Hwa Sun Ji, LA’s Koreatown Hideaway

As you’re passing through LA’s Koreatown on Wilshire it’s really easy to whiz by Hwa Sun Ji and not even have realized it.  Behind this humble and unassuming storefront is a tea shop that is unique and thoughtful, with a tranquility rarely found in a such a busy city.

Upon stepping into the shop one of the first things you will notice are the raised platforms where friends can sit on colorful pillows and chat over a hot cup of  perfectly brewed tea.  Each of the tables in this tea shop are carefully placed, and separated with straw dividers to offer a bit of extra privacy and peace.  There is no loud music here, just some traditional Korean tunes playing in the background and the sound of water flowing from a stone fountain in the back of the room.

My choice? Jujube tea…so happy with my choice!

Don’t come here expecting to have a full meal like you would at and English tea shop for afternoon tea.  At Hwa Sun Ji, the highlight really is the tea itself.  There is a very long list of teas to choose from, from more traditional favorites like oxidized teas (Balhyocha) and artisan green teas (Jaksulcha) to fruit and grain-based teas specific to Korean tea culture.

There is also a strong focus on the health and healing properties of tea here.  The menu gives a short suggestion of each tea’s potential health effects.  Some of the stand-outs are Sa-Rang Tang (aka Lover’s Tea), Pong Yip Cha (Mulberry Tea), and Gam Yip Cha (Persimmon Leaf Tea), which is loaded with Vitamin C.  My choice was the Deh Choo Cha, or Jujube Tea, a lightly sweet red date-based tea which came highly recommended.

A comforting bowl of Deh Choo Cha, also known as Jujube Tea..you can drink this tea and eat it too!

Korean tea snacks including rice cakes, wheat-flour cakes, and walnut-stuffed dried persimmons. The white long snacks were lightly sweetened chewy puffs…so delicious, maybe someone out there can tell me what they are?

These are like thick fortune cookies rolled up and dusted with seaweed (and minus the paper fortune)

To go along with my tea, I ordered a plate of Korean tea snacks, which were brought to my table beautifully presented on a heavy wooden tray.  What’s great about Korean tea and tea snacks is that there is an emphasis on natural flavors and textures–nothing is too sugary, overdone, or complicated.

Korean teas and teawares for sale

One of the tea platforms at Hwa Sun Ji…a perfect setting to enjoy Korean tea!

Hwa Sun Ji is a tea shop unlike all other tea shops.  What makes Hwa Sun Ji special is that there isn’t just an emphasis on tea as a drink, but an equally significant emphasis on the culture of tea, including health, meditation, and of course, manners!  This tea shop embodies all the best virtues of Eastern tea culture.  You’ll leave feeling focused, centered, and refreshed…just as you should after a good cup of thoughtfully made tea!

Hwa Sun Ji
3900 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Want to have a Korean tea break at home?  Persimmon Leaf Tea (which I purchased at Hwa Sun Ji and can be also purchased online) and Hachiya Persimmon Tea-Bread are a simple and satisfying pairing for a late autumn tea snack!

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happy tomodachi

thank you, thank you, thank you for this post!!! since the time i saw this post, this has been on my “must do” when i visit l.a. i went to l.a. last month and told my sister that it was the *one* place that i had to go to while i was there. i loved it!!! we sat at that exact table you pictured above! we enjoyed it so much that my sister and i went again the following day! i wanted to try the persimmon leaf tea, but ended up going with the woman’s recommendation and had the green tea which was great. my sister had the walnut which was delicious as well. the next day i had ginseng. i will be a regular there every time i visit l.a. i love, love tea so when i stumbled on your blog i found it to be such a fabulous treat!!! i’ve had a dream for years about possibly opening up a tea place or having a team farm. tee hee. anyway, thank you again for having such a wonderful blog!

Bonnie Eng

Hey there, happy tomodachi! I’m so pleased that you love this place! Hwa Sun Ji’s storefront is kind of unassuming. Once you enter those doors, I love how you feel as if you’ve been transported to some quaint, serene space. Yum, sounds like you and your sis tasted some delicious teas! I hope you come back often to visit here at Thirsty for Tea…I’m back to blogging this week, have been away for a few weeks but am missing it now that I’ve read your super sweet message! P.S. Are you from Hawaii? 🙂

happy tomodachi

bonnie!!! i’m so sorry that i’m only seeing your reply now! aaacks! yes! i loved hwa sun ji! the storefront is indeed unassumnig and if it weren’t for you, i would never have known about it! i love your blog, but need to find a way to remind myself to visit it regularly! and i’m so glad you reviewed american tea room. it was also on my tea places for my l.a. visit, but since my stop in l.a. was so brief, i was on a mission to visit hwa sun ji. i’ll get to american tea room next time. 🙂

yes! i’m from hawaii! how’d you guess? i’m so sad that the tea farm is no longer around. my husband’s cousin’s friend (ha) opened up a tea spot in kailua called anuenue tea https://anuenuetea.com/. i like it there, but not close to where i live.

oh…and also, i love your posts about the tea farms on hawaii island! i have always wanted to see tea farms there and was so happy to read about your visits! i was just on a day trip to waimea the other week, but didn’t plan well! argh. i was just focused on checking out the area and forgot to that mauna kea tea farm was close by. since we didn’t make an appointment to visit ahead of time, my husband and i just took a drive out there to see where it as and to feel what kind of climate the tea grows in. next time i will be more on it and call to make a visit!