Korean Corn Tea: As Bad As It Sounds

Categories: Leftovers

3210456925_dd5d0c63ee.jpgMy favorite lunchtime stop during the week is Super H Mart, the enormous Korean grocery store / food court that occupies an old Flagship Randall's off Bingle and I-10. Not only do they serve up some mean kimchi fried rice and bulgogi in the food court, you can always be sure to stumble across some new and fascinating product in their aisles.

Most of the time, the food products are delicious and I come away a better person, enlightened on yet another aspect of foreign cuisine and eager to share that knowledge. Rarely, though, the new product is so horrifying and disgusting as to merit an entire blog post warning others.

That product? Korean Corn Tea.

Oksusu cha, or corn tea, is a popular beverage in Korea and is not -- despite its name -- actually tea. Instead, it's a tisane made from steeping roasted corn kernels in hot water. The corn kernels are rendered sweet by roasting, which makes the corn tea naturally sweet in turn.

This is fantastic in theory, if you like the idea of pureed kettle corn that's been put through a strainer and then watered down. If that's you, Korean corn tea is where it's at. If you're like me, on the other hand, the corn tea will taste like watery death, like malt liquor with added sugar and without the numbing benefits of alcohol.

The taste of the corn tea is disappointingly antipodal from the cheery, wholesome packaging. Look at the girl happily hugging the freakishly oversized ear of corn. Look at the sunny, bright yellow bottle. These things scream, "You'll love this! It will fulfill all your beverage desires! It's like Sunny D but better!" Don't be blindsided by these things like I was; this stuff is like the Venus Flytrap of drinks.

My sole source of comfort in this beverage adventure has been discovering that other people feel the same way I do about corn tea, even people who live in Korea!

In my writing class the students were supposed to brainstorm about disturbing trends in Korea and I said that Black Bean Tea was a disturbing trend. Then I went on to expound on the ghastliness of corn tea (it tastes like soggy popcorn!) and that this will lead Korea to make teas from everything: from flower teas, bundaeggi tea, water tea, book-tea, and even pen-tea.

I don't know what pen tea is, but I agree that this disturbing trend of making "teas" out of roasted vegetables must be stopped. Who's with me?


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21 comments
richielau
richielau

If you drank more of the corn tea, it might help you lose some of that fat. The garbage ingredients lurking within your drinks like Sunny D, Sodas, and other sugary water drinks are just plain horrible for your body. Corn tea sounds like a great way to make plain water fun, much like "Popcorn Juice" to help yourself consume more water, and getting some added health benefits of drinking tea made from the roasted kernels of corn. 

maeldwyn
maeldwyn

Drinking corn tea out of a bottle was your mistake. Would you drink bottled black tea? Try boiling the roasted corn (it should be readily available at your Super Han Ah Reum) in a kettle at home. It fills your house with an inviting, corny (no pun intended) scent and while you still may not like it; I guarantee it will be better than what you tried.

jesmalayli
jesmalayli

I was looking for info on corn tea or corn water. I boiled several fresh corn on the cobs, then after removing them started drinking the tea, or just plain hot/warm corn water. This was yesterday, the left overs I put in the fridge and today have enjoyed drinking the water cool and loving it. Very refreshing, slightly naturally sweet, since I did not add any salt or sugar.  My question is if anyone know if there are heath benefits? I heard it's great for cleansing the kidneys.... any info out there to share with me??  thanks!

Ed Vim
Ed Vim

Such a typical American way of self-absorbed expression. You can't even present a partially objective opinion on why you dislike something as innocuous as corn tea, instead you are completely subjective and tell the world it's, "...horrifying and disgusting..." as if your limited, biased opinion is a universal rule of law. So anyone who has not tried corn tea should avoid doing so because you simply don't like it? People like you Ms. Shilcutt, are a scary part of human culture. If you're a pre-teen girl I can understand how you might wriggle your nose and go, "Oooh, yuck!" if a waiter walks by with a plate of raw seafood, but I'm guessing you're actually an adult. We can only infer you also believe that all people should be the same race, same religion, speak the same language, follow the same political ethos, and believe diversity and independent thought are evil. The only good aspect that I can take with me from this article is I don't live anywhere near Houston, TX.

lulu
lulu

Fuck you, corn tea is delicious!

Unchienne
Unchienne

I'm surprised that you mention it being sweet. I wonder if sugar was added. While some descriptions mention a slight natural sweetness, I find it refreshing with no sugar notes at all. Try brewing your own...they have tea bags for ease of use. I've pretty much subbed all sodas and mixed beverages with corn tea as it's much healthier.

dk
dk

LOVE CORN TEA!! barley's great too, but a bit more bitter

Anonymous
Anonymous

This post sounds horrifyingly self absorbed and offensive. I'm Korean and reading this so-called article made me cringe in abhorrence and distaste. 

Yummy
Yummy

Good grief!  To so many of the people posting:  Talk about people behaving badly!  I'm white, and I guess my genes skipped the lesson on being boring, because I love corn tea. And YukHwe, and kimchee, and a vast array of other non-bland food my boring, round-eye genes are supposed to have programmed me to find intolerable. But my panties aren't in a bunch just because poor Katherine doesn't. If you really are that offended, it doesn't lend you much credibility to condemn her ethnic tact, by hurling racial bigotry of your own. Maybe "Sweetestkiss" should have posted instead as "Bitter-Pot Kettle-Caller."

Rintoo
Rintoo

This is one of the different kind of teas I bought when I was shopping at Namdaemun, and this oksusu tea was one of the ones I loved !!!You have your own opinion about the tea, just don't make it sound really bad as if it would taste bad for everyone...Thanks

Sweetestkiss
Sweetestkiss

lol. everyone can speak for yourself, I love corn tea, i discovered it when i went to lunch with 5 girlfriends and all of us drank more tea than we ate! its amazing. if you're white, im not surprised you dont like it... your taste buds are bland, its in your genetics to be dull and not experiment. 

Chris
Chris

While it is perfectly fine to critique and analyze dishes from other countries, your choices of words are culturally insensitive. Please return to college and get a formal education in writing before you post bias and ethnocentric posts on a site that has the word "Press" in it. Houston Press should be ashamed to have sponsored such writing, but then again, I've never even heard of them; so go figure.

Corn tea is amazing
Corn tea is amazing

I don't think it's cool to say "don't drink corn tea" or "read beans" because that's just really rude. it's their culture and it's like me saying "don't eat cheese because it smells and it's the product of rotten milk." Let's not be so immature to insult other countries' cultures,

Whoknows
Whoknows

I don't think this article is to be taken seriously in any respect. It starts off sounding genuine then slowly delves into a biased childish rant.

Corn tea (tisane) is actually delicious. The bottle this person grabbed in H-Mart should not be used as a decider for a virgin corn tea drinker.

I mean what person with any slight of a mature palate actually thinks Nestea or Brisk tastes good?

caree
caree

I guess it's an acquired taste because I love it! i used to drink this as a child. I don't know - I find it quite yummy :)

jett212
jett212

i'm very insulted that you said it was "horrifying and disgusting" i'm korean. what you drank was not traditional korean roast corn tea. What you had was processed and sweetened, with sugar.

Korean corn tea is simple, and you're 100% wrong. It's not sweet, the kernels do not become sweet from roasting. it's simply a roasted flavor that most people enjoy.

And please, don't sound like a jerk in your writing. And for the person who wrote about black bean tea. IT'S A FLAVORING PASTE. You use it to make sauces, not tea. Jajangmyun is made from that black bean paste.

Know your culture before you write offensive articles.

Lenalee 9520
Lenalee 9520

It's different for every person, I think. Personally, I think it's great! I can drink bowlfuls, but that's just me~ And I find it insulting that you call it "horrifying and disgusting." To each their own.

Peachykeen91488
Peachykeen91488

personally I love it! I drink it everyday. Im not korean .. My husband is Korean but he cant stand the stuff. To each his own I think.

john
john

i think corn tea is good. just takes like tea with a corn taste and is not as bitter as normal tea. might be an aquired taste though. I also like barley tea/water.

Carlo
Carlo

I have never tried it cold. I drink it as a hot tisane and was first introduced to it at my favorite Korean restaurant in Massachusetts. I think it is very good hot when brewed properly (10 minutes in boiling water with about 1.5 teaspoons of whole roasted corn kernels per cup). It is also a fantastic counterpoint to the often overly-salty fare Koreans (and I) love.

Titi
Titi

I kid you not. A Chinese friend gave me a bag of corn tea and I am trying it for the first time now. Since I had never heard of it, I thought I'd do a search -- and low and behold!

Yep. I agree. It tastes like water from soaked unsalted popcorn. Must be an acquired taste (?)

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