Sunday, March 29, 2009
A reader asked, and I thought about what really makes authentic Korean tea. There are teas that we drink on special occasions. On the other hand, there are couple of "common" teas that Koreans drink on a daily bais in place of regular tap or filtered water.
If I am asked what makes Korean tea, it would be the common teas, such as roasted barley tea or roasted corn tea. We drink them on a daily basis without even realizing it's a tea. This is equivalent of Jasmine tea in Chinese restaurant or green tea in Japanese restaurant, I guess.
Roasted corn tea or roasted barley tea is very easy to make. Simply add roasted corn or roasted barley to boiling water and brew them for a few minutes until the water turns light gold in color, and strain and discard boiled corn or barley afterward. They are also available in tea bags.
Besides roasted corn tea or roasted barley tea, there are other more traditional Korean teas. Many of them are fruit-based or leaf-based (e.g., dried jujube tea, citron tea, persimon leaf tea, ginger tea, etc), and each of them has very unique aroma and taste.
I would like to add that green tea, especially with roasted brown rice, is becoming another popular common tea in Korea with its acclaimed health benefits. The province of Bosung in Korea is supposed to be a huge tourist attraction these days for its breathtaking view of vast green tea fields. We are looking forward to checking it out when we visit Korea next time.