Brother Anthony's Korean (& Chinese) Tea PagesDid you know that all the tea drunk in the world, no matter whether it is white, green, red, brown, or black, and no matter where it comes from, is made of the leaves of the same evergreen tree or bush? Most people are surprised to hear this, and suddenly realize that although they may drink a lot of tea, they have never really stopped to ask where it came from or how it was made. In the pages that follow I want to take you on a journey through some of what I have learned about tea while living in Korea. To make things easier, I have broken my text into several different parts.
The first tea-drinkers
Tea-drinking becomes a ceremony
The invention of the tea-pot
Tea reaches Europe
Tea in Korea and Japan (revised in April 2012) with links to some poems by the Ven. Cho-ui and pictures of places associated with the Ven. Cho-uiNew light on the history of tea in the Joseon period.
Tea making at Gucheung-am in
Tea-making in Jiri-san, May
2006. Click on a thumbnail to start the slide show.
Gucheung-am, Hwaom-sa, Jiri-san, May 2009
The Korean way of
making oxidized 'paryo-cha' (yellow tea)
The Korean way of brewing tea
The Korean way of serving tea
Panyaro - the Korean Way of Tea
Panyaro - some new pictures from May 2000
Tea in Taiwan
The Oriental Beauty Tea made in Peipu
Powerpoint presentations and photos
A 2011 Powerpoint slideshow The Korean Way of Tea covering many aspects of Korean tea history etc. This focuses on the 'wild' tea that has grown around Korean temples for centuries and is usually thought to derive from tea planted by monks who brought tea seeds back with them from China. Recent genetic research has confirmed strikingly that the cultivars found as wild tea near Korean temples do indeed resemble closely those found in China, rather than Japan.
Blogs and magazines
Steve Owyoung has a fine
blog devoted to highly intelligent notes on various aspects
Scott Shangguan has a tea-centered blog which is combined with his online tea store, Chinese Tea Culture, but down the left-hand column of that page you can find a lot of non-commercial information pages about tea.
Cha Dao was the
ultimate Tea Blog but it has been dead since early
2011. In it there is (in particular) a fascinating article
Lu T’ung and Lu Yü written by Steve Owyoung, THE expert on
Chinese tea history.
Mattcha's Blog from Canada is a wonderful resource, especially strong on Korean tea, and for a long time featured an online book club devoted to my Korean Tea Classics, for which I am most grateful.
Warren Peltier has a good site devoted to Chinese tea. The
China Experience introduces Chinese tea simply.
The Leaf tea magazine is a fine resource for tea lovers. See my article on Korean teas in Issue 7.
FAQ is part of Chris
Roberson's tea page which also contains a large array of
links and indicates that the FAQ page also
exists in French.
Pu-er.net is a remarkable site entirely devoted to one particular kind of Chinese tea that is increasingly familiar.
LiveJournal has a puerh tea
Ling Tea House in Shanghai has a well-designed set of pages
with plenty of information on the main kinds of tea and the ways
in which it is drunk in modern China. Their list
links is also very useful.
Among Korean tea-makers / masters, Hong Kyeong-Hee (Hyo-am) has
his own home page (only
in Korean) with texts of the Classic of Tea, works by Cho
Ui etc and some pictures.
Prof. Jeong Min's
home page (in Korean) for Joseon texts about tea etc
Other (commercial) tea sitesArthur Park is a potter who also runs Morning Crane Teas, a small company offering a few good Korean teas for sale within the US, as well as some Korean teaware etc. Arthur and Mary have tried hard to organize tea tours to Korea, and in 2013 they are organizing another.
If looking to buy tea online in the US, or simply interested in
tea, the home pages of Upton
Tea Imports are surely a good starting point.
Franchia (12 Park Avenue) is an
extension of the Hangawi vegetarian restaurant in New York. It
specializes in Korean tea and sells online.
In London, East teas and Postcard teas (they are closely connected) sell and love Korean teas, the first store is either online or physical on Fridays and Saturdays at Borough Market (London Bridge), the second is a shop off New Bond Street. They sell other teas and implements too, of course!
The Hankook Tea Company (based in Kwangju) has a complete set of English-language pages (click on 'English' at the top of the opening page) and has its own tea store in Los Angeles: Chasaengwon,3839 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90010. Tel (213) 380-3538.
The largest stock of teas available for purchase in Europe is probably that found at the French firm of Mariage freres with almost 500 different teas listed but nothing Korean of any value.
Here are links to a few other sites (alas, all only in Korean) of good tea producers in Korea:
The Ssangkye Tea Foundation
groups small ('artisanal') producers in the region around Ssangkye
Temple in Hwagye, one of the best tea-producing parts of
The Ilsong Company produces tea in the same region of Chiri-san.
The largest company making tea in Korea is O'Sulloc Tea, (English pages new in 2010) which produces tea in a considerable variety of qualities, some hand-made and some more industrial. Their main plantations are in Jeju Island. The same company also owns the Amore Museum (was the Amore-Pacific Museum) in Yongin, south of Seoul, which owns many of the greatest treasures related to Korean tea. including the portrait of the Ven. Cho-ui and early copies of his writings about tea. They are no longer on display.
In Taipei there is what claims to be "the world's largest tea museum."
Some books about teaThe main problem with books about tea (except for mine and the first one listed below) is that they almost always completely ignore Korea.
Manchester, Carole. Tea in the East. New York: Hearst Books. 1996. (Some beautiful pictures, but she never mentions Korea, not even once!)
Engelbert Kaempfer: Exotic Pleasures. Translated...Robert
W. Carrubba.Southern Illinois University Press. 1996.(The earliest
account of tea)
Aaron Fisher: The Way of Tea. 2010 (Aaron lives in Taiwan and is deeply versed in Taoism.)
The oldest book in English about Chinese tea has the longest
possible title: An account of the cultivation and manufacture
of tea in China : derived from personal observation during an
official residence in that country from 1804 to 1826 : and
illustrated by the best authorities, Chinese as well as European
: with remarks on the experiments now making for the
introduction of the culture of the tea tree in other parts of
the world (1848). It can be downloaded as a PDF file from
Archive or it can be read through Google
Lee Ki-yun. Ta-do. Seoul: Taewon-sa. 1989 (In Korean)
Jeong Min. Saero sseuneun
Joseonui Chamunhwa. 2011. (in Korean) This book is a
radical revision of conventional Korean tea history based on a
deep exploration of contemporary documents and a great knowledge
of the life and writings of Dasan Jeong Yak-yong in particular.
I wrote a series of short articles for the Korea Times in 1999 using and expanding the above materials. I have put all the texts into a single file. Quite a lot is drawn directly from the pages listed above, so be warned, there is a lot of overlap!Feb. 9 Introduction to Tea