The history of tea is long and complex, spreading across multiple cultures over the span of thousands of years. Tea likely originated in southwest China during the Shang dynasty as a medicinal drink. An early credible record of tea drinking dates to the 3rd century AD, in a medical text written by Hua Tuo. Tea was first introduced to Portuguese priests and merchants in China during the 16th century. Drinking tea became popular in Britain during the 17th century. The British introduced tea production, as well as tea consumption, to India, in order to compete with the Chinese monopoly on tea.
Gilan in North of Iran is main production center of Iranian Tea. Historically, Lahijan is the first town in Iran to have tea plantations. With its mild weather, soil quality and fresh spring water, Lahijan stands to have the largest area of tea cultivation in Iran. "Lahijan Spring Tea" is the best quality tea produced in the country. Tea is cultivated at other cities of Gilan, for example Fuman and Roudsar.