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
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) and yulmucha (Job's tears tea), omijacha ("five-taste"
tea from the fruit of Schisandra chinensis), gugijacha (Chinese
matrimony vine tea). At home, grain teas such as boricha (roast
barley tea), oksusucha (roast corn tea), and gyeolmyeongjacha
(tea from the fruit of C. obtusifolia) are often served cold
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.