World's oldest tea leaves found in Chinese tomb

Scientists in China have discovered what they say are the world’s oldest tea leaves in the tomb of an ancient emperor.

Tea leaves.

Tea leaves. Image by CIAT / CC BY-SA 2.0

The buds were found in the tomb of the Emperor Jing of Han, also known as Liu Qi, near the modern-day city of Xi’an. Liu Qi ruled China during the Han dynasty, some 2150 years ago. As the emperor died in 141 BC, scientists have dated the tea buds to that year. Researchers had to use a mass spectrometor to identify the particles as tea.

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