Origin of Tea
Tea is the oldest known herbal drink of humanity. It was already consumed in the 28th century BC. in the Yunnan Province, China. Tea is made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis, the tea plant.
There are several legends about the origin of tea. The most famous one is that of Emperor Shen Nung. In the year 2737 BC. the Emperor walked through his garden. On his way, he stopped to pause and boil some water. At that moment, a tea leaf fell into the boiling water. The emperor drank the water and was so impressed by it that he wanted to drink it again. Eureka! The birth of tea, as we know it.
Although most people think that it was the English who introduced tea in Europe, the honour still belongs to the Dutch. The first shipment of tea arrived in the Netherlands in 1610. In the 17th century, tea was mainly reserved for the elite or used as a medicine. This changed in the early 18th century and from that time everyone could enjoy a nice cup of tea.
Tea versus infusions
In the Netherlands, we quickly call most hot drinks tea. A well-known beverage is hot water with mint or mint tea. Officially you should not call this beverage tea, because it doesn't contain the leaf of the Camellia Sinensis. A better name is a 'infusion'.