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Most Chinese languages, such as Mandarin and Cantonese, pronounce it along the lines of cha, but Hokkien varieties along the Southern coast of China and in Southeast Asia pronounce it like teh.These two pronunciations have made their separate ways into other languages around the world.
The word tú 荼 appears in the Shijing and other ancient texts to signify a kind of "bitter vegetable" (苦菜), and it is possible that it referred to a number of different plants such as sowthistle, chicory, or smartweed, In the Chronicles of Huayang, it was recorded that the Ba people in Sichuan presented tu to the Zhou king.
During the 17th century, drinking tea became fashionable among Britons, who started large-scale production and commercialization of the plant in India to bypass the Chinese monopoly.
The phrase herbal tea usually refers to infusions of fruit or herbs made without the tea plant, such as steeps of rosehip, chamomile, or rooibos.
The state of Ba and its neighbour Shu were later conquered by the Qin, and according to the 17th century scholar Gu Yanwu who wrote in Ri Zhi Lu (日知錄): "It was after the Qin had taken Shu that they learned how to drink tea." contains the first known reference to boiling tea.
Among the tasks listed to be undertaken by the youth, the contract states that "he shall boil tea and fill the utensils" and "he shall buy tea at Wuyang".
It was popularized as a recreational drink during the Chinese Tang dynasty, and tea drinking spread to other East Asian countries.