Today, there are various drinks available to people to choose from, and people are always looking for something to drink on hot days. Look around, students and faculty often come to campus carrying a drink. The drink is likely a coffee or a cool lemonade, but what about trying something new? Too many coffees will no longer wake you up. Too much lemonade becomes just like eating ice. Then, what about a cup of tea? Sound odd? After visiting the Beautiful Tea Museum, you will surely lose your desire for a coffee or soda and opt for a cup of tea.
A Museum for Tea
At one time in Korea, people were all about tea. Many people drank tea and took pride in a traditional tea ceremony that made the host and guest feel a sense of peace. However, over time, this desire for tea has been forgotten and left behind. It’s sad to view tea culture as old-fashioned. Because tea offers many benefits, it deserves to be brought back to modern culture. Tea helps people lose weight and relaxes one from anxiety due to stress. Also, tea is very flavourful and aromatic.
Don’t know which tea you should drink? The Beautiful Tea Museum can introduce you to all sorts of teas. The museum displays various antiques and old relics related to former traditional tea cultures and drinking. It also features a special gallery that highlights the work of young ceramists and a teashop that introduces visitors to over 110 kinds of world teas. The Beautiful Tea Museum is in the shape of a Hanok or Korean traditional house, so when you enter the museum, you will feel like you have just been transported back in time to the Joseon Period. The museum was built to promote the culture of tea and many foreigners and local Koreans who have visited the museum said they felt at peace and experienced a sense of tranquility from exposure to the culture of tea drinking at a Hanok.
The Beautiful Tea Museum is located in Insa-dong, a street that prides itself on keeping traditional culture in Korea. It’s near the subway exist at Jonggak Station. You can also get to the museum by taking No.262 bus from Sookmyung Women’s University. Because the Beautiful Tea Museum is located down a narrow ally in Insa-dong, you might want to use a map, just to be safe.
The Tea that You Don’t Know
Upon entering the museum, the first thing you will notice is how small it is. Perhaps if it wasn’t named ‘the Beautiful Tea Museum’, you might just consider it another Hanokstyle cafe. However, the museum is no ordinary cafe. In the museum, you will be surprised by the multitude of teas and tea ceremony sets. Also, lining the walls are scrolls of poetry that blend perfectly with each kind of tea. After looking around the museum, you can go to the center of the museum or enjoy a tea. The tea sold at the museum are so diverse, unlike at regular cafes, for example there is cherry blossom tea, black tea ice flakes, wheat tea yogurt frappe, and so on. Indeed, the price of tea here is much more expensive than at a regular cafe, but it is served in a unique manner. It is served using a tea ceremony set. Enjoying a tea from a tea ceremony set makes one feel at peace, and you can sense the days of times gone when people lived in Hanok homes and drank tea. The museum also sells various teas like green tea, black tea, china tea, herbal tea and flower tea.
The Beautiful Tea Museum offers visitors a chance to view three distinct galleries dedicated to tea: Korea, China, and Tibet. However, these days, only the Korean gallery is open to visitors. In the Korean gallery, visitors can observe and learn about traditional Korean tea culture. Tea culture in Korea differs with each era, and the museum sheds light on this for visitors. For instance, during the Gaya era, earthenware cups were used because during the Gaya era, artisans developed earthenware cup that kept the temperature of the tea. During the Goryo era, tea diversified as this era was influenced by China. Also during this era, Korean artisans developed its tea ceramics to create various forms. However, it was during the Joseon era when tea culture truly flourished. In fact, most of the Korean tea customs come from the Joseon era.
Experience Tea at the Tea Museum
Although the Beautiful Tea Museum isn’t like your typical museum nor is it like a typical cafe, if you would like something new to experience, this reporter recommends it whole-heartedly. You can enjoy a peaceful cup of tea from a traditional tea ceremony set and spend the time people-watching. Watching others enjoy themselves over tea will increase your pleasure and love of tea. Moreover, being inside a Hanok will create a sense of the tranquility of the past. Take time out from your busy schedule to go to the museum and lose yourself in the beauty of the silence over a lovely cup of tea.