In the early days, “tea” was made by mixing tea leaves with ingredients like onions, dates, and ginger. It was also consumed for its perceived health benefits rather than for enjoyment.

It wasn’t until the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE) that tea consumption became more sophisticated activity and specialized teaware was developed to accompany the refined drink. This was also when Chinese scholar Lu Yu wrote the “Tea Classic” (Cha Jing 茶经) tome, reinforcing standards on how to enjoy the beverage. Lu Yu was a bit of a snob shunned the practice of adding unnecessary ingredients to the drink --- essentially, tea leaves and hot water was enough for him. And apparently people listened!

In the Song dynasty (960-1279 CE) tea drinking and tea making standards continued to evolve and improve, paving the way for modern tea culture.