The Wonderful World of Korean Food: Traditional Teas
Traditional Korean 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 ("way of tea") was developed, 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 chic 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), yulmucha (Job's tears tea), omijacha ("five-taste" tea from the fruit of Schisandra chinensis), gugijacha (Chinese matrimony vine tea), etc. At home, grain teas such as horicha (roast barley tea), oksusucha (roast corn tea), and gyeolmyeongjacha (tea from the fruit of C. obtusifolia) are often served cold instead of clear water.