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Korean Plum Tea (Maesil Cha)

Let’s make some delicious Korean plum tea. It’s a refreshing fruity drink that can be made in 1 minute!

Korean Plum Tea (Maesil Cha) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Today I’m introducing one of the most popular Korean teas – Maesil Cha (매실차). It is a fruit based tea, and its commonly known English name is plum tea. However, I recently learnt that the fruit used in Maesil Cha is actually not a plum. Instead, it is a Japanese apricot but originated from China.

It all sounds too confusing, right? (You can learn more about Japanese apricot from here and here.) So in summary, Maesil Cha = Korean plum tea = Japanese apricot tea.

You might be wondering what this Maesil Cha is all about by now?

Essentially, this tea is made by diluting the concentrated syrup (picture below) of Korean green plums (Cheong Maesil, 청매실).

Korean Plum Extract

It can be mixed with either hot or cold water according to your preference and/or seasons. I personally prefer making Maesil cha with icy cold water. Its sweet and mildly tangy flavour are very refreshing and just perfect for hot summer weather.

So how would I make this concentrated syrup (extract) of Korean green plums?

My simple answer is, it can be done by marinating Korean green plums with honey or sugar for about two months.

But realistically speaking, I can’t make this syrup even though I really want to as I can’t get the fresh green plums in Australia. I haven’t seen them anywhere yet.

Thankfully, when one of my family guests stayed with us recently, she brought a bottle of Korean plum extract from Korea. (This bottle is also something I can’t buy from a Korean grocery store here as well.)

If you can get fresh green plums (aka Japanese apricots) where you live, you can easily make the plum extract yourself. I found this reliable looking recipe for you since I don’t think I am able to share my recipe for a long time at this point.

Korean Plum Ice Tea (Maesil Cha) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Please also note that the end of June and July is green plum harvest season in Korea, so every Korean household gets busy making jam, extract, liquor and pickles using these plums during this time.

So if you’re in Korea or you have access to fresh green plums during this time, don’t forget to participate. I’ll be very jealous of you. 😉

If you want to learn more about this Korean plum extract and how it can be used in other Korean cooking, please check this post – What is Korean Plum Extract?

Anyway, I hope you get to try Maesil Cha soon!

Ingredients for Korean plum tea (1 serving)

*1 Tbsp = 15 ml, 1 Cup = 250 ml

How to Make Korean Plum Tea

  1. Add the ice cubes and the plum extract into a glass cup then pour the water. Stir lightly with a spoon just before you drink it. Enjoy!

Making Korean Plum Tea (Maesil Cha)

How to Make Korean Plum Tea (Maesil Cha) | MyKoreanKitchen.com


  • The above recipe is based on a particular brand of Korean Plum Extract. So if you’re using other plum extract types or brands including a homemade version, the result will be different. Adjust the ratio of ingredients according to your preference.
  • I always had chosen the above plum extract as it’s the most well-known brand in Korea and I also consider it as a premium label. I find that it has slightly stronger taste and smell and thicker liquid than other brands and I like it because of that. It feels more genuine to me.

Benefits of Korean Plum Tea (Maesil Cha)

Why is this Maesil Cha popular in Korea? It not only tastes delicious but it is also known for its medicinal benefits among Koreans. It’s known to :-

  • Aid in overcoming fatigue and stimulating the appetite
  • Helps with detoxifying the body
  • Helps with food digestion
  • Relieve symptoms of food poisoning and diarrhoea

(Disclaimer – Please note that this is intended for your information only. It’s not medical, health or dietary advice. Please seek appropriate professional advice if you have any concerns or questions about the benefits of Maesil Cha.)

Korean Plum Tea (Maesil Cha) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Korean Plum Tea (Maesil Cha)

How to make Korean plum tea - Maesil Cha. It can be served hot or cold.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate Save
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Korean
Prep Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 60kcal
Author: Sue | My Korean Kitchen



  • Add the ice cubes and the plum extract into a glass cup then pour the water. Stir lightly with a spoon just before you drink it. Enjoy!


1 Tbsp = 15 ml

Nutrition Info (per serving)

Calories: 60kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Sodium: 8mg | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 500IU | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 4.5mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Tried this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Rate this recipe with a comment below and tag me on Instagram @MyKoreanKitchen.
Tagged with: drinks, plum extract, tea

Written by: Sue

Last Updated:

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Welcome to my Korean kitchen! I’m so happy that you're here. I am Sue, the creator behind My Korean Kitchen (since 2006). I love good food and simplifying recipes. Here you will find my best and family approved recipes. Thanks for stopping by!


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14 thoughts on “Korean Plum Tea (Maesil Cha)”

  1. I remain fascinated by maesil, I really want to try it but just cannot seem to find it at my local Asian grocer either yet. They rotate their stock often but if I can’t find any by next month, I’m just gonna buy some online, lol.

    I do have a question though, and please forgive me if it sounds ignorant – but is the same maesil extract used for making maesil-cha also used for cooking?

  2. Hi From Melbourne Kim,

    Great website, thanks!

    Any luck finding your preferred brand of plum syrup here in Oz as of now August 2018?
    Found something that looks similar but doesn’t taste as natural ( added flavours) as the one I tried in Korea.

  3. Hi Sue! So happy to have found your site 🙂 I see you mentioned that the syrup can be made from fresh plums. Can you please direct me on how to do so.? The Korean market near my home had a ton of them. They are so delicious!!

  4. It looks extremely refreshing and so beautiful! I guess it’s the Korean equivalent of Japanese “ume”. I was told once that I could try making similar products (drinks, alcoholic too) with unripe apricots… Unfortunately I keep on forgetting to ask market vendors if they could bring me some unripe fruits 🙂

    • My mum makes Masil liquor every year. Though I’ve never tasted it. I’m not sure whether unripe plum is used in these drinks, but for sure, they are green! 🙂 I would love to make it from scratch too!

  5. I just discovered Korean food and live in GA. and there are not many Korean restaurants here so, I am happy to have found you on FB and your blog to try to make my own!


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