In one popular Chinese legend, Shennong, the legendary Emperor of China, inventor of agriculture and Chinese medicine, was drinking a bowl of boiling water, some time around 2737 BC. The wind blew and a few leaves from a nearby tree fell into his water and began to change its colour. The ever inquisitive and curious monarch took a sip of the brew and was pleasantly surprised by its flavour and its restorative properties. China is considered to have the earliest records of tea drinking, with recorded tea use in its history dating back to the first millennium BC.
Tea cultivation flourished in India under the British and today India is the largest producer of tea in the world. The four basic types of true tea are (in order from most to least processed): black tea, oolong tea, green tea and white tea.Tea is a natural source of the amino acid theanine, methylxanthines such as caffeine and theobromine, and polyphenolic antioxidant catechins. It has almost no carbohydrates, fat, or protein. It has a cooling, slightly bitter, and astringent flavor.