As much as I am a big fan of tea, Korean traditional tea had never really been on my must-try or favorite list. For sure I had tried few times before, but more often than not I’d found Korean tea rather bland and not exactly…tea. Unlike the usual tea made from leaves, in Korea they also make tea from wheat, dry seeds and various fruit herbs which until now, still sounds incredibly weird to me because those kinds of tea don’t have the distinctive flavors we find in this classic drink. Nevertheless the trip I made to Insadong a while ago definitely stirred something different in me and gave me a more positive viewpoint about Korean traditional tea.
수요일 (Su-yo-il which means Wednesday) is the cafe-tea house we randomly stumbled upon while strolling around Insadong on a summer’s evening. Back when the heat was horrendous in Seoul, the idea of filling up our stomach with a cooling light drink was the only thing that came across our dehydrated body. Desperate time calls for desperate measure, we decided to choose 수요일 among numerous tea houses in the neighborhood for its seemingly nature-friendly atmosphere with open balcony and spacious interior, hoping to catch a fresh breeze in the stifling weather.
I had an omija ice tea (냉오미차자) (7500 KRW) while my two other friends decided to order Watermelon Omija Tea (오미자 수박화채) (8000 KRW) and Pumpkin tea (8000 KRW).
Despite being called a five flavor tea, Omija tea didn’t strike me as one to be quite honest. But was it a drink meant for summer? Yes. At the first few sips of the tea, the only thing that permeated my senses was the strong sour flavor of the herb. It is not as acidic as lemon thank you very much, but the refreshing effect it brings to our esophagus is just the same, if not more. As I slowly got used to the taste, the tea turned into a kinda sweet, fruity flavored drink. It was actually better than what I’d expected, quite pleasant but not really extraordinary. The watermelon omija tea is exactly the same, with the addition of a few watermelon cubes.
Watermelon omija tea
You probably already know pumpkin is a very popular ingredient in Korean cuisine. Tea is not an exception. The pumpkin tea though didn’t really speak to me on any level. It was mellow, mildly flavored and generally nice but just not “my cup of tea” yenno.
Each cup of tea was served with a small biscuit. The table looked so lovely with all the tea and scented candle that I couldn’t stop taking pictures.
They also have traditional sweets (price ranges from 3000 – 7000 KRW) and other drinks like coffee in case you don’t feel like having tea. All drinks are from 6000 – 9000 KRW. 수요일 is not exactly the cheapest place to visit but well, it’s Insadong we’re talking about.
Lovely view from the balcony. Those were the best seats T_T.
수요일 is a good place to drop by if you’re in the neighborhood. The tea house’s atmosphere will make you feel like, wow there’s no such place like this in my country, and I’m glad I’m here.
수요일, Anguk Station, exit 3:
So apparently Naver map is not always accurate, even when this is not at all a hard-to-find place. Follow the map but when you get there, look to the other side of the road should you be able to find the tea house. A big thanks to blogger Marie for the clarification :}!