Korean Tea Ceremony

Darye "etiquette for tea" or "day tea rite" has been practiced by the Korean people for thousands of years and has recently seen a revival in its practice, as a way for Koreans to find relaxation and harmony in their fast paced lives.

Tea was originally offered to an ancestral god, later offerings were made in Buddhist temples to the spirits of revered monks. In the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) the royal Yi family and the aristocracy used  two different rituals: the Day Tea Rite as a common daytime ceremony and a Special Tea Rite for specific occasions.

Equipment used varies from stoneware to ceramic to metal ware, a wide mouthed bowl is used to cool the boiled water (green tea, which requires cooler water, is usually the tea of choice).  Then the water is poured into a teapot.  The tea is then poured into smaller, matching bowls/cups with covers. The bowls would not be filled in one pouring, but usually in 3 pourings, a small amount at a time, so as to spread the flavour evenly through the bowls showing equanimity.

Koreans prefer a more natural approach to tea than the Chinese or Japanese, there is a lot of variance in the design of the teahouse, garden and entries.  Teaware styles and choice of tea vary from region to region as does what snacks or food is served.

So how do they make their tea?

The room is set with a low wooden table and the host sits on one side the guests on the opposite side. As the water is boiled over a wood fire the host starts the conversation. The teapot and bowls are then warmed and tea placed inside the pot, the water poured over then brought immediately to where it is served. After the tea is steeped to correct amount of time for the tea it is poured into the decanting bowl. From here it is poured into the tea bowls. To create good luck the tea is poured by a tea hostess into warmed bowls a small distance above the bowl.

Everyone waits for the host to pick up his cup first then everyone drinks and talks until the tea is finished.  This can take several hours, but is very relaxing and sociable. A good way to get to know each other.

Tea went out of favour for a while in Korea, but is now coming back as people realise the health benefits of tea and become increasingly aware of their traditional culture.

In 1981 the Panyaro Institute for the Promotion of the Way of Tea (as it is now know) was founded and in 1995 a formal graduation ceremony was established for those who had completed the full course of study at the institute.  These ceremonies are now held each year.

Korean Tea Ceremony Video

Sit back and relax while watching an excellent presentation of the Korean Tea Ceremony below.

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