|Tea area in Boseong|
As lots of you realize, I went on an unbelievable journey to South Korea led by Yoon Hee Kim, the place I had the chance to satisfy tea farmers, spend time in tea fields, and even make my very own tea! As an American tea blogger that has by no means traveled to Asia earlier than, it was a life-changing journey.
After this 8-day tea and culinary tour, I’ve a lot to share but it surely’s been powerful to get my emotions into phrases. I’ve determined to interrupt it down into a number of posts. I not too long ago learn an article about Mr. Rogers, and in it he was quoted saying ‘Point out the sweetness when you’ll be able to’. So I made a decision this primary article can be concerning the magnificence in everybody we met. The folks that create Korean tea. I hope you may get a glimpse of what it felt like to satisfy such caring, devoted tea individuals.
The Korean Tea Farmers and Producers
The individuals we met have a humble sense of satisfaction. They all have a deep respect for tea, and take nice pleasure in sharing what they do with others. Tea tastings that ought to have lasted for 30 minutes ended up going for a number of hours, as there was a lot to inform us, and everybody needed to share their lovely teas. Here are just some of the individuals we met:
I liked assembly the many individuals on the Borim Tea farm and analysis heart in Boesong. A lovely facility the place we felt proper at dwelling, I had my first expertise right here strolling by tea fields, and plucking leaves and flowers. We got a lesson within the historical past of Korean tea, and I realized a lot! I laughed after we realized concerning the ‘bromance’ between two historical Korean tea students (extra on that quickly!).
|steamed leaves able to be pounded for ddoek cha|
One of my favourite actions at Borim was studying how you can make our personal ddoek cha (cake fashion tea), the place we pounded steamed leaves in an enormous vessel that appeared like an over-sized mortar and pestle, then formed the leaves into desserts (mine weren’t essentially the most uniform, however I had a lot enjoyable!), and left them to dehydrate (I’ll be writing a extra in-depth put up about Korean teas, together with those we made).
We additionally had the chance to make our personal tea flower liquor. We took the tea flowers we plucked within the fields and added them to a bottle with soju. In a number of quick weeks I’ll have particular liquor to make cocktails with! Throughout our time at Borim, everybody made certain we have been comfy, and properly fed. One night they even held an outside BBQ the place all the things was grilled: numerous seafood and meats, veggies, even rice desserts and chestnuts.
I’ll always remember the cheerful of us at MongJoongSan Dawon, a big tea plantation in Boseong the place the majestic fields are bathed not solely in mist, however in sound. The farmers play music to their tea vegetation to maintain them joyful. It was surreal to be strolling by the misty fields, listening to hauntingly lovely music and feeling the power of the vegetation. We got a experience by the tea fields with a really jovial tea farmer, and we later had a vigorous tea tasting with him and some of the opposite tea backyard staff. Check out my pinned Instagram story about Korean Tea, you can hear the music performed on this tea area.
|korean dasik and a dasik mildew|
Another cherished reminiscence is spending time with the tea grower who confirmed us how you can make Korean tea sweets (dasik). She was affected person as we took the time to roll out various kinds of dough and press them by conventional molds. We later had a beautiful stroll by her tea fields the place she serenaded us with a lovely opera efficiency whereas we sat by a creek. All the tea individuals we met have a connection to the humanities, whether or not it is singing, taking part in an instrument, dance, or different visible arts. I like how they not solely develop tea, however have a connection to it by the humanities as properly.
|Hongcha on the high of a mountain|
Then there’s the tea farmer in Hadong that permit us experience his monorail, somewhat car (and I imply little!!) meant for hauling tea leaves from mountain (not people!). Riding on a tiny platform scraping the perimeters of tea bushes up a mountain was particular a once-in-a-lifetime expertise. We have been laughing and cheering your entire time, whereas desperately holding on! Once we have been on the high, he brewed cup after cup of hong cha for us, whereas we gazed on the sloping tea fields under us. Drinking tea in nature is a key a part of the Korean tea expertise. Korean culture is deeply linked to nature, and it’s expressed in each method doable.
In Hadong, we met the proprietor of BuTea who launched us to his household. After exhibiting us his tea manufacturing space, his younger son drew us photos as we sipped tea. We additionally loved treats and his spouse and daughter had ready for us to eat. Snacks saved showing as we had increasingly tea, and the little boy shyly sat close to us whereas all of us chatted. It was such a candy afternoon.
|right here I’m making an attempt to roll tea leaves|
While in Hadong we additionally went to a tea farm and analysis and schooling heart the place we processed our personal inexperienced tea! It was such enjoyable to get our arms on the leaves, and discover ways to pan fireplace and roll it. I knew making tea was a laborious course of, however doing only a small little bit of it actually confirmed me how a lot effort and time it takes.
Before my journey, most individuals requested me if I used to be happening a ‘inexperienced tea’ tour, as Korea is usually recognized for inexperienced tea. But my favourite teas of the journey turned out to be hwang cha (semi oxidized teas additionally known as balhyocha) and hong cha (black tea). We additionally tasted the ddoek cha I discussed earlier, and fermented teas together with numerous inexperienced teas. I am unable to wait to speak about them additional.
Tea Chefs and Artisans
While in a Southern province, we met a grasp baker of Korean sweets who owns a tea home together with her husband. She creates the entire meals, and he constructed your entire place and maintains the gardens. She welcomed us with a tour, explaining each little element of the tea home, and saved bringing us added additional treats. We realized concerning the artwork of Korean tea snacks. This tea home was such a particular place, tucked in a distant rural space that I by no means would have discovered alone. Every little brick and stone was introduced in by her husband, and meaningfully positioned. The tea home is a real marvel.
|lovely Korean tea home|
We met a well-known potter that invited us to his studio and insisted on making us infinite cups of tea whereas speaking concerning the historical past of Korean pottery. He taught us the significance of nature in Korean artwork and culture, and all through the journey I used to be capable of see how nature mirrored in each individual we met.
Later within the journey we met a potter and his spouse in Gwangju that not solely spent hours chatting and pouring us tea, however after we needed to rush off to the prepare station, they took the lengthy drive with us, helped carry our baggage, and made certain we have been all safely on the prepare. They did not depart till the prepare departed, waving to us as we pulled out.
I am unable to overlook to say the kindness of our information Yoon Hee, who went above and past to ensure we had a stellar expertise. She drove us all all through the nation, translated each phrase, made certain we have been joyful and comfy. She gave us tea experiences we are going to always remember!
Korean teas may be troublesome to search out within the US, and I really feel lucky to have tasted teas on the farms the place they’re grown and processed. Whether it was a big plantation or a small scale backyard, each tea farmer we met welcomed us with open arms, keen to inform us about their teas and provides us many tastes. When I sip tea I usually take into consideration how many individuals have been concerned in bringing these leaves to me. It’s much more particular now that I’ve met the individuals behind my Korean teas. In the approaching weeks I’ll dive deeper into the Korean tea expertise.