Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Tea Culture of Korea

The Korean tea ceremony is known as "Darye", Darya is a traditional form of tea ceremony practiced in Korean culture. "Darye" literally refers to "etiquette for tea" or "day tea rite" and has been kept among Korean people for a few thousand years.
Tea ceremonies are now being revived in Korea as a way to find relaxation and harmony in the fast-moving new Korean environment.

The first historical record documenting the offering of tea to an ancestral god describes a rite in the year 661 in which a tea offering was made to the spirit of King Suro, the founder of the Geumgwan Gaya Kingdom (42-562))according to the wikipedia). Records from the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) show that tea offerings were made in Buddhist temples to the spirits of revered monks.

Korean tea ceremonies follow according to the seasons along with this ceramics and metalware also used varities. In thia process religious traditions were quite influenced. Stoneware was commonly used, ceramic more frequently, and made in provincial kilns, with porcelain rare, imperial porcelain with dragons the rarest.

According to the season wise for example, Summer tea equipment consisted of "katade" bowls that were 5 cm tall and 12 cm wide. The dimensions exposed a maximum surface area to aid in cooling boiled water. Hot water would be poured into the bowls, allowed to cool a bit, then poured into a teapot. The water was cooled because pouring boiling hot water over tea leaves extracts too much of the bitter taste and results in a bitter tea. With two hands, the tea would be poured into smaller matching cups with covers, placed on a rough wood or lacquer table. The tea was drunk by lifting the cup cover while drinking so as not to show the open mouth. Tea would be taken cool.

On the other hand Autumn and winter tea equipment consisted of taller narrower bowls, such as the "irabo" style, that would contain and maintain heat. Typically of spiral construction, shallow, with a high rim. Once again tea made within that bowl would then be poured into heated teapots, and poured centered over a smaller matching cup with cover. Tea would be taken hot. And once again repeatedly poured in small spurts from cup to cup so as to prevent flavour concentrated in one cup.

Varities of Tea
The earliest kinds of tea was used in tea ceremonies were heavily pressed cakes of black tea, the equivalent of aged pu-erh tea which is still popular in China. Vintages of tea were respected, and tea of great age imported from China had a certain popularity at court. However, importation of tea plants by Buddhist monks brought a more delicate series of teas into Korea, and the tea ceremony.

While green tea, "chaksol" or "chugno", is most often served, other tea such as "Byeoksoryung" Chunhachoon, Woojeon, Jakseol, Jookro, Okcheon, as well as native chrysanthemum tea, persimmon leaf tea, or mugwort tea may be served at different times of the year.
Korean teas are divided into the five different tastes: bitterness, sweetness, astringency, saltiness and "sourness". Aging is rare and most teas are consumed as fresh as possible, with particular note to new harvests.

Tea regions were famous for producing teas with characteristic compositions of the five taste elements: Jeju island, contemporarily, has teas with more salt in them due to ocean winds; other elements are brought out by different means of cooking the leaves, or hardness of water.

Teas also evoke four kinds of thought for Korean Buddhists: peacefulness, respectfulness, purity and quietness. Those teas that bring out more of these qualities are prized. That's why Korean people still follow the tea traditions quite strongly and and served when the guest comes at the home.


C. said...

The tea is look different. What about the taste? Is it taste like Indian tea or not?

hanjabam said...

Its good to read and learn about the culture of Korean Tea. I really apprecitae your effort but what i will suggest,(if allowed) is to bring and compare the culture of Tea of the Meiteis of Manipur and that of Korea. This will make the people of Korea in particular and your readers in general aware of the culture of Manipur. The Meitei as you know has a good culture of tea. I beleive you are better in this position. I only know how to drint either by offering when we visit someone or by buying in small keithel.

Yaisana Huidrom said...

Well for that I need to do some research about the manipuri culture regarding on the importance of tea..cos simply I cannot mentioned.

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