Tea was first introduced to Portuguese priests and merchants in China during the 16th century, at which time it was termed chá. The earliest European reference to tea, written as Chiai, came from Delle navigationi e viaggi written by a Venetian, Giambattista .My hubby and I started drinking tea a few winters ago while trying to cut down on sugar and pop, and it's been a huge hit in the house ever since. Unfortunately it did take some trial and error to figure out the best ways to buy and brew a variety of loose leaf teas. So here is what you need to knowTeaTrends is the leading source of unbiased news and analysis for the specialty tea industry. Sing up for our free weekly newsletter today! . Merril J. Fernando, the founder of Dilmah Tea and one of the most influential figures in the history of tea in Sri Lanka .