Last revised December 26,  2013

Brother Anthony's Korean (& Chinese) Tea Pages

Did 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 History of Tea

How the tea tree got its name

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-ui

New light on the history of tea in the Joseon period.

Yi Mok, Father of Korean Tea
    and    An 'academic' article comparing the tea classics by Yi Mok and the Ven. Cho-ui

An extensive article about the history of tea during the Joseon period, from Yi Mok until the death of the Ven Cho-ui.

What may be the earliest account of Chinese tea written in English (1759, derived from earlier European accounts mostly in Latin)

Engelbert Kaempfer's account of Japanese tea from the Appendix to Volume 2 of his History of Japan published in English in London 1727. (Original edition online in Internet Archive with 2 plates)

Clarke Abel accompanied Lord Amherst on his 1816-18 embassy to China as chief medical officer and naturalist; the book he published includes what may be the first (limited) eye-witness account of tea growing in China, in English at least.


Practical guides to the making (growing and drying) of tea in Korea and Taiwan

The Korean way of making (pan-roasted) green tea  (see also this  much more detailed description, also illustrated, from 2006)

Tea making at Gucheung-am in Hwaeom-sa

Tea-making in Jiri-san, May 2006. Click on a thumbnail to start the slide show.

Tea-making at 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   A 2013 video of the Panyaro tea ceremony

Panyaro - some new pictures from May 2000


Tea in Taiwan

The Oriental Beauty Tea made in Peipu



Books

 
  The Korean Way of Tea : An Introductory Guide by Brother Anthony of Taize and Hong Kyeong-Hee. 2007.   This book is an expansion of the contents of my online tea pages, with a lot of photos. It can be obtained from Seoul Selection, the publishers.  See a very kind review of it by Lauren Deutsch in Kyoto Journal



   Korean Tea Classics by Hanjae Yi Mok and the Venerable Cho-ui  by Brother Anthony of Taiz, Hong Keong-Hee, Steven D. Owyoung 2010.  This richly illustrated book contains the Chinese text and translations of 3 fundamental texts of Korean Tea culture:  ChaBu, Rhapsody to Tea  by Hanjae Yi Mok; ChaSinJeon, A Chronicle of the Spirit of Tea and DongChaSong, Hymn in Praise of Korean Tea by the Venerable Cho-ui. It can be purchased online from the publishers, Seoul Selection.  You can read the complete text of the DongChaSong poem (without the notes)  in English here.      


Powerpoint presentations and photos

A 2009 Powerpoint presentation about tea in Korea etc

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.

A 2014 Powerpoint presentation on the history of Korean tea that stresses the complete absence of any documentary mention of tea during most of the Joseon dynasty.

A series of mostly tea-related photos taken in Ruili at 1000 meters up Mount Ali in 2006
Tea-making in Taiwan: Ali-shan 2009 
 
Visiting the original Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe) tea trees in Wuyi-shan, 2012

A smoking / drying shed used to make Lapsang Sushang tea inside Wu Yi Nature Reserve. Wuyi-shan.

2012 Penn State Tea Institute's "Korean Tea Exhibition" is the subject of 2 Facebook albums, the first an introductory stroll through the campus, the second showing the main events

Links to other tea-related sites

Blogs and magazines

Steve Owyoung has a fine blog devoted to highly intelligent notes on various aspects of tea.

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 about Lu Tung and Lu Y 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.

Rec.food.drink.tea 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 community

The Wan 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 of 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 sites

Arthur 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.

Teance is a very fine company located in Berkeley, California, devoted to discovering the finest teas.

CooksShopHere is a fine site, with a collection of photos taken during the owners' trips to tea plantations in Japan and China. The store belongs to Mary-Lou and Robert Heiss, whose book about Tea  The Story of Tea: A Cultural History is listed below.

The Stash Tea site is very useful. 

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 Chiri-san.
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 tea

The main problem with books about tea (except for mine and the first one listed below) is that they almost always completely ignore Korea.

Mary Lou & Robert J. Heiss. The Story of Tea: A Cultural History. Ten Speed Press. 2007.

A Tea Reader: Living Life One Cup at a Time. ed. Katrina Avila Munichiello. Tuttle. 2011. (An anthology with a short piece written by me)

Victor H. Mair & Erling Hoh.
The True History of Tea. Thames & Hudson. 2009.  This book includes some lines from my home page about the Ven. Hyodang but otherwise fails to mention Korea's tea history while devoting hundreds of pages to Japan.

Steeped in History: The Art of Tea. edited by Beatrice Hohenegger. University of Washington. 2009. Companion to an exhibition held at UCLA, this contains a variety of chapters by different experts, including "Tea in China" by Steven D. Owyoung, the best survey of Chinese tea history available in print.

Beatrice Hohenegger  Liquid Jade: The Story of Tea from East to West. St. Martin's Press. 2007.

Goodwin, Jason. A Time For Tea: Travels through China and India in search of tea. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1991. (One of the first westerners to travel in tea-producing regions in recent times)

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 the Internet Archive or it can be read through Google Books.

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.


Etc.

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
Feb. 24 History of Tea in Korea, China, Japan
March 10 Tea is Good for You
March 24 Early History of Tea
April 7 Tea Green, Oolong, and Red
April 21 Quince Tea and a Poet
May 5 The Grades of Tea and Cool Water
May 19 How Tea is made in the Mountains
June 3 Picking Tea in Chiri-san
June 17 Tea and Temple in Chiri-san
July 3 How to Prepare a cup of Green Tea