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Early Chinese Tea Trade
Courtsey: ALL ABOUT TEA by William H. Ukers

The Far-Framed Bund At Shanghai, Present-Day China's Largest Tea-Trade City

With the discovery of the tea ;manufacturing process, which occurred early in the T’ang dynasty, A.D. 620-904, the transportation of tea became possible and the trade soon followed the fame of the new drink down the Yangtze River, China’s great transportation artery, to the seaboard provinces.

Early in the progress of tea down the river, or about A.D. 780, Lu Yu, the foremost authority on tea and its use, was induced by the merchants of Hupeh Province to write his famous tea book, Ch’a Ching. This was the first concerted effort to promote the tea business through publicity.

In the same year, A.D. 780, the trade had assumed sufficient importance to attract governmental attention as a source of revenue, and the first tax on tea was levied. This was soon abolished, but again put in operation in 793.

During the Sung dynasty, A.D. 960 – 1127, the Government permitted an export ;trade along the northern border, and this developed into the later caravan trade across the great Mongolian Desert.


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