Seoul Selection have recently published a small but perfectly formed book entitled 'The Korean Way of Tea, An Introductory Guide' by Brother Anthony of Taizé and Hong Kyeong-Hee. It is the first English language book written specifically about Korean tea.
We had the pleasure of meeting the two authors and sharing some Korean tea with them at an event to celebrate the new work at Seoul Selection bookshop near Gyeongbokgung. Here are the authors, Brother Anthony in the foreground.
Brother Anthony is an Englishman who came to Korea in 1980 and became interested in Korean tea after tasting the finest hand dried Korean tea in the idyllic setting of a traditional Korean house on the southern slopes of Jiri mountain.
The book describes the labour intensive process of picking, parching, rolling, separating and drying the shoots of the Camellia sinensis (tea) bush. The Korean tea ceremony and the utensils used are explained in easy to follow steps. 'The History of Tea in China' and 'How Tea came the West' are also covered in brief but detailed and well researched chapters.
Preparation for the book lasted a year and began in May 2006 at the start of the tea picking season when many of the photographs were taken.
Although it presents itself as an introductory guide, the information presented is precise and very well written and the authors' enthusiasm for their subject shines through. The meditative (seon or zen) aspects of tea are touched upon often, and overall style, illustration and poetry all contribute to creating a book that is a wonderful companion for a quiet pause. Just like a delicious cup of tea.
The 124 page softback book costs 12,000 won, available from Seoul Selection and local bookshops.
Brother Anthony has a homepage with more details of his other books and interests.