Since coming to Korea, I’ve drank more tea than at any other time in my life. I still love my coffee, but sometimes a cup of tea is better than a cup of instant coffee. (Maybe because I’m not well-versed in tea.) I’m not quite up to Christopher Hitchens’ tea making standards, but I have learned to make a decent cup of honey ginger cha these days.
The current recipe is in flux, but consists of the following steps.
1. Bring a cup of water to a boil.
2. Add a few slices of fresh gigner root. Reduce heat to a simmer. Let the ginger simmer in the boiling water for about 15-20 minutes.
3. Place a bag of dongsul cha (Solomon’s Seal tea) and a few pine nuts in a mug. According to Wikipedia Korea is the only country to serve the tisane dongsul. I think with a bit of looking you could find some in other places, but an earthy kind of tea would make a good substitute. (Sorry, I don’t have a better suggestion.)
Pine nuts might be expensive (or free from trees) depending on where you live, but they are totally worth it. One of my favorite bar/coffee shops in town makes a delicious honey ginger tea, I’ve been trying to recreate for a couple weeks now. They use pine nuts in their delicious version and I like the added nuttiness.
4. Pour the boiling ginger tea in the mug and let steep for a few minutes.
5. Add a generous helping of honey. I know Orwell says something about not adding any sweeteners at all, but umm…the honey really adds to the tea so I’m breaking his rule. Besides it’s called “honey ginger tea.”
6. Snuggle up with a good book and enjoy.