Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world right after water, and I drink a lot of it myself, since I suck down iced green tea* all day. I can't say, though, that prior to this I knew so many details about it's history.
Here’s a short video from TED Ed describing the origins of tea and how the beverage became so popular.
via Geeks are Sexy
* Actually, what I drink is green tea with ginseng, and after lots of experimentation this is the process I use:
Buy this stuff from Amazon - it's dirt cheap and good, and the bags are not individually wrapped. That may be a disadvantage in some cases, but it you want to use several at a time, it's much easier not to have to unwrap them. There's no extra flavors added. so if you want you can get some lemon or honey flavored bags and throw a couple of them in, too.
Put six bags (if adding the lemon flavored variety, use four of the plain and two lemon) in a saucepan with ~ 1.5 quarts of water, heat to just below a boil, and remove the pan from the burner.
If adding sugar, do it now while it'll dissolve easily - remember you'll end up with approximately a gallon of tea so sweeten accordingly. Sweetened or not, wait at least an hour for it to steep and cool, then dump into a pitcher, fill the pitcher up with water and refrigerate. I use these 3 quart pitchers because they (1) have a sturdy, well-shaped handle and (2) are somewhat narrow so they take up less room in the fridge, but use what you have, or use an old empty 1 gallon milk/juice carton.