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During the Western Han dynasty, tea became a common beverage. Up until then it was mostly used as an herbal medicine. Monasteries started arranging tea plantations in their vicinity and the popularity of tea grew even further. Dring the Ming dynasty, the tea trade took became an important part in the economy of the state and the ”Tea and Horse Bureau" was set up to supervise tea trade. A Buddhist Monk introduced tea to Japan in the 6th Century and later in the 16th Century a Portuguese missionary introduced it to Europe. Gradually, tea was introduced in European countries and colonies and became popular everywhere it arrived. Tea was traded from tobacco by the Chinese and international tea trade started developing. English traders with the East India Company knew about tea in 1615 and English imports rose from 100 pounds a year to over 5 million pounds per year. Trade was blooming and tea had already become a major branch of Chinese economy.

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