The best-known tea production regions in Korea are Boseong in Jeonllanam-do, Jeju Island and Hadong in Gyeongsangnam-do, each of which annually holds a green tea festival.
Hadong with Jiri Mountain and Boseong are located in the temperate southernmost region of the Korean peninsula, nestled on mountain slopes near the ocean and Jeju is a sub-tropical volcanic island off the southern coast. Jiri Mountain is the birthplace of Korean tea cultivation. Today the forests surrounding Mt. Jiri are graced by thousands of wild growing tea plants.
Boseong has been a tea producing region of Korea since the Japanese Occupation (the first commercial tea plantation was established by the Japanese in 1939). Their tea fields are covered in a sea of fog until sunrise, with only the surrounding mountain peaks emerging through the mist. Watered by the morning dew, the camellia sinensus leaves are plucked by hand in the late spring and summer, then hand roasted in a wok and dried. This process is repeated nine times, according to the traditional method handed down through the generations.
Jeju Island, off the Korean south coast, is a volcanic island dominated by Halla Mountain, a volcano 1,950m (6,400′) high. The volcanic soil and sub-tropical climate make this island an ideal location for tea growing. The fastest growing region of tea production in Korea today, Jeju Island tea plantations are dominated by Seoul-based conglomerates who have established huge tea operations based on automation, machine picking and Japanese steaming methods. These highly commercial operations have been aggressive in exporting their product and as a result, Jeju Island green teas are the most commonly available and the most well known to American tea drinkers.