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[Weekender] A new leaf

Oct 26. 2019
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By The Korea Herald
By Lee Sun-young

Amid proliferation of coffee shops, boutique teahouses pop up, presenting a slower and healthier lifestyle.

Coffee has a formidable grip on the daily lives of Koreans, but tea is slowly and quietly gaining traction.

Social media-savvy hipsters wait for weeks for a tea ceremony experience. Teahouses that claim to sell not just a cuppa, but a lifestyle, are emerging as trendy hot spots.

Some see in it as a counteraction to the Starbucks-driven explosion of coffee culture here. Others speak of a refreshing return to the country’s own sipping traditions.

“I think we’ve grown too accustomed to quickly grabbing a latte on the go and quenching our thirst on hot summer days with iced coffee drinks. But tea is a new thing,” Min Yu-ri, 42, said, adding she was in the process of switching from coffee to tea.

Making tea drinking feel new, despite its thousand-year history here, are a breed of teahouses that source premium leaves, create unique blends and present them with a new concept.

Tea-based cocktails and cold fare are on the offer, while some shops match tea with yoga and books.

“Tea is more of a lifestyle. One that is slow, simple and healthy,” said Ryu Gyeonghyeong, general manager of tea bar Altdif.


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