|How early in the history of the Chinese that people
discovered and developed
the inestimable qualities of the tea plant is not known. Chinese
S. Wells Williams, in his Middle Kingdom places the date about 350 A.D.
Somewhere between 500 A.D. and 700 A.D. tea had become a favorite
families. Some of the written records of that ancient people push the
epoch of tea drinking back as far as 2700 B.C., appealing to ambiguous
utterances of Confucius for corroboration.
Tea in China had obtained sufficient
importance in political economy in 783 or 793 A.D. to become an object
of taxation by the Chinese Government.