Although written records trace the cultivation of green tea as far back as the Han Dynasty (206-220), when its primary use was medicinal, it wasn’t until China’s early Tang Dynasty (600-900) that we hear of green tea being consumed for pleasure. During this time, green tea was only distributed in compressed cakes for easy transport.
During the Tang Dynasty, there was a groundbreaking book written about the art of green tea drinking called the “The Classic of Tea” or “Cha Jing” by Lu Yu. It is considered one of the most important books of its time because it was one of the first all-inclusive explorations of green tea culture as a whole. It was also during this time that the formal tea ceremony came into being; a ritual, in part due to the tools necessary for preparation, accessible only to the wealthy elite. Because of this, green tea consumption became a symbol of status in society.