Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Teahouse Start : from Bexco with Love

 It seems the Goryeo style tea ceremony is coming back in vogue earlier than I had expected! Korean made products are coming to the market that are for use in the powdered green tea ceremony that is known as the Japanese tea ceremony but was also the tea ceremony of old Korea during the Goreyo Dynasty. During the most recent International Tea and Craft Fair and Busan's convention center Bexco I found plenty of booths serving and selling powdered green tea each with the prominent bamboo whisk for whisking it to a froth. Below was one of the more innovative vendors : 

 as you can see in the picture above she had not only green tea powder for use in ceremony but also other green leaves used in Korean 'teas' for whisking up ! For example : in the picture above from left to right: Barley sprout powdered tea, Mugwort leaf powdered tea, Mulberry leaf powdered tea and Lotus leaf powdered tea ! All of the ingredients ground up into powdered form are from their lands in Hadong; west of Busan. Their prices are average indeed : 40$ 40,000 won for a package that is 2x the size of the small cans of powdered green tea that come from Japan. I purchased a package of their barley sprout powdered tea. Their website is sadly not up and running but you can call them @ 055-883-8517 or 011-840-0022 as it says on their labels.

Thanks to their business there are now several non-caffeinated options for tea ceremony!
 Stone grinders are also being produced in Korea for grinding leaves into powder the old fashioned way although they are currently selling for 3million won each (about $3000USD). A nosebleed of a difference from the stone grinders sold in Japan for $200USD.

 Also at the convention in BEXCO we found tatami mats!!! In smaller squares rather than the traditional rectangles. You can buy 6 for around 100,000won! A decent price indeed! For those in North America : Amazon's Foldable Tatami Mat sells for $113. Here in Korea the tatami mat squares can be ordered at the Hagihara brand home decor shop soon to be located in Busan's Centum City. They are currently opening a branch here. We bought ours @ the convention hall next to the Tea and Craft Fair where they had a home decor convention.

As you can see below I put just two squares out to practice my level 1 tea ceremony as I intend to start teaching introductory courses in tea ceremony this summer. Their small size makes them wonderfully portable and I'm able to bring them outside! Coming to a park near you soon!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

2014 Programs : Pottery, Tea Ceremony & Tours.

I'm proctoring my final exams next week and cleaning the house in preparation for small group introductory tea ceremony classes (Japanese and Korean tea ceremonies).

Next I found a place that teaches tea ceremony classes using the tea table that is becoming accepted in Japan. Indeed you can find plenty of pictures online of Geisha in Kyoto using the Japanese tea ceremony table.

The classes are offered in September but I'm trying to get them to open a class for using the table this summer... Here's hoping.

Once this summer I shall also give a tea tour of Nampodong/Gukjae Markets.

I shall also be taking pottery classes in Busan's Jangsan area. If any of you out there are interested in any of the above text me (Matthew) @ 010-5737-6543.

I've also discovered a few tea shops in Busan's Nampodong market that sell Chabako sets (pictured above). They contain most of what you'll need to do a Japanese tea ceremony. I shall do a review on them later next month.

Until then, it's tea time for me.