In the 1840 a Scotsman by the name of James Taylor read about the Jewel of an Island called Ceylon and the opportunities existing there for growing coffee. A few months later he moved to the Hill Country area and planted not only coffee but also some tea seeds from India.
The "ugly little shrub" was grown next to his acres of coffee and provided large yields. It wasn't till a couple of seasons later that a virulent leaf disease devastated his whole plantation but the "ugly little shrub" was immune and the Tea Industry came into being. Soon the perilously steep mountainside of the hill country was carpeted with the vibrant green of tea bushes. And Ceylon Tea became the world's favorite beverage.
The origins of Tea were with the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung who was boiling water when the leaves from a nearby plant Camellia sinensis plant floated into the pot. The emperor drank the mixture and declared it gave one "vigor of body, contentment of mind, and determination of purpose".
Perhaps as testament to the emperor's assessment, tea the potion he unwittingly brewed that day today is second only to water in worldwide consumption. The U.S. population is drinking its fair share of the brew; in 1994, Americans drank 2.25 billion gallons of tea in one form or another hot, iced, spiced, flavored, with or without sugar, honey, milk, cream, or lemon.