As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am crazy for green tea. Loose-leaf or powder (matcha), I love it in bread, ice cream, cakes, noodles – there’s not many dishes I wouldn’t consider giving a green tea twist! When I moved to Korea, I knew I wanted to visit any and every green tea tourist attraction in the country.
Luckily, there are many tour agencies in Korea dedicated to foreigners so when I saw an event labelled ‘green tea fields’, I snapped at the chance to see the plants from which every green product originates from!
In Korea, Boseong is the king of green tea – their green tea fields (보성녹차밭 대한다원) see thousand of visitors each year, and when I had the opportunity to visit in the summer of 2017, it was clear to see why. The green tea fields are not, as I expected, flat wide expanses of land. Instead, they are built onto the hills and mountainous terrain native to Korea. Levels upon levels of green tea bushes follow the shape of the terrain, twisting and curving in perfect synchronisation with their surroundings.
Visitors are free to walk around the green tea fields, and are even given access to walk through the narrow paths between the green tea bushes. For me, it made the experience much more interactive – I could wander up and along the mountainous paths to my content, and even stop to look closely at the individual bushes, smelling the fresh green tea leaves!
There’s no respite of shade from the summer sun along the green tea fields, and I felt keenly the arduous task of individually harvesting the tea leaves. Some sections were restricted to workers only, and under the constant pressure of the midday sun, green tea farmers worked tirelessly.
Owing to the popularity of the location, there are other attractions along the pathway to the infamous green tea fields, one of which being a bamboo forest.
It was actually my first time walking through a bamboo forest, and I was shocked by how quiet it suddenly became – the bamboo forest didn’t look especially dense and was close to the main tourist path, yet it was incredibly effective at blocking out the majority of the noise. It felt wonderfully mysterious!
Along the main pathway, there’s a few restaurants and stalls selling green tea confectionery and merchandise, as well as some food stalls at the bottom of the pathway, close to the parking lots. I sampled a few green tea ice creams which were delicious – in fact, I have yet to find green tea ice cream as good as that in Boseong!
For lunch, I ate green tea naengmyeon (ice cold noodles) which was as refreshing as the ice cream in the peak of summer.
With the green tea fields ticked off my list, it was time to explore other green tea attractions. During my time in Korea, I had frequently come across the tea company O’sulloc and had the chance to sample some of their products in O’sulloc cafes and department stores. Check out their VisitKorea page and their own website (Korean only): @visitkoreaboseong @boseongofficial.
When my parents visited in August 2017, we spent 5 days in Jeju, an island south of mainland Korea. To my surprise, O’sulloc had a green tea museum (오설록 티뮤지엄) located in Seogwipo, Jeju, where we were staying – it was destiny! Take a look at their Instagram and website: @osullocofficial @osullocmuseum.
The green tea museum was quite interesting, detailing the history behind green tea in Korea and the process by which it is grown and harvested. The leaves, once harvested, are handpicked by green tea farmers before being sold commercially. Imagine, handpicking each green tea leaf to ensure good standards! Talk about dedication!
Inside the museum, there’s also a cafe selling, you guessed it, green tea items where I purchased an iced green tea latte and green tea ice cream.
Outside, there’s a garden with green tea related sculptures with a path leading to a separate building in which Innisfree, a popular Korean health and beauty chain, sell their products.
O’sulloc also have their own green tea fields which you can walk along, despite the signs warning for possible snakes! The green tea fields here are flat compared to the hilly terrain of Boseong’s green tea fields.
All in all, my love for green tea has only grown more since moving to Asia.