The Korean tea ceremony or Darye is a traditional form of tea ceremony practised in Korea. Darye literally refers to "etiquette for tea" or "day tea rite" and has been kept among Korean people for a few thousand years. The main focus of the Korean tea ceremony is the ease and naturalness of enjoying tea within an easy formal setting.
Tea Used in the Korean Tea Ceremony
The earliest kinds of tea used in tea ceremonies were heavily pressed cakes of black tea, the equivalent of aged pu-erh tea still popular in China. Vintages of tea were respected, and tea of great age imported from China had certain popularity at court. However, importation of tea plants by Buddhist monks brought a more delicate series of teas into Korea, and the tea ceremony. While green tea, "Chaksol" or "Chugno", is most often served, other teas such as "Byeoksoryung" Chunhachoon, Woojeon, Jakseol, Jookro, Okcheon, as well as native chrysanthemum tea, persimmon leaf tea, or mugwort tea may be served at different times of the year. Korean teas were divided into the five different tastes: bitterness, sweetness, astringency, saltiness and "sourness". Aging is rare and most teas are consumed as fresh as possible, with particular note to freshness and new harvests.
Procedure of the Korean Tea Ceremony
In Korean tea ceremony, the tea master prepares the tea in a small teapot and serves it in tiny bowls or cups to the guests who bow to each other before admiring the visual beauty of the liquor, enjoying the aroma and savoring the tea’s flavor. Tea is poured from the teapot that is held a certain distance above the warmed cups or bowls to create bubbles in the tea. The bubbles are said to bring good luck. Several infusions are made from one measure of leaf and when all the tea has been drunk, the guests again bow to each other and to their host and take their leave.
Korean tea ceremonies follow the seasons, and the ceramics and metal ware used vary. Most bowls and cups are made with clay, and decorated with pretty pictures and pattern in a natural style.
Summer tea equipment includes shallow bowls called katade that were 5 cm tall and 12 cm wide. The dimensions exposed a maximum surface area to aid in cooling boiled water. Hot water would be poured into the bowls, allowed to cool a bit, and then poured into a teapot. With two hands, the tea would be poured into smaller matching cups with covers. The tea was drunk by lifting the cup cover while drinking so as not to show the open mouth. Tea would be taken cool.
Autumn and winter tea equipment consists of taller and narrower bowls called irabo. These bowls are typically spiral in shape with a high rim. They are designed to contain and maintain heat. Tea made within that bowl would then be poured into heated teapots and poured centered over a smaller matching cup with cover. Tea would be taken hot.