Haenam Tea Plantation

Location: Yeon-dong-ri, Haenam-eup, Haenam-gun, Jeolla-namdo
Size: 17 acres

Haenam Tea Plantation was established in 1981.

Like its nickname “ddang kkeut maeul“(땅끝마을 – directly translating into “village at the end of the earth (land)”), Haenam is located at the southern most tip of South Korea’s mainland.

Our tea fields are located in idyllic surrounding near the coast. The cool ocean breeze and abundant rainfall create the perfect climate for tea shrubs.

One of the greatest factors in choosing a tea field is the balance of “yin and yang”. In the case of growing tea, this is the balance of sun exposure and natural shading. This ensures the best, natural taste of the tea leaves.

The natural “shading” at Haenam is provided in part by surrounding hills as well as the sea breeze (being near a large body of water, there is slight fog in the morning, blocking the sun’s rays from directly hitting the fields until later in the day).

The tea from all three fields of the Honam Tea Estates are combined to ensure consistency in aroma and flavor, year after year.

Jangsung Tea Plantation

Location: Nokjin-ri, Nam-myeon, Jangsung-gun, Jeolla-namdo
Size: 13 acres

Jangsung Tea Plantation was established in 1965, being the first tea field our Honam Tea Estates. Jangsung has 35-year, 24-year and 10-year tea trees, meaning the tea trees (camellia sinensis) have been strongly rooted into the foundation and simple weather changes will not affect them. The best example would be the harsh, cold winter that struck Korea a few winters back – many tea fields and plants in South Korea area were destroyed and uprooted by all the snow, strong winds and below freezing temperature. Our fields and tea trees were of the few that survived. The main reason for this was the deep rooting and firm foundation.

Jangsung Tea Plantation is located in the nothernmost point of the province of Jeolla-namdo (the northernmost point in South Korea tha produces tea). This field produces teas of the highest quality and of the best taste. The cooler climate makes this tea estate ideal for tea shrubs reserved for matcha (powdered green tea). Tea leaves reserved for matcha are partially shade-grown (photo below) for a certain amount of time before harvest. This allows for a more vibrant “green” color and sweeter aroma and flavor.

Jangsung Tea Plantation has been officially certified as organic by both South Korea (2009) and the USDA (2010). Hankook Tea’s organic line comes exclusively from this field. All other Hankook Tea’s teas come from a combination of all the different fields within the Honam Tea Estates to ensure consistency in aroma and taste year after year.

Since 1951…

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