All About Asian Food

How Tea Sealed the Fate of China


Did you ever think that Tea could destroy an empire? Or that Moon Cakes could save one? It might sound impossible, but they did.

Emperor Huizong lived a thousand years ago, and he loved tea so much that he was called the "Tea Emperor." He wrote books about it, poems, made paintings and even had tea contests with his staff. He challenged them to see who could separate Ying De Tea from Jasmine Tea. Who could tell Shou Mei tea from Bi Luo Chun Tea Who could make a better Black Dragon Tea. He challenged everyone. And he commanded that his tea leaves be taken from the branches by virgins with golden scissors, and they were never allowed to actually touch the Leaves or his Tea Cups.

The Emperor was so obsessed with tea that he forgot to keep an eye on his neighbors. So when a nearby nation called the Jin invaded from the North, the emperor had no preperation, and he fled leaving his son with the job of defending China. Running didn't work however, as the Jin took over, and the emperor was captured anyway. The Mongolians saw the weakened China and quickly moved in, conquering the Jin. They ruled for almost a hundred years, and now you'll see why it was up to moon cakes to save the day.
Mongolians forbade the Chinese from meeting in large groups, so organizing and forming a rebellion seemed impossible. Now, where the Emperor Huizong had failed miserably, the Chinese Ming rebels would succeed.

The Ming rebels started a rumor about a plague that could only be cured by moon cakes. This justified the Chinese spreading the tasty treats around. On the inside of each moon cake was a hidden message giving information about the time of the attack. And once the message was read, the cakes were eaten to destroy the evidence. The idea worked, and the Chinese launched a successful surprise attack. The Mongolians retreated, and the Chinese empire was restored, after over a century of suppression.
So the next time you order some of our tea, don't forget the nation that it affected. And when you buy a moon cake from us this September, (to celebrate the Harvest Moon Festival!) just think of all the good it did.

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