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Historically, tea's origins date back to around 2700 BC. It is thought to have first been discovered in the mountainous areas of China's far western Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. It was originally taken as a detoxifying medicine though it grew to great social prominence during the Tang (620-907 AD) and Sung (960-1279 AD) Dynasties.
In addition to tea's attributed health benefits, the high level of "tea culture" was appealing to people outside of China as well. Since the fifth century AD, tea has been exported by land and sea throughout Asia and reached Europe in 1610. It was Dutch traders that first brought tea to Europe but the British who greatly developed it, transplanting it to India in the early 1800's.