This week we’re enjoying a tea ceremony at Shin Old Tea House, a one-hundred-year-old tea house in the Seoul neighbourhood Insadong. Welcome to week 302 (11/17/2016) of Travel Photo Thursday. This was a free tour offered by the Seoul Women’s International Association (SIWA). SIWA provides a variety of tours (some free/some paid). If you’re planning a trip to Seoul, have a look at their website to see what tours they are offering when you’re in the city. I’ve gone on a few of their excursions, and they are always fun and informative. You don’t have to be a member to take a tour. Now, onto the tea ceremony.
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Green Tea Ceremony
Kyunghee, a SIWA member, performed the green tea ceremony and here she is getting ready to bow before she begins.
Korea Tea Ceremony
We learn that there are three sizes of tea leaves, and Kyunghee recommends the medium. Earlier this year I attended the Boseong Tea Festival and had a fantastic time processing my own tea leaves. If you missed that post, here it is.
This is the first pour of the tea ceremony. Notice the piece of wood behind the little plates. That is a tea leaf scoop, and we used one full scoop. The tea is always poured into a serving bowl, and then into the cups. This scoop of tea leaves is good for between seven and nine pours. The second pour is the best. Notice here how the spout on this teapot is very long. According to our hostess, this is not a good thing. The pouring of the tea sounds better when the teapot spout is shorter. If you’ve heard the soothing melodious sound of tea being poured, you know what I mean. A long spout means that the pot is
cheap inexpensive. You can’t blame tea shop owners for not breaking out the best china. I’m sure teapots often end up broken.
Here Kyunghee removes excess water from the pot before preparing another pour. It’s important that no water be left in the pot between pours, or the taste of the tea will be adversely affected. During the tea ceremony, we also learned that the maximum temperature for the water is 90 Cel., and never reboil the water.
A tea ceremony is a calm, elegant, soothing experience. Whether you are in Korea or another Asian country, be sure to experience an Asian tea ceremony when you have the opportunity.
After our tea ceremony, we ordered tea from an extensive menu which included quince, jujube, ginger and plum tea just to name a few. I decided on their ssanghwa tea which is a mixture of 12 -14 herbs. Sounds like it would taste like medicine, but no, it was delicious! We were also treated to some Korean sweets. I’m not usually a big fan of Korean cookies, but these were delightful.
Prices and how to get there:
Opening Hours: 10:30 – 23:00
Price: Starts from ₩6,000
Address:164 Gwanhun-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
서울시 종로구 관훈동 164
Phone: +82 2-732-5257
Directions: Take the subway to Anguk Station, Line #3. Take the Insadong exit. Check the signs in the subway. It’s either exit 3 or 6. Turn left onto Insadong street. The cafe is at the end of an alley off to your right after you walk past the shop Ssamzigil.
You’ll see this sign.
Have you ever experienced a tea ceremony in Korea or an Asian Tea Ceremony in another Asian country? Tell us in the comments.
You might also enjoy the post ‘Korean Temple Food’.
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Linking up this week to Weekend Travel Inspiration (2/19/2017)
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