South Korea consumes 0.4 lb of tea per capita per year.
Saenggangcha or Korean Ginger Tea is the most popular infusion in the country, while people also like Barley Tea, Pine Needle Tea, Buckwheat Tea, Omija Cha (Magnolia berry) tea, and Yulmu Cha (roasted and powdered Yulmu plant grains).
Nevertheless, Green Tea is on the top of the list, while Black and Pu-erh teas are also popular among Koreans.
History of Tea in South Korea
First tea records from the territory of today’s South Korea date back to the year 918.
Tea and fruits were the basic gifts to gods in the ancient ceremonies while with the emergence of Buddhism, tea reached new levels of social importance.
In the old days, tea in South Korea was only part of Buddhist or national ceremonies, while later on, it became the essential beverage of the common people.
Tea Culture in South Korea
Tea in South Korea is the highest form of expressing hospitality to guests.
Some people drink more tea than water in Korea, especially the flower variants.
Koreans usually place dry flowers in a cup and pour hot water over them.
There are others who keep their tea flowers and herbs in honey and use those to make a delicious cup of tea.
There are tea tasting tours in Bukchon Hanbok village where visitors can try first-hand Black, Green, Oolong, and Pu-erh teas infused with flowers and spices.
Koreans love drinking tea whether it’s loose leaf, herbal, fruit, or flower. They produce 100 metric tonnes of tea per year, securing the 30th spot among the major tea producers in the world.
Tea in South Korea is served in ceramic cups and with all the meals.
Rice cake (tteok) and Hangwa (traditional sweets) are the most common snacks to have with tea in South Korea.