Don Tea

South Korea

Tea and infusions

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Don Tea

Don tea is a fermented green tea variety produced in Jangheung, a county in southwestern South Korea, also known as “doncha Jangheung” or “Cheongtaejeon".
The artisanal processing methods used to make this tea call for time and knowledge. Production begins in spring with the manual harvest of the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plants that grow wild in the mountains around Jangheung. Twelve hours after the harvest, the leaves are steamed for around five minutes on a camasot, a traditional stove fueled with oak wood. As soon as they turn yellow, the leaves are removed from the heat, turned by hand to eliminate any moisture and pounded in an oak mortar. The mix is then shaped into the characteristic “don” form, the ancient round coin with a central hole that gives this tea its name. The central hole allows many tea forms to be hung together for drying and helps reduce the drying time, which usually takes seven to ten days. Once dry, the tea is placed into terracotta pots and left to ferment to enrich its flavor and aroma. The tea can be used after six months, but it improves with age and may be kept for much longer – even up to twenty years.
Before being consumed, the tea is traditionally placed on a brass plate and heated over a low flame to roast both sides. This step allows for the sterilization of the tea leaves and the development of a unique herbal aroma and sweet flavor with a clean and lingering finish. At this point the tea can be steeped in boiling water. It is ready after ten minutes and is drunk warm, but is also excellent enjoyed at room temperature and cold. According to popular belief, the tea can help improve eyesight, aid detoxification and reduce fever.

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The first evidence of the production of Don tea dates back to the foundation of the Borim temple in 821 in Jangheung, a region known to be the hub of Korean tea production since the times of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) and the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Since the 1930s, however, the influence of western culture has seen tea consumption decline rapidly in favor of coffee. For this reason, many teahouses have closed. Today Don tea is sold directly by the producers in Jangheung and surrounding areas (Gangjin, Naju, Gurye and Haenam), on the local market and at small events.
The Presidium was launched in 2014 with the collaboration of the Slow Food Jangheung Convivium and five small-scale producers. The project aims to increase awareness of Don tea and promote its consumption, in order to stop this unique product from being lost entirely.

Production Area
Jangheung, South Jeolla province
Jang Naesoon
tel. +82 1094305177

Lee Heewoon
tel. +82 1046337726

Moon Jungsik
tel. +82 1050336666

Huh In sook
tel. +82 1085964660

Baek In sook
tel. +82 1094749394
Presidium coordinator
Kim Byungsoo
tel. +82 163608336
paldangkbs@gmail.com

Slow Food producers coordinator
Jang Naesoon
Jangheung Dawon
tel. +82 1094305177
jns5177@hanmail.net
The first evidence of the production of Don tea dates back to the foundation of the Borim temple in 821 in Jangheung, a region known to be the hub of Korean tea production since the times of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) and the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Since the 1930s, however, the influence of western culture has seen tea consumption decline rapidly in favor of coffee. For this reason, many teahouses have closed. Today Don tea is sold directly by the producers in Jangheung and surrounding areas (Gangjin, Naju, Gurye and Haenam), on the local market and at small events.
The Presidium was launched in 2014 with the collaboration of the Slow Food Jangheung Convivium and five small-scale producers. The project aims to increase awareness of Don tea and promote its consumption, in order to stop this unique product from being lost entirely.

Production Area
Jangheung, South Jeolla province
Jang Naesoon
tel. +82 1094305177

Lee Heewoon
tel. +82 1046337726

Moon Jungsik
tel. +82 1050336666

Huh In sook
tel. +82 1085964660

Baek In sook
tel. +82 1094749394
Presidium coordinator
Kim Byungsoo
tel. +82 163608336
paldangkbs@gmail.com

Slow Food producers coordinator
Jang Naesoon
Jangheung Dawon
tel. +82 1094305177
jns5177@hanmail.net

Territory

StateSouth Korea

Other info

CategoriesTea and infusions