Sunday, August 23, 2009

Korean Tea Ceremony

Tea has evolved to become one of the more popular beverages worldwide. More and more people are becoming tea drinkers because of the health benefits derived from tea and it has also become a way of relaxation for many.

Tea is called “cha” in Korean. It is said that “cha” was introduced to Korea from China sometime in the 6th or 7th century by Buddhist monks or Korean scholars who traveled to China, they eventually brought home with them tea, and that’s how tea made its way to Korea. Buddhist monks drank tea to avoid sleeplessness and purify their minds. With Buddhism flourishing in Korea, tea has gained more popularity but when it was replaced by Confucianism, tea culture was repressed. It was only in the early 19th century when the Korean Way of Tea Life was revived.

Korean tea ceremony is called “Dado”. The focus of Korean tea ceremony is the enjoyment of tea in an easy, formal and natural setting. Its simplicity is what differentiates it from the complexity of the Japanese tea ceremony, were it is bound by formal rituals.

Green tea is most often served in tea ceremonies. In order to prepare green tea the Korean way, a tea set is recommended (if I’m not mistaken, they call it cha-kee). A tea set is basically a small tea pot for brewing; a small tea bowl for water cooling; and tea cup/s. Now that you have the tea set, this is how the actual ceremony is done:

1. Boiled water is poured into the tea set (tea pot, tea bowl and tea cup/s) to warm the utensils. The water is then discarded.

2. The right amount of dried tea leaves are placed in the pot.

3. Hot water is allowed to cool in the tea bowl.

4. Warmed water is gently poured into the pot with the tea leaves and allowed to brew for about 2-3 minutes.

5. Water from the teapot is then poured back to the tea bowl to mix it evenly and is poured into the cups.

5 comments:

Emma said...

i've seen a japanese tea ceremony, and it is really very complex with all the bowing and the turning of the cup, etc. , korean tea ceremony is very simple.

kobe_bear said...

yes, its really quite simple as compared to the japanese tea ceremony

Gomushin Girl said...

it would be incorrect to call the Japanese ceremony more complex and the Korean one more simple. Having studied it, there's nothing simple about it . . . the Japanese version is better known and more rigidly ritualized, that's all.
There's a few errors in proceedure here, too . .
The water isn't boiling - the best quality teas are brewed at only 50-60 centigrade, and even the lower quality teas are brewed with water that is below the boiling point. Hot water isn't in the tea bowl to cool, but to warm it to the proper temperature - the same as all the other ceramics in the dagi (not cha-kee), including tea pot and cups. And if you brew the tea for 2-3 minutes you'll ruin it - brew time is generally under a minute, particularly with high quality teas usually used for the ceremony. The first brew is served directly from the pot, and is not poured into the tea bowl. Second and third rounds are poured into the tea bowl, and oftentimes poured into cups by the guests themselves.

Gomushin Girl said...

And the minimum equipment generally used would include:
the teapot
tea bowl
tea cups (3 or 5 in most sets)
tray
tea caddy
spoon or scoop for the tea
slops bowl
covering cloth
tea towel

kobe_bear said...

thanks for taking time to read my blog and pointing out some errors in my post.

i guess i have to tell my korean friend that there are some errors in the procedure of the tea ceremony she taught me.

i would just like to point out a few things. i think i mentioned that the boiled water is used to warm the utensils and this will be discarded. this is not the water to be used for making the tea.

when my friend demonstrated the tea ceremony, we brewed the tea leaves for 3 minutes and it turned out just fine. i guess the water's temperature was just right. i was made to understand that the brewing time depends on the tea used and it can be anywhere from 20 seconds to 3 minutes.

i think you might want to see this article i read on tea ceremony from the Seoul Government's website. This is the site: http://english.visitseoul.net/visit2007en/activities/livingtraditions/livingtraditions.jsp?cid=116&sid=542

again, thank you very much for your time and for your comments, it's highly appreciated.