This ancient Chinese clown-slash-writer convinced the world to drink tea instead of eating it

It was a clown-slash-writer in medieval China who persuaded the world that tea leaves were best brewed into a drink rather than mashed into a caffeinated soup, Atlas Obscura reports. Lu Yu, AKA  the “tea god,” wrote a treatise in the 760s proclaiming that properly brewed tea could rival clarified butter and “refined sweet dew beer,” both considered delicious at the time. The rest, as they say, is history: The hard-partying ruling class of the Tang Dynasty sobered up and began to drink tea in place of beer and wine, the trend spread worldwide, and tea vendors began making statues to honor Lu Yu, forever cementing his status among brewing royal-tea. —H. Claire Brown

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