Yuja cha 유자 차
Yuja cha, a sweet yuja (유자, also known as citron, or yuzu in Japanese) conserve will cure what ails ya. Mixed with hot water it, to make it cha (차, tea of course), it transforms from sticky gloppy mess to sweet sweet nectar.
This gooey jam is made by mixing carefully sliced citron with sugar, and maybe honey. If you leave this sweet tart mixture alone, reports say it’ll become amorphous, jelly-like and ripe for tea-making. I can’t test the theory, as despite having lived in South Korea for over a year (!) I’ve never actually identified a yuja fruit on any supermarket shelf or street stall basket display. I hear they’re big and citrus-looking, inedible when raw, divine when sugared and preserved. The name yuja cha refers to tea made from the yuja cha concentrate, but also to the yuja cha conserve itself, from here on in this article will use the latter definition.
Most websites recommend mixing a tablespoon of the conserve with hot water to make tea. Do that, taste, and then add more according to your appetite, being sure to stir well. Yuja cha fiends certainly add more than double that, refreshing the drink with hot water regularly. You’ll find pieces of zest at the bottom of your cup. Eat them. I think I actually like that part more than the tea. It makes a pleasant and refreshing cold drink as well, summer will bring experimentation. Yuja cha can also be used in cooking and baking in place of marmalade or anywhere a bit of sweetness and zing is required.
There are a range of brands, though I’ve seen no major difference between them. Honey yuja cha (꿀 유자 차, kkul yuja cha) is also available. Both are used as a herbal remedy to cure sore throats and snuffly noses, but I’m not so sure. This ‘tea’ is intensely sweet, slightly bitter, with a mysterious citrus-ness that demands you drink another cup. Please, don’t wait until you’re poorly to have a cup of yuja cha.
Yuja cha 유자 차
1kg bottle costs anywhere from 5,000 won – 8,ooo won (~$4AU – $6.60AU).
A cup in a cafe will set you back at least 4,000 won (~$3.30AU).
Easily available in supermarkets in Korea.