Saturday, July 17, 2010

"Korean Tea Classics" Online Book Club Proposal: Discussion of Original Texts That Reflect The Historical Depth of Both Korean & Chinese Tea Culture

There is a general lack of English translated tea classics, the ones that do get translated often are done so with good intentions but are often rather crude. Even more so, is the lack of Korean tea information in English. A recently released book "Korean Tea Classics" rectifies both of these issues.

It offers both the original text of Traditional Chinese characters along side a very eloquent English translation. The English translation contains a plethora of footnotes that add depth to the translation.

The strength of this translation lies in its three translators: Brother Anthony of Taize- the English authority on Korean tea; Hong Kyeong-Hee, a Korean National with deep knowledge of Korean tea; and Steven D. Owyoung who specializes in Chinese tea history and who is currently preparing a translation of Lu Yu's Chajing the Classic of Tea.

"Korean Tea Classics" contains the translations of three works by two historic teamsters. Both of the Korean Tea Masters spent sometime studying tea culture in China and both reverence it heavily, especially Lu Yu's Chajing. Due to the many historical references of Chinese tea culture and the Chinese text that is included, this book is important not only for those who wish to gain insight into Korea tea culture but also those who also are interested in Chinese tea culture. It is a great book for both beginner and expert.

Tea books like this are few and far between and are worthy of some special attention...

So one proposes to start an "Online Tea Book Club" which will be posted on Matcha's Blog weekly. It would look at this book section by section, covering one section (one or two pages) per week- allowing much time for deep reflection. One will post a quote from each section and a discussion on that section would follow in the comments. Anyone can join in or opt out at anytime during the duration of the "book club".

Both translators of this book, Brother Anthony of Taize and Steven D. Owyoung, have agreed to stop in once and while and add some depth to the discussion. Making this a truly unique experience.

Those interested simply need to buy the book "Korean Tea Classics" ISBN: 978-89-91913-66-0 from the Seoul Selection bookshop to follow along.

Seoul Selection agreed to offer a special deal to those who wish to participate in this "Online Book Club". They will offer a 15% discount for the purchase of a package of both of their Korean tea books: "Korean Tea Classics" ISBN: 978-89-91913-66-0 & "The Korea Way Of Tea" ISBN: 978-89-91913-17-2 by Brother Anthony of Taize and Hong Kyeong-Hee. This is a great deal on two great Korean tea books for around $25 USD plus shipping- if you are getting one book shipped, why not thrown in another? One recommends the cheapest shipping method (Arimail I) as one received the books in under a week- no problems. If you are interested in this promotional discount please email Fran at and let her know that you want the Korean tea book club discount and state the shipping method you prefer and she will send you a special invoice.

Please comment if you are interested in participating just to get an idea of numbers.

One hopes to start the first "Korea Tea Classics Online Book Club" post on Mattcha's Blog in about a months time which should give those interested enough time to scrape together some change and get their orders.

See these posts on Cha Dao for a sneak peak at the depth included in the three historic tea verses covered in "Korean Tea Classics":



Unknown said...

I am very interested, and I just emailed inquiring about the promotional offer. I can not wait for this to take place.


Ho Go said...

I have both books in my possession and can heartily recommend any of Brother Anthony's translations. Seoul Selections publishes many of his translated works of modern Korean poetry with Ku Sang being a favorite of mine. All these books are printed and bound with first rate materials. Kudo's to the translator's.

Jeremy said...

I'm in. I really enjoyed "The Korean Way of Tea" so this should be great.

Unknown said...

Hi matt,

I am in, ordering the books today.


Anonymous said...

Something I really appreciate about Brother Anthony of Taize is his apparent openness to the Buddhist aspects of the way of tea. Whether it was brought on by an inherently open heart and mind, or simply by his love of tea (perhaps all three), it speaks well as an example of unity.

Matt said...


Looks like there is enough people interested to proceed. If anyone wishes to join at anytime during the "book club" feel free to just jump in.

Ho Go,

As you know Brother Anthony is more than just an expert in Korean tea. His other expertise is in Korean Literature.


Yes, it seems as though Brother Anthony plays a neutral role when he writes of the different religious aspects of Korean tea history and culture. Korea's tea culture is an interplay of Taoist, Buddhist, and Confucian influences. To discount one religion's influence is to discount the whole.

Hope you will be joining us in the discussion of these classics, as you will surly offer a unique perspective. You probably know that two of the classics are by C'ho Uisun, a famous teamaster but also a famous Buddhist monk.


Rebekah said...

-- Have both books and would love to join in. Thank you for starting this up.

Matt said...


Happy to have you in.


Unknown said...

Count me in! I've been interested in Korean tea culture since visiting Boseong and Hadong. I'm eager to get the books!

Matt said...


Welcome. Your trips to Hadong & Boseong should give you some nice context.


TS said...

Hi Matt,

I sent an e-mail to Fran about a week ago, but I never got a response. What do you suggest I do?

Matt said...


Try sending her another email (double check the spelling).

If she doesn't reply in 24 hours, leave another comment here and one will send her an email.


TS said...

Hi Matt, it's been over 24 hours since my second e-mail to, but still no response...

Matt said...


Seoul Selection emails love to go to the junk mail section of your inbox. Did you check there?

Will email Fran and ask if she:

1- received an email from T.S. regarding the Korean Tea Book Club Promotion

2- confirm that the promotion is still on.

Will let you know what's happening with things.


Matt said...


Fran hasn't replied to the email one sent yesterday. This is unusual because she has been very quick to respond in past emails. Perhaps she is sick, on holidays, or away on business.

Lets be patient and hope she replies soon. One will not start the book club until you get your books.


Tuo Cha Tea said...

It took one month, but I got the books, finally!

Matt said...

Tuo Cha Tea,

Nice of you to join. The wait was long but hopefully worth it.