Koreans ingest the chi of spring by drinking jindallae-hwachae (azalea blossom tea), believed to be good for diabetes and lowering blood pressure. In summer they drink fragrant yellow song-
hwa-misu (pine pollen and honey) tea, which helps the heart and lungs, as well as relieving heat fatigue. And in autumn? The drink of choice is omija-hwachae (“five-taste” tea, from the fruit of the Chinese magnolia vine), which is rich in organic acids and helps suppress coughs and soothe dry throats.
Year-round in their homes, Koreans brew grain teas made from roasted corn or barley and a “tea” they flavor by boiling water in rice-cooking pots with the scorched rice still stuck to the bottom. In the last 10 years, even younger Koreans (who once consumed coffee, Coke, and other Western beverages), have been rediscovering the benefits of traditional teas steeped in more than 700 years of heritage.