Europe – 1517 to 1600s
As Japan began to make green tea its own, travelers soon learned of its magical, mysterious properties and would return home to tell their families of what they had seen. News of this wonderful plant soon traveled throughout the world, and it wasn’t long until green tea was first introduced to Europe. In the year 1517, Portuguese traders first brought green tea to Europe by way of China. Instantly well-received, Chinese green tea was marveled upon by Europeans, and soon became one of the most highly-regarded commodities available.
Word of green tea and its benefits quickly traveled throughout Europe, even in regions far from where it was introduced. 1559 saw the writings of a Venetian Merchant, entitled “Voyages and Travels,” in which the merchant spent a good deal of time talking about the many health benefits of drinking green tea. The merchant also took the time to explain just how culturally significant the tea was, and how important of an impact it would likely have on Europe and the rest of the world.
As the merchant predicted, green tea continued to spread throughout the world like wildfire. Many people see 1657 as being one of the most pivotal years for green tea’s assimilation into the rest of the world, as it was in this year that the tea first began to be sold in London. London, which today is known as one of the world’s tea drinking capitals, quickly took to the magical leaves and soon became a hotbed for green tea drinking. The fact that London was a major port didn’t hurt either, as green tea finally reached the point where it could be traded and transported throughout the world.
Green Tea in North America – 1600s to Present
It wasn’t long after green tea began being traded in London that it ended up in North America. The tea was first brought to America in the 1600s by the Dutch, and is thought to have first popped up in New York. Green tea fast became one of the many drinks of choice for New Yorkers, and was enjoyed without any sweetening or augmentation. As the drink spread throughout the city, its popularity grew exponentially. Soon, it was the most popular tea drink in the country, and was drunk by common people as well as the extremely wealthy and elite.
In 1774, the Boston Tea Party changed everything for green tea in America. Soon after, the country found itself mainly concerned with the drinking of English tea, or black tea. Once the prepackaging of tea became the norm, it became fairly difficult to even find green tea in America. Since black tea had all but taken over, producers found it to be financially irresponsible to continue to sell green tea. Fortunately, this came to an end some years later.
Over the course of the recent past (1960 to Present), green tea has found a large resurgence around the world, and especially in America. As the world continues to be fixated on living healthy, the immense health benefits of green tea soon became popular, and before long green tea was again immensely popular. To this day, it remains one of the most popular types of drinks in the world, and is marketed in America and elsewhere as an elixir for one’s health. With China and India being some of the world’s largest producers of tea (and some 30 countries in the world cultivating the plant), it’s safe to say that its popularity will only increase as time goes on. With its delicious flavor and incredible health benefits, it’s hard to imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to drink green tea.