Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The famous Korean Tea Ceremony

The Korean tea ceremony is called 다례. The purpose of the ceremony is to create a relaxing atmosphere for conversing and enjoying tea. A normal tea ceremony includes a host and guests. The host heats the tea, and while the tea is heating, small talk is made. The Korean tea ceremony has been greatly influenced by Buddhism, especially in terms of meditation. Tea ceremonies are still in practice today, especially among college clubs.

Tea Museum at Insadong displaying varities of tea.

Depending on the season, different types of earthenware cups are used. In the winter, the cups are typically taller so as to prevent the tea from getting cold faster. Traditionally, tea leaves were rare and only available to the upper classes. With the ready availability of tea leaves, more people are now able to enjoy a Korean tea ceremony. Green tea (녹차) is the preferred choice, but black tea (홍차) is also served as well.

People enjoying at the tea house Insadong

The Korean teas are categorized by taste, smell, and consistency. Teas are served in coordination with the season, the occasion, and the region. Mostly, natural well water is used. However, in Jeju island, the tea may have a certain saltiness as the region is surrounded by ocean water. The qualties of the tea should exude are the Buddhist principles of tranquility, respectfulness, simplicity and purity.

People still beleive that the man most responsible for developing the craze for tea ceremony in Korea is a monk by the name of 효당(whose civil name was Choi Beom-Sul) . He is officially the foremost famous Korean tea master. He devoted his life to furthering the awareness of tea and tea ceremonies. The first Korean book on tea was published by him, and he founded the first tea association in Korea.
He was the Buddhist monk, the advocate of an independent Korean cultural, national identity, the founder of schools, the quiet opponent of dictators, the friend of dissidents, the communitarian visionary and of course the tea master .

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