Even as America goes through an haute cuisine tea craze, Asia, cradle of millennia of high tea culture, is seeing the beverage lose vast amounts of territory among the younger set, according to Reuters.
‘Consumption of traditional tea is declining because it’s not being passed down,’ said [Taiwan tea expert] Yang [Hai-chuan], who teaches tea brewing classes to a handful of students such as Liu, who sign up mostly because of the coffee-making section in the course.
Things may not be all that bleak: The Reuters piece is anecdotal, lacks any kind of demographic sales data, and appears to have taken its “origin of tea” story directly from Wikipedia. You, of course, can be the judge.
According to a Chinese myth, tea was discovered about 5,000 years ago by Shennong, a legendary emperor of China who was sipping a bowl of hot water when a sudden gust of wind blew some tea tree twigs into the water.
In one popular Chinese legend, Shennong, the legendary Emperor of China, inventor of agriculture and Chinese medicine, was drinking a bowl of boiling water, some time around 2737 BC. The wind blew and a few leaves from a nearby tree fell into his water and began to change its colour.
Without doing any more marketing research than the Reuters people, it’s probably safe to say—generational hiccups aside—that any beverage that’s lasted 5,000 years on a given continent will probably last at least a couple thousand more.