Tea Tour Korea
The above image illustrates both wild and semi-wild tea growing side by side on the mountain slopes of Jerisan the ‘holy mountain’ of Korean tea. These tea bushes are descendants of tea seeds from China planted in 828 CE. But were these the first teas to be planted in Korea?
Korean tea is both humble and captivating. Korea is home of some of the best green teas in the world and wonderful balhyochas that are receiving rave reviews. At the same time Korean tea ware artists are extraordinary. They create tea ware that truly serve.
Our tour record is strong, we have hosted a number of very knowledgeable tea connoisseurs from several countries on previous tours – some more than once. That our tours exist at all is a testament to the quality of our tours. Nearly all participants learn of our tours from those who have been with us on previous tours.
Each year we plan our TeaTour Korea to visit amazing festivals. But because festival dates change, it is impossible to know in advance whicg festival(s) we might visit. What are the possible festivals? We could visit the International Mungyeong Teabowl Festival, experience the exciting and greatly anticipated Hadong Tea Festival in the heart of Jerisan the ‘holy mountain’ for Korean tea and attend Korea’s internationally renowned World Ceramic Exposition GOCEF and or Korea’s exciting Lotus Lantern Festival. On all of our tea tours participants will enjoy personal meetings with some of the best artisan tea producers and tea ware artists in Korea. This year in particular will be a truly exciting adventure.
Korea is rich in both artisan tea producrs and teaware artists and we will visit many of the best. Will you be one of the 6-9 participants? If so, you will be visiting with some of the most important artisan tea producers in four of Korea’s most important tea producing regions.
Sadly, the famous artisan tea producer Yi Ho Yeong (above) passed away early in 2016. But her family and disciples are continuing her tea legacy.
We will arrive a little later in the ‘pick’ which means more of their first picks will be available and you will have early choice of a broader range of their finest teas. The balhyochas should also be available. Korea’s delicious and unusual ttokchas may still be in production. They will still be picking and processing their teas, and you will pick and process your own. Will it be at a famous tea temple or with a highly respected artisan tea producer?
The beautiful Korean tea ceremony will be presented to you by one of Korea’s most renown tea masters. You will discuss Korea’s tea history with Brother Anthony co-author of both The Korean Way of Tea and Korean Tea Classics – perhaps the two most important books on Korean tea. (Bring your copies and have them signed). In addition, David Mason another authority on Korean tea and many other aspects of Korean culture may join us. He was one of the first to introduce Korean tea to the Western world and knows Korean Buddhism like few others. Among the tea ware artists we will visit are 3 Human Intangible Cultural Treasures and some of the more interesting and important tea ware masters in Korea. You will among the few Western visitors to visit Jeong Jae Yeun also known as ‘Halmone Hwangcha’ or ‘Grandmother Hwangcha’, who epitomizes the Korean Tea Grandmothers who for generations have made wonderful teas. Jeong Jae Yeun’s delicious balhyocha was discovered by monks who told one of our friends . . . and a tea legend began.
Among the teaware artists we will visit is Chan Han Bong, one of the ‘grandfathers’ of Korean teaware. He recently opened a museum on Korean teaware. We will visit Park Jong Il (above) the very spiritual teaware artist who built his home and studio of raw clay and trees he cut in the mountains – thus continuing this ancient potter’s tradition.
This tea tour will also visit Gimhae, and attempt to uncover a unique Korean tea mystery. Gimhae is famous in Korea for their Jangguncha. “Is Janguncha really made from Assamica tea leaves growing in Korea?” There are those Korean authorities who deny this claim. Think of the ramifications if it is Assamica tea! If so, are these tea leaves from bushes originating in India? If so, did the first of these bushes come to Korea in 48CE with an Indian princess who married the first Gaya King? Think of the ramifications of that! Did camellia sinensis tea arrive in Korea hundreds of years before tea arrived in Japan?
Our TeaTour Korea adventures are always unique Korean tea tours. Consider this: Tea Tour Korea will visit amazing festivals, have personal meetings with some of best artisan tea producers and tea ware artists in Korea, experience the Korean tea ceremony hosted by one of Korea’s masters, you will pick and produce your own tea plus possibly solve a Korean tea mystery. It will be an exciting adventure. Will you be one of the 6-9 participants? If so, you will be visiting with some of the most important artisan tea producers in Korea and will also be visiting with some of the most interesting and important tea ware artists and tea masters in Korea.
It is always difficult to know exactly when to hold our tea tour. One year large numbers of tea bushes had been damages due to the harsh winter. Another year the weather was very mild and they picked early. We have also hosted TeaTour Korea a little too early, unfortunately interrupting their most important early picking and processing. This year our timing should be perfect. Although the first picks will be complete, you will witness the picking and processing of their teas, as well as pick and process your own tea. More importantly a wider variety of tea will be available.
You will discuss Korea’s tea history with Brother Anthony co-author of both The Korean Way of Tea and Korean Tea Classics – perhaps the two most important books on Korean tea. (Bring your copies and have them signed).
The price and final itinerary have been delayed because of festival schedule changes and other events in Korea beyond our control. The price will be based on very low or no profit and will depend on the actual number of participants.
Please Contact us to be placed on our list to receive information as the tour develops.
We will continue to plan various types of tours to Korea and are developing a way to provide these tours beyond our personal involvement. So, this may be your last opportunity to travel with us. Our work will continue. Are you following us on Facebook?
Tentative Dates Tea Tour Korea 2015
0. 4 M option pending
0. 5 T Arrive In Korea
This is now a 17 day tour. It is open for 6-9 possibly 10 guests. These guests will have input into some of the aspects of the tour.
17. 22 F Leave for Home
Arthur K. J. Park
Morning Crane Tea