|Green tea was first introduced to Korea during the reign of Queen Seondeok (632 – 647) of the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C. – A.D. 935). Tea helps ward off drowsiness and invigorates one’s mind and body, so Buddhist monks used it as an aid in cultivating their minds. It was during the Goryeo Dynasty (918 – 1392) when Buddhism was at its peak on the peninsula that dado (a tea ceremony) was developed. It was a protocol to guide proper preparation, serving and drinking of tea. During the Joseon Dynasty (1392 – 1910) when Buddhism was suppressed under the influence of dominating Confucianism, tea-drinking declined. Today it has revived and is perceived as a sophisticated and healthy practice.
Grains, fruits and medicinal foods are also used in making tea. Popular teas of today are insamcha (ginseng tea), nokcha (green tea), yujacha (citron tea), daechucha (jujube tea), saenggangcha (ginger tea), yulmucha (Job’s tears tea), omijacha (“five-taste” tea from the fruit of Schisandra chinensis), and gugijacha (Chinese matrimony vine tea). At home, cold grain teas such as boricha (roast barley tea), oksusucha (roast corn tea), and gyeolmyeongjacha (tea from the fruit of C. obtusifolia) are often served instead of water.
Insa-dong in Seoul has numerous traditional tea-houses with interesting shop names and elegant antique interiors. They also play traditional music. Visiting one will be a memorable experience.
Annual green tea festivals are held at nokcha (green tea) plantations in Boseong-gun, Jeollanam-do and Hadong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do in May.
|Tea Ceremony for Foreign Visitors|
|The Yejiwon Cultural Institute|
|Program||1 hour (upon request)|
|Tuition||400,000 won (groups of ten)|
|• Traditional Tea Houses|
– Tel: +82-2-730-6305
– Located at the heart of Insadong Street, walk 7-minutes from Exit 6 of Anguk Station on Subway Line 3 (inside Gyeongin Art Gallery).
– Tel: +82-2-733-9746
– Walk 5-minutes toward Jogyesa Temple from Jonggak Station on Subway Line 1. Closed on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month. Free sampling available.