Korean Tea Pairing

Four tea pairings of Korean tea and Korean sweets at a private tea tasting inside the LIE store in New York City. See all the pairings and how they were steeped.

Korean tea pairing

A little while back, Kathy and I hosted an intimate tea pairing at LIE, a fashion brand that has a store in Meatpacking, NYC.

RELATED: Tea Events at Lie SangBong Shop in NYC

Korean tea

Since LIE is a brand that started in Korea — the designer is the son of fashion designer Lie Sangbong — we wanted to highlight Korean tea and sweets.

First we figured out the teas we wanted to serve, then the vessels they would be steeped in, and finally, the sweets that would pair best with each tea.

RELATED: Tea Pairing 101: White Tea

Korean tea tasting

Four tea pairings in total were served and the first was wild persimmon leaf from Korea and yakbap.

Yakbak, or yaksik, is a traditional Korean snack made from sweet rice, chestnuts, jujube (Korean dates), and pine nuts. The coloring of the sweet rice comes from brown sugar, cinnamon, and soy sauce.

Wild persimmon leaf isn’t actually a real tea, but a tisane, in that it doesn’t come from the camellia sinensis plant.

For a tea to be a real tea, it needs to be a camellia sinensis leaf.

Steeped in a glass teapot, the persimmon leaf tastes a little sweet and a little nutty, which is why it paired so well with similar notes in the yakbap.

RELATED: Tea Pairing 101: Green Tea

Korean tea pairing

Here I am pouring the persimmon leaf tisane. I’m wearing LIE’s Pinstripe Sweatshirt.

Korean tea

Second pairing was mulberry leaf and Korean rice cake balls.

The rice cake balls (one covered in sesame seeds) were soft and chewy and paired well with the toasted grain notes from the mulberry leaf tisane.

The tisane was steeped in a gaiwan.

RELATED: Tea Pairing 101: Oolong Tea

Korean tea tasting

The third tea was a Korean green tea, a Sejak. Korea produces green tea more than any other type of tea.

We steeped this green tea in a Japanese kyusu which is where I steep all my green teas.

The Sejak green tea is vegetal with a slight sweet taste so it went well with the manju, a baked sweet pastry filled with red bean paste.

Korean tea

And the last pairing was especially noteworthy.

Kathy has been creating her own tea blends made up of eight different ingredients and she calls it her “Lucky Eight.”

For this Lucky Eight, she used Korean teas and flavors and the blend was steeped in a gaiwan.

The sweet treat that came with this tea blend was a gorgeous buttercream cherry blossom on a mini cupcake from the talented Jiahn of Brooklyn Floral Delights.

Korean tea

Kathy is wearing a Lie Sangbong jacket. (See Kathy’s post on this pairing.)

When I think of what Korea does best in terms of tea, it’s definitely green tea and tisanes. Being from Korea, I really enjoyed getting to share Korean tea with others.

I love working on these types of intimate events where I get to create pairings of tea and food and share my enjoyment of pouring the perfect steep.

I hope to share experiences like this with you one day!

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