Tea drinking in China has a history going back two thousand years. The shapes of the vessels used in the preparation of tea evolved with customs. Before the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), tea cakes or powdered tea leaves were added to boiling water directly into bowls. During the Ming and Qing dynasties, the fresher, more flavourful loose leaf tea became popular and was steeped in teapots. Introduced commercially in Europe in the early seventeenth century, tea was quickly adopted by the fashionable classes. The new custom created a demand for cups and teapots to which Chinese porcelain manufacturers promptly responded, producing blue-and-white wares for export to Western markets. Europeans often added silver mounts to heighten the value of these luxury wares.