In 1951, “Hankook Black Tea” was established in the city of Suncheon (South Korea), starting with production of only black tea, adding green tea production a few years later. Relocation to the current location in Gwangju, along expansion of adding the production of duchung (root of a plant) and kyulmyung (cassia seed), took place in 1964. During this time, the company was a solely a supplier of raw material to various other companies within the country.
By 1994, the company was producing retail packaging for all its products, as well as opening up several retail storefronts and tea rooms under the name Chasaengwon (“where tea is produced”). The company’s name was also changed to the current Hankook Tea Company.
In 1995, Hankook Tea was the official sponsor of the Gwangju Biennale 1995. By this time, exports to Japan and Canada were in full effect. Continuous time and effort was spent to produce the best possible cup of Korean tea. These efforts were acknowledged in 1997 when the company participated in the International Tea Competition (sponsored by the board of Shizuoka in Japan) as the Korean representative.
This not only pointed out the importance of spreading the Korean tea culture to other countries, but also within the country, in which the culture had faded in the past few decades (especially with the boom of coffee and cafes).
In 1997, the Woon-Cha Cultural Center was opened, creating a space where anyone and everyone was welcome come enjoy tea. Multiple gatherings – education sessions, filming of the Korean tea ceremony, casual tea with friends and more – have and still take place to this day.
Contributing further to the modern history of tea in Korea, the company erected a statue of Master Choeui (photo above – from http://www.baekryunsa.net/plugin/mobile/board.php?bo_table=photo_6&wr_id=291) at the Daeheung Temple in Haenam in 1999.
In 2005, Hankook Tea U.S.A, Inc. was established and a Chasaengwon was opened in Los Angeles, California (photo above).
By this time, recognition and awards were received from various competitions, festivals and events, as well as from the government of South Korea. The greatest recognition was received in 2008, when founder and CEO Yang Won Suh was appointed as the 34th Grand Master of Traditional Korean Foods (picture left) by the Republic of Korea, awarded in superior production of Hwang Cha (partially oxidized tea) and Matcha (powdered green tea).
Following current trends and upholding strict standards to produce eco-friendly products that are harmonious with Mother Nature, organic certification (South Korea and USDA) and ISO22000 certification (top grade given to factories for cleanliness and sanitation) were acquired, expanding our selection of teas even further.
Hankook Tea always strives to continue and contribute to our rich heritage.
Cherishing the Exquisite Art of Tea and
Philosophy of Friendship