When thinking of a place to meet with friends, we often think of a restaurant or a coffee shop. But here in Jeju, there is another venue that you might not have considered.
Walk with me across the busy street of Jungangro, away from the noisy chatter of the Dongmun Traditional Market. Let’s stroll past the glassy windows of brand name stores in the Chilsungro Shopping Center until we find a wooden door that looks just a little out of place.
Unlike the modern buildings surrounding it, the stone path to this semi-hidden house is lined with flourishing plants. Welcome to Fragrance of Tea.
▲ The entrance to Fragrance of Tea is beautiful, if you can find it! Photo by The Jeju Weekly
Fragrance of Tea is a traditional tea house that has been in business for about 20 years. This cozy building is actually over 100 years old, having served originally as a personal home before being transformed into a tea house.
As soon as you step across the threshold, beautiful tea sets and low wooden tables greet you. It feels like entering a forgotten world of venerable cultures and ancient traditions.
▲ Fragrance of Tea's quaint interior Photo by The Jeju Weekly
I had a chance to sit down and talk with the owner, Yoo Bong-chul, who has been managing Fragrance of Tea for 10 years now.
Yoo was originally from Ulsan, but moved to her husband’s hometown of Jeju after they got married. Her love for tea led her to manage this quaint little shop.
Not only does she choose the best tea leaves to make her own tea, she also travels to Gyeonju to personally select each piece in her pottery collection. Each tea cup and pot reflects her passion.
▲ Jujube and plum tea Photo by The Jeju Weekly
There are a variety of teas to choose from, with many flavors and health benefits. The most popular choice among visitors is jujube tea, sweetened with cinnamon instead of sugar.
It’s filling and helps relieve stress. What a perfect combination to combat a busy life!
I, however, prefer the sweeter plum tea that has been fermented in-house by Yoo for the past two years now. It warms my stomach on a cold winter's day.
Yoo also offers a special bibimbap on her menu, but she is taking a cooking break now, so we’ll have to wait for it to come back.
▲ Jujube tea Photo by The Jeju Weekly
Whether you love tea or not, Fragrance of Tea is a place worth visiting. From the windows covered with Hanja paper to the warm heated floor, there’s a beautiful atmosphere that draws you in and keeps you there.
Local residents hold meetings here because of the welcoming ambience of soft lights and music. University students are attracted by the beautiful entrance while shopping in the area. And international tourists seek out this gem of a place after reading about it in their guide books or online.
The kinds of people who visit are as diverse as the teapots on display.
Whatever the reason for coming to Fragrance of Tea, the sweet scent of distinctive teas will tempt your stomach while the quiet atmosphere will soothe your soul. And maybe you will find yourself a regular here, eager to come back for another cup of tea and another moment of peace.
Price: 6,000 Won per cup
Menu is in English, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese
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