Words by Barun Sarkar, shots by Barun Sarkar (top) and Simon Bond (bottom)
Popular Western cafes are still getting the hang of something the Orient has known for centuries: green tea is a natural wonder for your body. The stuff was originally introduced to Korea in the 7th century, and there is still plenty of it in Korea today.
The most famous spot to find green tea in all its glory is Boseong, a village of picturesque green tea fields located near Gwangju in South Jeolla Province. Forty percent of Korea’s green tea is produced here, and it is considered some of the country’s finest. In fact, Boseong green tea was officially recognized as a beverage suitable for an astronaut’s diet by the Russian Medical Biology Lab.
The Boseong Dawon Tea Plantation is the main attraction, where green tea plants, soft-serve ice cream, and chocolates and powders made of the same are peddled between the towering cedar trees leading to the entrance. At the main hill, a lush sea of neatly carved rows of tea will make you forget about every color except for green, green and more green. Ascend the hill and feel free to jump between the rows for plenty of candid photos. Once you get to the very top, you can gaze out as far as the Yulpo seaside over 5 km away.
Stop by the souvenir shop to buy green tea candy, extracts and as much freshly harvested green tea as you can carry home. Enter the pavilion diner above and tickle your tongue with green tea noodles. Finally, enjoy a steaming cup of green tea at the teahouse before your departure.
Spring is promoted as the best time to visit, likely to compliment the Green Tea Festival in May. However, autumn provides an incredible explosion of changing colors to contrast the lush green of the fields. For a bonus trip experience, take a 10-minute bus to Yulpo beach for a sunset walk along shore.
Getting There Express buses from Seoul twice a day, or take an intercity bus to Boseong from Gwangju. From the Boseong bus terminal, hop on a local bus to the tea fields.