Corn tea is a popular Korean beverage made from roasted corn kernels. A mild light drink, it can be prepared hot or cold.
What is Corn Tea?
Corn tea is a traditional Korean drink made from roasted corn kernels.
It’s technically not a tea in that it’s not a leaf from the camellia sinensis plant. All true teas come from the camellia sinensis. Everything else called tea that’s not from that plant is an infusion or a tisane.
Corn tea is an infusion of roasted corn kernels in water. When you buy Korean corn tea, you’re really just buying roasted corn kernels.
Called oksusucha in Korean, corn tea is a very popular drink that’s made all year round. It’s a mild tea that can be served instead of water.
I love it and drink it all year, hot and cold, in place of water.
What Does Korean Corn Tea Taste Like?
Prepared both hot and cold, corn tea has a light, sweet taste that um, well, tastes like watered down corn.
I know, I know, it really doesn’t sound so tasty does it? But to me it is! I hear it’s a bit of an acquired taste like barley tea, but it’s not at all bitter like how barley can get.
I grew up drinking barley tea and only discovered corn tea when I went over to my aunt’s house when I was in college.
She gave me corn tea instead of barley to drink and I remarked how her tea tasted so much sweeter and milder than mine. Turns out, it was corn tea.
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What I Used to Make Corn Tea
HOT CORN TEA
ICED CORN TEA
Where to Buy Corn Tea
If there is a Korean supermarket in your area, I highly recommend getting it from there instead of online since it’ll most likely be cheaper.
The bag of roasted corn kernels and the corn tea bags were both less than $6 each at the Korean market but online, they were about double the price.
Every Korean grocery store stocks corn tea along with barley tea. It’s a Korean staple.
Corn Tea Health Benefits
Corn tea is said to aid in digestion and supposed to be good for the kidneys and help with lowering blood pressure.
Having said that, do I believe corn tea will really be beneficial and improve your health? Not really.
For all the health benefits to take effect, you’ll need a lot more than drinking a cup or two of corn steeped in water. Good health is about moderation, so drinking too much corn tea can lead to other health issues which is definitely not good for you.
I suggest drinking it for the taste, not for the health benefits.
Is There Caffeine in Korean Corn Tea?
Nope, corn doesn’t have any caffeine and neither does roasted corn tea. It’s great to drink day or night since it won’t keep you up.
Is Corn Tea the Same as Corn Silk Tea?
No. Corn tea is made by boiling roasted corn kernels in water while corn silk tea is made by boiling the long strands attached to an ear of corn in water.
Do You Add Sugar to Korean Corn Tea?
No, traditional corn tea is served without sugar. Corn tea is already naturally a bit sweet so adding sugar will be too cloying.
How Do I Store Corn Tea?
The main thing you want to avoid is humidity and odors when it comes to storing corn tea or any tea for that matter.
I suggest storing the tea bags and the corn kernels in an airtight plastic bag or in a glass container with an airtight lid.
How Long Can I Keep Corn Tea in the Refrigerator?
I usually make corn tea and keep it in the refrigerator for about five days. If it gets cloudy, it’s time to throw it out.
Corn Tea and Barley Tea
If you like barley tea and want to round out the bitter notes with some sweet ones, I like making a combination of corn and barley tea.
It’s common practice in Korea and you can get the best flavors of both by brewing barley and corn together.
For the ratio, I like to add 1.5 tablespoons of corn tea and 1 tablespoon of barley tea into four cups of water.
Corn Kernels vs Tea Bags
To make corn tea, you have two options — you can either use whole corn kernels or use corn tea bags.
I like using whole corn kernels for making hot tea and tea bags for cold tea but if you want to only buy one or the other, I would go with whole corn kernels since you can adjust how much you want to make.
Each tea bag makes four cups of tea so it’s not for making one serving.
The only difference between the whole corn kernels and tea bags are that the corn kernels are crushed to brew quicker in the tea bags.
Here’s a little experiment steeping a corn tea bag and corn kernels in hot water.
I filled each glass cup using the same temperature boiling water.
Because the corn tea bag has crushed kernels, it brewed and changed to a darker color quicker.
When boiling the water with the corn kernels, the corn will burst, letting the flavors extract into the water.
With just steeping in hot water, it doesn’t produce as strong of a flavor.
How to Make Corn Tea Using Whole Kernels
Making corn tea is as easy as boiling water.
Put three tablespoons of whole corn kernels into four cups of water and bring to boil then down to a simmer for about 15 minutes.
Take out the corn kernels and throw out.
You can drink it while it’s hot or have it cold by cooling down the tea and serving it over ice.
How to Make Corn Tea Using Tea Bags
Since the corn in tea bags are crushed, it brews much quicker and why it can be cold brewed.
To make hot tea using tea bags, boil four cups of water and add the tea bag to the hot water and steep for about 5-10 minutes, depending on how strong you want your corn tea.
To make iced corn tea, fill a pitcher with four cups of cool water and drop in a tea bag. Put the pitcher in the refrigerator for at least an hour and it’s ready to drink.
Makes 4 servings
CORN TEA (WHOLE KERNEL) DIRECTIONS
In a kettle, bring water and whole corn kernels to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes. Strain out corn kernels and discard.
Serve hot or cold by cooling down the tea and serving it over ice.
CORN TEA BAG DIRECTIONS
To make hot tea, boil water and add the tea bag to the hot water. Steep for about 5-10 minutes, depending on how strong you want your corn tea. Discard tea bag and serve.
To make cold brewed corn tea, place tea bag in a pitcher of cold or lukewarm water. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and discard tea bag. Serve with or without ice.