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Tea's globe-trotting tale is infused with whimsy and revolution

How Asia's favorite drink helped shape history

Tea may be a quintessentially Asian drink, but it has a rich global history. Here, two women have a sip in front of the camera circa 1905.   © Getty Images

JAKARTA   According to legend, the world's oldest beverage came about by accident more than 4,000 years ago, when a draft blew some tea leaves into a pot of boiling water being prepared for Shen Nung, the Chinese emperor known as "the divine farmer."

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