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The Korean Way of Tea Growing Tea Drying Tea Brewing Tea Loving Tea Grades of Korean (green) tea The day known as Gok-u (Grain-rain) usually falls on April 20. The tea picked before this date, the first budding, is known as Ujeon (before rain).

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the korean way of tea

The Korean Way of Tea

Growing Tea

Drying Tea

Brewing Tea

Loving Tea


Grades of Korean (green) tea

The day known as Gok-u(Grain-rain)usually falls on April 20.

The tea picked before this date, the first budding, is known as Ujeon (before rain).

Ipha falls on May 5 or 6, and tea gathered between Gok-u and Ipha, mostly the second budding, is known as Sejak.

Tea gathered after Ipha is known as Jungjak.

the main types of tea
The Main Types of Tea
  • Caked tea (brick tea)
  • Powdered tea (milled tea)
  • Leaf tea
main varieties of korean tea
Main Varieties of Korean Tea
  • Green tea
    • Sparrows’ tongues (Chaksol-cha)
    • Bamboo dew (Chukno-cha) etc
  • Yellow tea (Hwang-cha, Paryo-cha)
  • Red tea (Hong-cha)
  • Caked tea (Ttok-cha)
varieties of chinese tea
Varieties of Chinese Tea
  • White tea
  • Green tea
  • Yellow tea
  • Oolong teas
  • Red (black) tea
  • Puerh tea (brick tea)
varieties of japanese tea
Varieties of Japanese Tea
  • Sencha (“roasted tea” first steamed, then rolled and dried)

Many varieties

  • Matcha (finely powdered tea)

The most ancient Chinese character for tea was荼t’u (the bitter-tasting sow-thistle). Then Lu Yu in his Classic of Tea (Ch’a Ch’ing) written in 780 created

by removing one horizontal bar from 荼. It is pronounced cha or chai throughout almost the whole of China, but in Fujian province, around the port of Amoy, a 't' took the place of the initial 'ch' and so we find the pronunciations ta or tai.

The earliest suppliers of tea to the Dutch and English traders in Indonesia came from Amoy and taught them the name with an initial ‘t’.Hence the West European pronunciations with ‘t’ as in ‘tea,’ while Russians, Indians and Portuguese use a version with ‘ch’ (chai etc). In Korea the form ‘ta’ is often used (as in ‘tabang’ tea-room) but Koreans say ‘nok-cha’ for green tea and the more correct form is ‘cha.’

The ‘Way of Tea’ should be pronounced ‘cha-do’ in Korean

the history of korean tea
The History of Korean Tea
  • A.D. 384 : the earliest Buddhist temples, Bulgap-sa (in Yonggwang) and Bulhui-sa (in Naju).
  • 544 : Hwaeom-sa (in Gurye).
  • 828 : King Heungdeok (ruled 826-36) received tea seeds from T’ang China which he sent to be planted on Jiri Mountain.
korean tea drinking
Korean Tea Drinking
  • Honcha: tea offered to Buddha
  • Royal tea: prepared for the King
  • Sonbi-cha: enjoyed by scholars
  • Hermit’s tea: enjoyed by monks
  • Charye: tea offered to ancestors
  • Medicinal: boiled to cure coughs
korean tea revivals
Korean Tea Revivals
  • 19th century:
    • Venerable Hyejang(1772-1811)
    • Jeong Yak-yongDasan(1762-1836)
    • Cho Ui (1786-1866)
    • Kim Jeong-hui Chusa (1786-1856),
  • 20th century
    • Ven. Hyodang Choi Beom-sul (1904 - 1979)

From the “Hymn in Praise of Korean Tea” (Dong Cha Song)

by the Ven Cho-Ui (1786-1866)

If I drink one cup of Jade Flower, a breeze rises beneath my arms,

my body grows light and I ascend to a state of supreme purity.

The bright moon becomes my candle, my friend,

a white cloud becomes my cushion, my screen.

The sound of bamboo oars and wind in pine trees, solitary and refreshing,

penetrates my weary bones, awakens my mind, so clear and cool.

With no other guests but a white cloud and the bright moon,

I am raised to a place far higher than any immortal.


From the “Rhapsody to Tea” by Hanjae Yi Mok (1471-1498)

Now I will sing for joy:

Born into this world, when winds and waves are fierce, to preserve my health, what could save me if I abandoned you? I cherish you, frequent you, drink you, you keep me company, on mornings when flowers bloom, on moonlit evenings, I am happy, no complaints.

In my heart always there is fear and care: Life is the origin of death, death is the source of life. Keep control of your inward heart, for outward things wither and fade. . . . Does that mean a wise person must enjoy water, a benevolent person live in the mountains?

But if one ponders deeply the way in which inner and outer are made one by tea, even without seeking that kind of pleasure, it gradually arises. That is precisely what is meant by “My heart’s tea.” How should I ever again go seeking outside of my heart?