When my friend Catherine mentioned she was drinking grilled corn tea, aka Oksoosoo Cha, a little while ago, many of us had our curiosity piqued. Last night, she brought some of this Korean specialty for us to sample. Now I just had to figure out how to extract a drinkable beverage from these burnished kernels. Google to the rescue!
The raw kernels had an intoxicating coffee scent, so I was very excited to try this. There seem to be a variety of methods of brewing this tisane, but basically you bring water to boil with the kernels in it, then reduce to a simmer for anywhere from 5-20 minutes, according to all the sources I consulted. I went with a moderate 10 minute brew time and I'd say this is about right.
The resulting tea is a beautiful, honey yellow, with a mild, yet distinct corn aroma. The flavour is also distinctly corn, though not in an unpleasant way. The first cup, I had unsweetened and it was a similar mildness to your standard green tea, but corny. It didn't take long to get used to, and was quite a pleasant cup. The most interesting thing is the natural sweetness of the corn appears almost as an aftertaste.
Now, I learned to drink tea in the British way, in the colonies, at the knee of my diabetic grandad, so the second cup I decided to add a teaspoon of sugar. This gives it more of a creamed corn flavour, still not unpleasant.
I'm actually torn as to whether I prefer it completely au naturel or with a little bit of sweetness added. Have any of you tried this tea both ways? I'd love to hear what others think of it. Now I'm going to go finish off the pot.