There is a Buddhist legend about Bodhidharma, the famous Indian monk who is known for spreading Buddha’s teachings throughout southern China.
The legend states that Bodhidharma spent nine years meditating while facing a wall, but would often fall asleep during his practice. It goes on to say that this caused a lot of stress for Bodhidharma, and he eventually got so mad about it that he ripped off his own eyelids, making sure that he would no longer be able to sleep, and then threw them onto the ground. The legend says that once his eyelids hit the ground, they sprouted into tea plants. The tea was then consumed by monks in the surrounding region to help them stay awake during meditation sessions. Some Buddhists even believe this tea was a gift from Buddha himself.
Of course, this legend obviously isn’t true, but it does show how important tea is to Buddhist culture.