Boseong Tea Festival

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Korea has all sorts of festivals and lately it seems like anything can become a festival to bring in more tourism (and it works too!). This weekend became a splendid 4-day weekend since it was also Children’s Day (a national holiday in Korea). As a lover of tea, and just to do something on a long weekend, a few friends and I decided to head to the annual Boseong Tea Festival (보성 다향제) before making our way to Busan.

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I’ve never actually seen how tea is made or picked. I never cared to know, actually. I knew the idea of the process: pick some leaves. Dry them out. But seeing how it’s done and doing it yourself makes you see it a little differently. We were rushed for time, so we opted not to purchase a basket to fill with tea leaves. Plus we would have then had to go to the tents in the valley and pound out and roast the tea leaves by hand for however long that would’ve taken. You can see a photo of the process below. In the third panel, an ajumma1 shows us how fresh tea leaves are put into these massive heated iron bowls. She then squats down (Korean squat of course with your heels on the ground) and proceeds to toss the leaves and press them to remove all moisture. This process is repeated until they have become the tea you put into your drink…

 

I do intend to go back to Boseong when they’re not having a tea festival. There was too many people and it was very warm. It’s only an hour and a half away from Gwangju. It’d be nice to go back and calmly pick and make tea. The tea that was most available was 녹차, or green tea. Very high quality tea.

Since we were a large group of foreigners, one tea stand called us over to sit down and try some of their tea. Of course cameras were produced and our photos were taken. Many people love taking promotional photos with your “typical” foreigners in them. It can get annoying, but fortunately we were compensated with very tasty tea and our own bags of tea given to us free from the very nice ajusshi 2.

  1. Word for older Korean woman
  2. Word for older Korean man

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Dad - Cool. Never knew that stuff about tea either. Who were the other women?

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