Saturday, May 20, 2017 - 8:00am to Sunday, May 21, 2017 - 8:00pm
206,000W for members and 248,000W for non-members
Korean tea can only be made from late in April until the end of May. After that, the leaves of the tea bushes lose their flavor. This annual visit to an individual tea-maker offers a unique opportunity to participate in the processes by which tea is made, and to taste the freshly dried leaves in the beautiful surroundings of Jiri-san mountain, as well as sampling some delicious local food.
We leave Seoul by bus and arrive near Hwaeom-sa temple (Gurye-gun, South Jeolla province) in time for a simple lunch of Taseulgi (marsh snail) sujaebi (or a very simple bibimbap for non-snail- eaters). Hwaom-sa temple, at the foor of Nogodan (1500 meters) in the westernmost corner of Jiri Mountain, is one of the oldest temples in Korea, founded in 544. It is one of several temples that claim to be the place where tea (sent by the Chinese emperor) was planted in Korea. It is surrounded by wild tea growing on the hillsides amidst bamboo groves.
We will meet a tea master in his small tea garden. After arriving we will first drink some tea, then learn briefly how the fresh shoots used for tea-making are picked. It takes most people a day to pick a couple of hundred grams. Time being limited, we will then work to process (by hand) tea leaves that have been picked for us in advance, under the guidance of experienced tea makers. This is not just hard work, it takes great care. The leaves for green tea are softened in a heated cauldron, then taken to a table and rubbed, then returned to a gentler fire, rubbed again . . . the main thing is to ensure that they do not scorch. Truly a hands-on experience. Several layers of gloves will be provided! Alternatively there is ‘yellow’ (‘fermented’) tea, following a very different process. Each participant will receive packets of the tea we make, once the processing is complete.
At the end of the Saturday afternoon, we will go up to tour Hwaeom-sa temple and we will watch the beating of the drum, the ringing of the bell etc followed by the evening chanting in the great hall, which you are invited to attend. We will then go down for a special supper in a family restaurant near our hotel and spend the evening relaxing together.
The next morning, after a copious Korean breakfast, we will first take a stroll and enjoy some more tea. We will then drive to Seonam-sa temple, about 40 minutes away, one of the most beautiful temples in Korea, where there are also tea-fields, then enjoy a scenic drive above a lake to enjoy a special lunch, before returning to Seoul.
The cost of this tour covers the bus rental, four tasty meals including a special Saturday supper spread, an equally special Sunday lunch, accommodation in double-bed or Korean-style ondol rooms holding 2 people each, and the tea-making experience. Anyone wishing to sleep alone, or wanting to sleep in a bed, should indicate that when registering, there may be an extra charge. Please tell us if you are vegetarian, or have other dietary requirements.
We will leave from Yongsan Post Office by bus (Sin Yongsan subway station stop #429, Blue Line, Exit #1) at 8:00 a.m. Our return time will be approximately 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.