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2737 BCE According to Chinese myth, Emperor Shen Nung of China discovered tea while sitting under a wild tea tree with a cup of hot water. A leaf from the tree fell into his water, creating the first tea.   
222 Chinese writing "dated to the year 222 mentions tea as a substitute for wine." 1  
805 Tea brought back to Japan by Buddhist monk Saicho and served to Emporer Saga, who popularized tea in his court. 1  
879 Arabian travelers visit Canton mention tea in their logs. 1  
960 - 1279 Tea's popularity grows in China during the T'ang and Sung dynasties. First documented tea houses founded. 1  
1191 Japanese Buddhist monk Eisai returns from studying in China, writes a book about the medicinal value of tea, and founded the first tea plantations in Japan. 1  
1271 - 1295 Marco Polo notes a Chinese official who was removed from office for raising the tea tax. 1  
1597 The first English printed reference to tea appears in a translation of Dutch navigator Jan Hugo van Lin-Schooten's Travels. He calls the beverage "chaa". 2  
1685 Treatise on coffee, tea and chocolate published by French druggist Dufour, titled "Traitez nouveaux & curieux du café du thé et du chocolate".    [Details]
1890 Lipton tea is first introduced.   
1904 American tea and coffee merchant Thomas Sullivan invents the tea bag for sending samples to his customers.   

  1.   Pendell D. Pharmako / Dynamis. Mercury House, 2002.
  2.   Encyclopedia Britannica. 1957.