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21+ South Korean Teas to Try (Best Korean Tea)

Tea is common in Korea, because locals drink it not only for its caffeine content, but also for pleasure. Like the Chinese and Japanese, although to a lesser degree, Koreans even practice elaborate tea ceremonies.

If you want to witness such events, you can sometimes see guides demonstrating them for free in any of the 5 Seoul Palaces or a traditional hanok village tea house. One of the most common Korean teas is yujacha, or citron tea, which is a popular tea flavor in any Korean household.

Nowadays, South Korean tea takes many forms, and can be purchased cold or in a bottle. There are even tea-flavored jellies and candies with mild health benefits, all of which are widely available in convenience stores and marts. Below are some of the easiest to find & best Korean teas on the market.

Korean Tea Culture

Way before the Joseon Dynasty, sometime around the Three Kingdoms period (18 BC-AD 660), tea had already made its way to Korea. Merchants established trading links around the 7th century, solidifying its route from China. 

People primarily used tea for memorial rites back then, though it was also a tool to practice etiquette in formal situations, and in spiritual cases, mindfulness meditation. The term used to refer to a traditional Korean tea ceremony is “darye.” 

If you’re curious about how one works, watch the elegant performance of Korean tea master Yeonok Kim in this video. In the centuries since it entered the peninsula, Koreans have considered tea to be a revitalizing drink to ward off headaches, the common cold, and even the stomach flu.

Moreover, all types of tea are beneficial in reducing inflammation, which is the root of almost all chronic disease. Ssanghwacha, for example, is a traditional tea consumed primarily as a medicinal beverage.

It was the main ingredient in herbal baths taken in the morning and at night during the Joseon period. Green tea is the best tea in South Korea, grown primarily in the south of the country, but other types & variations come from fruits, flowers, and roots.

producing fermented teas in Korea

Although people were already practicing wild tea cultivation in Korea in mid-300 BC, it wasn’t until 600 AD (Silla Dynasty) that green tea cultivation began in earnest. The later Goryeo period restricted tea cultivation exclusively to temples and the royal court grounds.

However, during the Joseon period it spread to the Jeolla and Gyeongsang provinces, where it remains popular. Unfortunately the Japanese destroyed most of these fields during the Second World War.

It wasn’t until 1957, when Chang Young Seop revived the Daehan Tea Garden, that tea cultivation in South Korea was once again big business. Daehan Tea Garden is now a large franchise selling high-quality Korean green tea, and the plantation currently stands as one of the most famous tourist spots in Korea. 

Due to the high demand for tea from Korea, almost 6 million tea trees grow throughout the peninsula. Daehan still is the largest tea plantation in Korea, though the Boseong Tea Fields are the busiest in tea production.

The Boseong Tea Fields are also a scenic hiking location, offering beautiful views of the tiered tea terraces and a variety of tea-flavored treats to guests.

green tea churro
Boseong Tea Fields in South Korea

Most Popular Korean Teas

Ottogi Pinenut, Walnut, & Job’s Tears Tea

Type of Tea: Powdered

Only in Korea?: No, OTG New York

Great for all ages, Koreans love this flavored instant tea’s rich and savory taste. The unusual combination of sunflower seeds and peanut sets this tea apart from regular Job’s tears, though keep in mind that it comes with sugar and creamer already added. Many people pair this with street food in the evenings since it’s caffeine-free.

Ottogi Jujube Tea

Type of Tea: Powdered

Only in Korea?: No, Instacart

Jujubes are a rich source of plant fiber and are also very low-calorie. If you’ve never tried jujubes, this Korean jujube tea tastes like apples and can get a bit sweet or tart depending on your taste buds.

Full of vitamin C and fiber, this tea can help boost immunity and stabilize blood sugar levels. But what makes this tea so well-known amongst Koreans is that it’s said to help you sleep better at night.

TiO Iced Tea

Type of Tea: Powdered

Only in Korea?: No, Daebak

Ever wondered what Korean iced tea tastes like? Similar to the American version, this stuff is very light and refreshing. What people love about it is that it doesn’t contain a lot of sugar and has gentle hints of lemon flavor. Even though people can enjoy this year-round, most of it is sold in the summertime.

LENITH Songwon Dandelion Tea

Type of Tea: Tea bags

Only in Korea?: No, Amazon

While some people may think dandelion root is too strong for a tea, due to its inherent bitterness, this brand has found a way to make the taste delicate and mild.

But if you add some fresh mint or lemon balm to the mix, it tastes even better. Plus, if you’re looking to age backwards, this is the best Korean tea to obtain the antioxidants you need to achieve this.

Gohyang Korean Jujube Han Tea

Type of Tea: Tea bags

Only in Korea?: No, Amazon

Another tea made with jujubes and various nuts, this authentic South Korean tea is a comforting and soothing drink locals enjoy at home.

It also has excellent flavor and smell and is packed with many antioxidants thanks to the main ingredient: Korean jujubes. Also, the packaging makes it a great present idea for your tea-loving friends.

Gohyang Cornus Fruit Tea

Type of Tea: Tea bags

Only in Korea?: Yes

Asian medicine practitioners swear by the benefits of the sour Cornus fruit to improve kidney and reproductive system function. This alleged benefit is why women love this drink; because it’s believed to soothe them on days their menstruation hurts and speeds up recovery after an illness.

Gohyang Schizandrae Fructus Tea (오미자)

Type of Tea: Tea bags

Only in Korea?: No, Amazon

The Chinese have long-used the Schisandra plant to make traditional medicine that stimulates the body’s resistance to physical, environmental, and emotional stressors.

But what makes people want to try it in the form of a tea is that it tastes like the five different flavors: sour, sweet, bitter, savory, and salty. In Korea it’s called ‘omija,’ and highly lauded for its complex flavor.

Yuzu Honey Tea Syrup

Type of Tea: Jar syrup

Only in Korea?: No, Gochujar

Yujacha has a fruity scent that makes the whole room smell better. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C, the secret ingredient behind healthy and supple skin. Plus, it helps make your morning oatmeal interesting, especially when paired with yogurt.

Nok Cha Won Korean Red Ginseng Tea

Type of Tea: Jar syrup

Only in Korea?: No, Mighty Depot

If you haven’t tasted Korean ginseng yet, this might be an excellent first experience. That’s because it has honey in the mix, so the sweetness masks the bitterness. Red ginseng is every Korean’s favorite go-to source of vitality, but it is mainly used to help them think clearly in times of great stress.

Best Korean Green Teas

Damtuh Cold Brewed Shine Muscat Green Tea

Type of Tea: Powdered

Only in Korea?: No, Now New World

This cold cup of blended shine muscat and green tea is best enjoyed cool thanks to its tropical fruit flavor, which goes well with the summer weather. Moreover, this combination reinforces the immune system, lowers the risk of kidney diseases, assists in weight loss, and improves brain function.

Nok Cha Won Sonsunuk Cha (Pure Korean Green Tea)

Type of Tea: Tea bags

Only in Korea?: No, Amazon

Nok Cha Won is a famous tea manufacturer known for producing green tea products of the highest quality. Always present in Incheon airport’s Duty Free branch, this is an excellent gift for people who enjoy luxury green tea in the evening, especially since it has a relaxing nutty undertone of Korean tea leaves.

Nok Cha Won Green Tea Powder

Type of Tea: Tea bags

Only in Korea?: Yes

Nok Cha Won not only produces a mean bag of tea, but they also make quality tea powders. The green tea flavor, known worldwide by the Japanese word matcha, is a crowd favorite since it is neither too sweet nor bitter. It tastes great with milk, or you can use it to make a creamy matcha latte.

Best Korean Teas for Digestion

Dong Suh Buckwheat Tea

Type of Tea: powdered/tea bags/loose leaf tea/bottled or canned

Only in Korea?: No, Amazon

Buckwheat tea, or maemil cha, is a caffeine-free tea with a toasty smell and nutty, sweet flavor that is best enjoyed hot. Locals love this more than water because it contains phenolic acid, which aids digestion and reduces inflammation in the intestines.

Buckwheat also contains rutin, a healthy plant pigment that helps you better absorb nutrients from fruits with Vitamin C.

Teazen Kombucha

Type of Tea: powdered/tea bags/loose leaf tea/bottled or canned

Only in Korea?: No, Amazon

Kombucha is known for aiding in food digestion & weight-loss properties but it was famous in Korea for an entirely different reason. During his live, BTS Jungkook promoted Teazen’s kombucha to his fans.

As a result, there was a shortage of said tea in Korea. It still holds its reputation as one of the best teas in Korea since anything BTS still attracts people’s attention, despite the band recently announcing their hiatus until 2025.

Citron Tea (Yuzu Syrup Tea)

Type of Tea: Jar Syrup

Only in Korea?: Yes

On days when your fingertips feel cold, Korean people crave the taste of hot fruit teas, like 유자 tea (yuzu tea). This scent delightfully lingers at the tip of your nose and comforts you as soon as the sweetness enters your mouth.

This fruit paste is also rich in Vitamin C, citric acid, and folic acid, which do wonders for your skin. When I taught English in Korea, my students loved to have a little glass of yuja tea with their afternoon snacks.

Ottogi Bellat’e Honey Lemon/Grapefruit Black Tea

Type of Tea: Powdered

Only in Korea?: Yes

Best enjoyed cold; the Bellat’e series is a refreshing choice if you want to lose weight in the summer. Either flavor of  tea helps in digestion since grapefruit and honey are both choices that kickstart your metabolism and aids in digesting nutrients and sugars properly within your system.

Tarra Classic Earl Grey

Type of Tea: Tea bags

Only in Korea?: No, Ebay

Korean people know what Earl Grey is, but many have yet to have the opportunity to try it. The taste is floral and bitter because it is made with bergamot oil and black tea, which activate the release of our digestive enzymes.

However, people often add sugar, milk, or lemon to tame the sometimes-astringent taste.

Tarra Classic Darjeeling

Type of Tea: Tea bags

Only in Korea?: No, Ebay

Tarra Earl Grey & Darjeeling (Korean teas)

Called the “champagne of teas,” this Indian tea is specifically grown and produced in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district. Known for its fruity smell and golden color, it holds notes of citrus, flowers, and herb-like tastes.

Compared to other types of black tea, Darjeeling tastes sweeter and less acidic than a typical black tea. 

Best Korean Herbal Teas

LENITH Songwon Bitter Melon Tea

Type of Tea: Tea bags

Only in Korea?: No, Ebay

This medicinal tea regulates blood sugar and glucose levels and effectively treats ulcers and hypertension. Even though the product is called “bitter melon,” the tea is quite the opposite since it has a mild earthy and vegetal taste that’s pleasantly balanced.

O’Food Bokumjari Ginger Tea

Type of Tea: Jar syrup

Only in Korea?: No, Umami Cart

With two teaspoons of this syrup, the spicy ginger in this jar can come off a bit strong and fiery. Still, people enjoy this drink because it soothes the stomach & packs quite a punch that restarts your system after a hot cup.

This tea is also the best remedy for people with a bad sore throat, headache, or stomachache.

Ottogi Honey Ginger Tea

Type of Tea: Jar syrup

Only in Korea?: No, Walmart

Koreans used to value honey and ginger as precious ingredients, because they reinforce flavor and are each associated with various health benefits.

A spoonful of this Korean tea syrup daily boosts your body’s immune system, preventing the chance of catching colds. And, if you drink this before bed, it can help you sleep soundly at night.

Ediya Coffee Pure Peppermint Tea

Type of Tea: Tea bags

Only in Korea?: Yes

Ediya Coffee is better known for their instant coffee packets, but they also make some fantastic teas. One of these is their peppermint tea, which is said to aid in two things: reducing stress and increasing performance.

Plus, the scent of peppermint helps you remember and process thoughts effectively, making it the perfect study buddy when the exam season rolls around.

Best Bottled Korean Teas

Lotte Golden Barley Tea

Type of Tea: Bottled

Only in Korea?: No, Mega Mart

Boricha is the number one choice for people trying to lose weight because of its high fiber content. It tastes like Japanese rice, which is light and nutty, but you can add sugar or stevia to make it a bit sweeter.

People with sleeping issues also drink this tea before bed because it’s thought to help stimulate melatonin production.

Yangban Chilsung Black Tea with Roasted Black Rice

Type of Tea: Bottled

Only in Korea?: No, Yamibuy

This Korean bottled tea is a ready-to-drink version of sungnyung, a traditional Korean flavor created by pouring water over a crispy layer of rice stuck on the bottom of the pan after cooking rice (nurungji).

Full of fiber, this drink allegedly boosts overall fitness, and the high presence of carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin can help promote eye health.

Lotte Corn Silk Tea

Type of Tea: Bottled

Only in Korea?: No, MegaKFood

Made with corn silk, those whitish fibers you see on a corn cob, this mild herbal tea is believed to have many medicinal properties. In Korea, those with urinary tract problems drink this to flush out toxins in the bladder. The taste can be very mild, so most Koreans recommend blending this with honey.

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