First Tea in Korea

 It's important to know that central to the Korean approach to tea is an easy and natural coherence, with fewer formal rituals, fewer absolutes, greater freedom for relaxation, and more creativity in enjoying a wider variety of teas, services, and conversation. 

 According to Korean collection of legends, folktales "Three Kingdoms", In III century AD the legendary wife of King Suro queen Heo Hwang-ok, brought the Camellia sinensis tea plant from China to Korea. She planted it on Baegwolsan mountain that borders with the city of Changwon.  

It is a widely held belief that the systematic planting of tea bushes began with the introduction of tea culture to the Buddhist monks some centuries later. Here is why some of the earliest Buddhist temples in Korea, claim to be the birthplace of Korean tea culture. 

The official beginning of import of Chinese tea products started during the reign of Queen Seondeok of Silla (631‒647), with jeoncha tea also famous as doncha tea, coin tea or money tea. 

In 828 Camellia sinensis tea plants spread throughout the country ,when King Heungdeok received seeds from the Tang Empire. After trying the tea he sent seeds to be planted on the Jirisan mountain. During these times tea was usually offered to the Buddha and during spiritual ceremonies. 

 During the reign of King Myeongjong (1131‒1202) Tea culture continued to prosper. Tea offering was a part of the most significant national ceremonies, and tea towns were formed around temples.

The first evidence of tea shops and tea as a business in Korea is from 1123, and the city of Goryeo, where coins were accepted at tea and wine shops.

During the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), Korean tea culture set its beginning. The royal family and aristocracy used tea for simple rituals, a practice referred to as darye which is translated as "etiquette for tea". 

 Wedding ceremonies also included tea offerings. The practice of packing tea into small cakes, which was popular in Korea until the XIX century

 In 1895, during King Gojong grocery stores began to have tea rooms as an addition to the main shops, and the first modern tea houses were established in the early 1920s. In these places best local water was used to make the tea, and some of the best Korean teahouses had their own small springs. Water was brought to boil above a wood fire, poured into a teapot and brought immediately to service.