Two different legends recount the discovery of tea. Shane Yene was the Emperor of China around 2737 B.C. As a health measure, he ordered his subjects to drink nothing but boiled water. One day, leaves from a nearby tree fell into his own simmering water and the Emperor was delighted by this new drink.
The second legend is set circa AD. 520. According to Japanese tradition, an Indian prince, Bodhidharma, who had become an ascetic, went to China to teach Zen Buddhism. To keep himself awake during long hours of meditation, he cut off his eyelids and threw them away. At the place where they fell there soon grew a bush. When the master's disciples came to meditate with him, they picked the leaves of this tree and made an infusion from them to keep themselves awake. It was a tea plant. (Inventions and Discoveries)