Omija Tea – it’s one of those old-school Korean “medicinal” teas that I remember brushing aside growing up.
My mom would always tell me to drink some – but I couldn’t be bothered, with a Coke in hand.
Now, at the age of thirty-something, I find myself looking for healthy beverages (other than water) that I could cool down with – especially after work or dinner.
For a few months, I relied on Flavored Sparkling Water. Then Ginger Ale (Canada Dry – woot woot!). To Korean Black Vinegar.
And now, our go-to drink is Omija Tea. Best of all, it’s guilt-free!
Omija Berries (also known as Schisandra Berries) are famous for its medicinal properties.
These dark red berries provide powerful antioxidant protection – helping to remove free radicals and other toxins in your body that cause damage at the cellular level.
The berries also function to enhance the body’s natural resistance to stress, supporting mental endurance and enhancing metabolic efficiency (i.e. your body’s ability to use up stored nutrients).
And much more – do a quick Google search.Note: A few of our readers mentioned that Schisandra Berries may not be safe for pregnant women. So if you are an expecting mother, I recommend avoiding these berries - to be extra safe!
The best part about Omija Berries is their five-flavors! Take a nibble of the fresh berries and you’ll taste bitter, sweet, sour (tart), salty and spicy.
You'll taste the bitter and spicy distinctly if you bite into the seeds!
Now in Korea, we like to steep dried omija berries in cold water and enjoy it as an refreshing, iced tea in the Summer.
When steeped in cold water, you don’t necessarily taste all five flavors – for me, it's more like 3 flavors (sour, salty and slightly-bitter).
Well, you could also taste sweet too, if you add a touch of sugar at the end 😉
Anyhow, I wanted to share this simple Omija Tea drink in case you are also looking for a healthy, guilt-free, after-dinner beverage.
Now, I must also mention that there is another Korean way to drink Omija Berries. That’s by making Omija Cheong.
Omija Cheong is an extract syrup made by fermenting Omija Berries with equal parts Sugar. Give it a few weeks to ferment and the berries will release its natural juices.
The sweet and tart extract is then mixed with cold water or sparkling water as a refreshing drink.
But to make Omija Cheong, you need fresh Omija Berries - which is difficult if you live outside Korea.
So, let's start with dried Omija Berries (which you can buy here).
Preparation Notes for Omija Tea
Make sure to give the berries a quick rinse before you steep in cold water - get rid of any residual dirt or debris. There may be small stems - so pick those out too.
Measure 2 Liters (~8.5 cups) of water. Then I like to add-in ⅓ standard cup (~30 grams) of Dried Omija Berries. This ratio gives a nice strong flavor and color.
But if it's a bit strong for you, reduce the berries to ¼ standard cup (~20 grams).
Finally, don't be afraid to add-in a few spoonfuls of sugar or honey! It makes the Omija iced tea taste extra delicious.
Bon Appetit ya’ll! If you make it, let us know how many flavors you taste on IG! We love hearing from you 🤠
- Daniel out 🕺
- ⅓ Cup Dried Omija Berries (~30 grams)
- 2 Liters Water (~8.5 cups)
- Few spoonfuls Sugar or Honey (Optional)
- Quickly rinse ⅓ cup of dried Omija Berries under running water. Pick out any stems or debris if you see any.
- Then add the washed Omija Berries into 2L of water.
- Place into refrigerator and let it steep for at least 12 hours. (24 hours is even better!)
- After steeping, pour the iced tea into a cup - along with a few ice cubes and enjoy!
- Optional: Add-in some sugar or honey to taste