Flowering tea is becoming ever more popular as young Koreans embrace the pretty and fragrant brew.
Chrysanthemum tea is perhaps the most famous variety, together with acacia and magnolia tea, but there are many other varieties that soothe and stimulate the senses, especially in the cold winter months.
Flowering tea is prepared by hand, because drying and roasting the petals by machine could damage the fragile petals. Prices range from W10,000 to W50,000 (US$1=W1,065).
Shin Ji-ae (29) is an office worker and avid flowering-tea drinker. "The allure is the changing hue and taste of different species," she says.
Unlike green and black tea, flowering tea is served with the entire blossom unfurling in hot water, which makes for eminently Instagrammable displays.
Flowers have been used for medicinal purposes for a long time. The historic medical encyclopedia "Donguibogam" teaches that rose of Sharon tea helps treat stroke, while grinding it up helps stop diarrhea.
Magnolias are used to treat colds and nasal inflammations, while mugwort is believed to slow aging and chrysanthemum tea is effective against stress.
Lee In-pyo, who works at a tea company, said, "Flowering tea does not contain caffeine, so it’s very popular among health-conscious people."
The head of the Flower Tea Culture Promotion Association, Song Hee-ja, said, "The hotter the water, the better the flavor," and recommends brewing them in boiling water for just under a minute.