Better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one ~ Chinese proverb
The practice of drinking tea has a long history in China. As the legend goes, about 4500 years ago, Chinese Emperor Jing of Han always drank boiled water because he believed that it was cleaner. One day while traveling he and his servants for a break and his servant began boiling some water for the Emperor. While boiling the water, a dead leaf from a wild tea bush fell into the water and turned it a lightly browning color. The water was still presented to the Emperor and after tasting it, he found it to be very tasty and refreshing. And this was the beginning of tea as we know it today.
Historically, the earliest evidence suggests that tea was used as medicine in China first by the Han Dynasty in the first millennium BC. The use of tea for pleasure however dates from the Tang Dynasty between (618-907 CE). During the Sui and Tang dynasties became a very popular custom and subsequently spread to Tibet. From the Tang period onwards, tea became one of the seven essential elements of life, the other six being firewood, rice, oil, soy sauce, and vinegar.