tea have been found in tombs dating from the Han dynasty (206 BC- 220 AD). It was under the Tang dynasty (618 - 906 AD), that tea became firm;y established as the national drink of China. It became such a favorite that during the late eighth century a writer called Lu Yu wrote the first book entirely about tea, Ch'a Ching, or Tea Classic. It was shortly after this that tea was first introduced to Japan, by Japanese Buddhist monks who had traveled to China to study. Tea drinking has also become a vital part of Japanese culture. Next, tea makes it way to Europe.

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