Types of Korean Tea

According to history, Queen Heo Hwang-ok of Geumgwan Gaya, a ruling city-state of ancient Korea, first introduced tea from India. Since then, Korea has become one of the major tea producing regions in the world, adding its own unique touch to the tea industry.

Popular Traditional Korean Tea Varieties

Green Teas (Nokcha)

Unoxidized variety; the most common form of leaf tea in Korea; further classified based on the factors named below:

What time of the year the leaves are plucked:
Ujeon/Woojeon (the first flush, and one of the finest korean teas) Sejak (the second flush) Jungjak (the third flush; more affordable than the earlier plucked varieties)
Daejak (the fourth/final flush)
how the tea leaves are processed:
Leaf tea or Ipcha Roasted/pan-fried tea or Deokkeum-cha/Bucho-cha (e.g. bamboo dew tea) Hyeonmi-nokcha or brown rice green tea (blended tea with roasted rice)
Powdered tea or Garucha/Matcha Steamed tea or Jeungje-cha (e.g. Banya-cha) Remon-nokcha or lemon green tea (blended tea)
Goji chrysanthemum tea (blended sejak green tea)

Yellow Teas (Hwangcha)

Lightly oxidized; production method is similar to the Japanese oolong; produces a light yellow drink with a unique flavor; quite rare and expensive

Black/Red Teas (Hongcha)

Fully oxidized; traditionally known as red tea in Korea; has a stronger flavor with a longer shelf life compared to green tea

Jaekseol-cha (bird’s tongue tea)

Dark/Fermented Teas (Tteokcha)

Fermented over long periods extending up to many years; comes as cakes of different shapes; was the most commonly consumed variety in pre-modern Korea

Borim-cha Doncha/Jeoncha

Herbal Teas

Caffeine-free infusions as they do not contain tea leaves; usually offers a lot of health benefits

Korean Teas Made Using Leaves of Other Plants
Pine leaf tea (Korean pine and red pine needles) Bamboo leaf tea White mountain tea (Labrador tea leaves)

 

Mint tea Dew tea and sweet dew tea (mountain hydrangea leaves) Rosebay tea
Persimmon leaf tea

 

Mugwort tea (common and Korean mugwort leaves) Thyme tea
Rugose rose leaf tea Lotus leaf tea Mulberry leaf tea
Flower Teas
Chrysanthemum tea Dendranthema tea Peach blossom tea
Pagoda flower tea Citrus flower tea Cinnamon flower tea (Chinese cinnamon blossoms)
Dandelion tea Lotus flower tea Magnolia flower tea
Plum flower tea
Fruit Teas
Citrus peel tea Korean plum/Japanese apricot tea Smoked plum tea
Goji berry tea Quince tea Pumpkin tea
Jujube tea (a type of date tea) Five fruit tea (ginkgo, walnut, chestnut, jujube, dried persimmon) Magnolia berry tea (Omija-cha or five-flavor berry tea)
Cornelian cherry tea Yuja  tea or yuzu tea Pomegranate tea
Hardy orange tea Raisin tea (dried Japanese/oriental raisin fruit)
Korean Teas Made with Grains, Seeds, and Beans
Buckwheat tea Sicklepod tea Mung bean tea
Job’s tears tea Barley tea (often served in place of water) Corn tea
Senna tea or senna coffee tea (sickle senna and Chinese senna)
Teas Made with Vegetable and Herbal Roots and Barks
Cinnamon tea Ginger tea Angelica root tea
Solomon’s seal tea Balloon flower root tea Yam tea
Ginseng tea (insam-cha) Red ginseng tea Ginseng root hair tea
Burdock root tea Arrowroot tea Lotus root tea
Teas Made from Other Ingredients or Combination of Two or More Ingredients
Wintermelon tea Kelp tea Mushroom tea
Jeho-tang (smoked plums, white sandalwood, cardamom, honey) Citrus ginger tea (citrus fruits and ginger) Grape tea (grapes, ginger, Korean pear, honey)
Watershield tea (watershield leaves, pine nuts, magnolia berries, honey) Ssanghwa-tang (Rehmannia, white woodland peony, Korean Angelica, Mongolian milkvetch roots with   licorice and cinnamon) Corn silk tea

Bubble tea or boba tea, a cold beverage made with milk, sugar, and tapioca pearls, is quite popular in Korea, though it originated in China.

Apart from all the traditional teas mentioned above, many other varieties and flavors have developed over the years. Herbal teas like Job’s tears are mixed with peanuts, almonds or lemon and ginger for added taste.