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Korean Ginger “Tea” (Tisane)

Fresh ginger rhizome. (Wikipedia)
Fresh ginger rhizome. (Wikipedia)

Featured as one of the five herbal infusions that I would like to explore more, Korean Ginger “Tea” is a deliciously sweet, invigorating ginger brew that I often feel I can’t get enough of. As the quote marks in the title (and its inclusion in my previous article) indicate, it is technically a herbal infusion not a tea, as it contains no Camellia Sinensis.

Called saenggang cha in Korea (cha meaning tea), this infusion might make you re-evaluate previous ginger tisanes you have tried. I enjoy making my own herbal infusions, including ginger tisanes, however, saenggang cha is quite different. It is an infusion that I have come across in Korean restaurants and at the homes of Korean friends, but it is something that I wanted to explore how to make myself. As with many traditional teas and recipies, there are manifold ways to make it depending on who you learned it from.

Here is one recipe that I have tried and tested, and, in my opinion, gives a quality traditional Korean ginger infusion:

1 cup fresh ginger root, sliced or grated
1 cup honey
Pine nuts (just a few for a garnish)


Peel and finely grate, or slice, the fresh ginger. Add the ginger to the honey, and transfer it to a container. Store the ginger and honey mixture in the fridge – you can use this over the next few days, weeks, or months as you need.

To make a cup of tea for one person, add 2-3 tablespoons of the ginger and honey mixture to 1.5 cups of water in a pot on the stovetop. Boil for 5-10 minutes, then pour the infusion into a cup, leaving the ginger pieces behind. Garnish with pine nuts and enjoy.

Davidsons Lemon Ginger Herbal (ETS image)
Davidsons Lemon Ginger Herbal (ETS image)

The amount of ginger honey mixture and water can be adjusted, depending on whether you prefer a stronger or less strong brew, but this is a standard ratio to start with.

Of course, there are a few store-bought options, like this one from Davidson’s.

See more of Elise Nuding’s articles here.

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