Liu Qi’s Tomb: World’s Oldest Tea Found Inside

oldest tea

Archaeologists have found the world’s oldest tea buried in the tomb of a Chinese emperor. Researchers of the Chinese Academy of Science found the remains of the oldest tea in the tomb of Liu Qi, the Chinese emperor. He lived more than 2100 years ago.

Tea is considered to be the oldest beverages of the world. There are documents which refer to a drink which is speculated to be tea. However, the scholars are not certain about how far the speculation is correct, reported npr.  The tea remnants found in the tomb are so far the oldest physical evidence of tea in existence. The report also confirmed that the buried tea was of a very high quality material befitting an emperor.

Tea was not grown in the area of the tomb which indicates that it was valued so much that it was buried with the important people in their tomb.

Jing Emperor, Liu Qi died in 141 BC. His tomb is in Han Yangling Mausoleum. The archaeologists also found rice, millets and a type of spinach in the tomb.

The researchers have examined the sample of tea using mass spectrometry. They have checked the caffeine content and theanine (an amino acid found in tea plant). The researchers detected high levels of calcium oxalate crystals which resemble the morphological shape of crystals in modern tea. In short, the composition found in the tea grants it the distinction of “imperial” tea.

Dorian Fuller, professor of archaeobotany at University College, London and also a member of the research team expressed his happiness for the discovery. He said he is happy that with the help of modern science they could find out more details about the Chinese Culture.

“The identification of the tea found in the emperor’s tomb complex gives us a rare glimpse into very ancient traditions which shed light on the origins of one of the world’s favourite beverages,” he added.

James Benn, the author of “Tea in China: A Religious and Cultural History, ” also agrees that 2100 years ago tea was consumed “in some form.”

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