South Korean Darye Tea Ceremony

The history of the Korean tea ceremony dates back to the 7th century AD when ceremonial tea was offered to the spirit of an important king.  Today, the Darye, which means 'etiquette for tea', is relaxed and aims to offer guests beautifully brewed tea in an atmosphere of friendship and harmony.  A place to relax and unwind in a busy world.

Traditionally there are 3 types of Darye tea ceremony. 
Royale Darye - This ceremony is performed in the presence of a king; however, the king does not drink the tea in case it has been poisoned. 
Seonbi Darye - This ceremony is performed with Korean scholars, usually men but women can participate.  This ceremony is conducted in complete silence.  
Friends Darye - An informal tea ceremony performed in the presence of friends.
South korean darye

Lady serving tea in the Korean Darye ceremony

The Ceremony

Equipment needed:  teacups, teapot, cooling bowl, large bowl, coaster, tea scoop, tea towel, tea mat, tea container, and lid holder.
Korean darye ceremony equipment
1) The tea master kneels on the floor on one side of a small low table on which all the tea equipment is arranged, and guests kneel on the opposite side. The first cushion to the right of the tea server is held for the most elderly and therefore most important person at the ceremony.
2)The tea master warms the pot and bowls, measures the tea carefully into the pot, adds some hot water to rinse the green tea and then quickly pours that first water away.  Hot water is then poured into the spouted bowl and the tea master waits until the water temperature is cool enough for it to be added to the tea in the pot. When it is cool enough, it is slowly poured onto the tea and left for 20-30 seconds. 
3)  In order to separate the leaf from the liquor and not over brew the tea, the tea master pours the tea from the pot into the spouted bowl and from there into the individual tasting bowls. More water is added to the pot and the tea is allowed to brew again before being poured into the jug.
4) The guest must use 2 hands to hold the bowl.  They inspect, smell then taste the tea.
5) The steeping of the tea and the refilling of the bowls continues until everyone has drunk enough tea.

The Practice of Darye Tea Ceremony

The Darye tea ceremony is typically performed in a traditional Korean-style tearoom, which is designed to create a serene and meditative atmosphere. The tearoom is often adorned with calligraphy, artwork, and other decorative elements that reflect the aesthetic values of traditional Korean culture.

During the ceremony, the host prepares the tea using a specific set of procedures and movements. The tea is served to the guests in small cups, and the guests are expected to show their appreciation by bowing and saying thank you.

Performing darye ceremony in a tea house

Ladies serving tea in a traditional Koran Tea room

Modern-Day Practice

Today, the Darye tea ceremony continues to be an important cultural tradition in South Korea. It is practiced by both individuals and groups, and it is often used as a way to promote mindfulness and relaxation. Many modern-day practitioners have adapted the ceremony to fit their personal needs and preferences, incorporating new tea varieties and techniques while still maintaining the traditional values and principles of the ceremony.

In conclusion, the Darye tea ceremony is an important part of South Korean culture and history. It reflects the country's deep respect for tradition, mindfulness, and inner peace.

Click here to learn about other tea ceremonies from around the world.