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     Traditional Teas
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Traditional Teas

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) 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.