When did Chinese people begin to discover and use tea? This may be a question that every Chinese tea man will encounter and need to answer.
The earliest text message about the discovery and utilization of tea was: “Shennong tasted all kinds of herbs and encountered 72 poisons every day. He got tea and solved it.” The Shennong era was a matriarchal clan society which only knew its mother and did not know its father.
Officially appeared in the text is about 200 BC, Qin and Han Dynasty calligraphy “Erya”, in which tea is called “槚”. Chang Chen of the Eastern Jin Dynasty mentioned tea many times in the annals of Huayang kingdom. It is recorded that in 1066 B.C., more than 3000 years ago, when King Wu of Zhou led the eight southern powers to invade King Zhou, people in Bashu began to cultivate tea and use tea as tribute. At that time, Leshan and Pengshan were already famous tea producing areas.
Tea cultivation began more than 3000 years ago. According to botanists’ analysis, the origin of tea plant has a history of 60 million years.
Like the origin of any species, the origin and existence of tea must have been discovered and utilized by people before tea was discovered and used by human beings, and until a long time later.
People’s experience in using tea has been passed down from generation to generation, and gradually expanded from local areas. It took a long time before there were written records.
As early as 1200 years ago in the Tang Dynasty Luyu period, large wild tea plants have been found, especially in Yunnan, Sichuan and Guizhou. In Yunnan alone, there are more than 20 large tea trees with trunk diameter more than 1 meter. For example:
In 1961, a wild tea tree with a height of 32.12 meters and a chest girth of 2.9 meters was found in the dense forest of Bada Daheishan in Menghai County, with an altitude of 1500 meters. Its age is estimated to be about 1000 years.
In the Heishan virgin forest of Lancang County, 2190 meters above sea level, there is a wild tea tree with a height of 21.6 meters and a trunk chest circumference of 1.9 meters.
In the last century, there was a large tea tree in nannuo mountain of Menghai County, with a height of 5.5 meters, a crown of 10.9 * 9.8 meters and a trunk chest circumference of 1.4 meters. According to the local Hani historical records, the tea plant has experienced 55 generations, 800 years.
In 1983, more than 350 hectares of wild large tea plant communities were found in qianjiazhai, Zhenyuan County, Yunnan Province. The No.1 tea tree in qianjiazhai is 25.6 meters in height, 1.2 meters in trunk diameter and over 1000 years old.