My co-worker and I have been talking about going to the main palace for a year now. But because of scheduling conflicts and other reasons, we didn’t actually go until we saw a special tea ceremony event happening that we wanted to participate in. The event is free and there are two sessions every weekend where you can go and learn about different tea etiquette and drink different Korean traditional tea. The first time we went, we went for the second session that doesn’t require reservations. Just had to show up first to get a seat. We arrived a little early, so we decided to walk around the palace a little as well.
The woman who did the tea ceremony taught us about the three important parts of drinking tea – the colour, the scent, and the taste. She taught the proper way to hold the cup and how to drink it.
Along with the tea, we got to eat songpyeon – traditional Korean rice cake with a sweet filling inside – to complete the tea experience.
We were allowed to sit as long as we wanted and drink as much tea as we wanted. The whole idea was that you could relax and talk while enjoying a nice cup of green tea.
It was such a nice experience that we decided to try again to make reservations for the first sessions that they offered. Which were supposed to involve more cultural lessons and different teas to try.
On our second visit, we got into the reservation-only program. And this one had a more formal presentation about tea ceremonies in Korea. We learned to bow properly and how to serve the tea as a hostess. It was definitely a fun and informative cultural experience.
For more information, check it out here. The program runs until October.