Sparkling Yuja Tea (Iced Korean Citron Tea)
This easy and refreshing, sparkling yuja tea is made with sweet yuja marmalade, freshly-brewed tea, and a splash of bubbly ginger ale. The tangy yuja citrus notes are balanced with the earthy green tea and the subtly sharp yet warming ginger ale flavor.
What is Yuja Tea?
Yuja cha (유자차) (also known as yuja tea, yuzu tea) is a caffeine-free, Korean citron tea typically made with a couple spoonfuls of yuja marmalade (yuja-cheong, 유자청) in a cup of hot water.
You could prepare this tea with fresh yuja. However, it’s not too easy to find these fresh outside of Korea. Some people try to make something similar with the more accessible meyer lemons instead.
I personally just use yuja marmalade. There’s always a good-sized jar of yuja marmalade in my suitcase ready for home after a trip out to Korea. You can also buy it from your local Asian grocer (e.g., H-mart, It’s usually in the tea aisle). Or you can buy it online.
And in case you are wondering, it’s totally fine to eat the thin pieces of yuja from the marmalade in your tea.
What is Yuja Fruit?
Yuja is a citrus fruit that sort of looks like a large, round lemon. It has a pretty distinct flavor and is particularly fragrant. It kind of tastes like a cross between an orange and grapefruit, with the sweetness of a mandarin orange and bitter tartness of a grapefruit.
I particularly like to make hot yuja tea when I feel under the weather or to soothe a sore throat. It’s also packed with vitamin C making it great for some cold relief and an extra immune boost.
You may have also heard of yuja as yuzu, its Japanese term. In Japanese cuisine, it’s commonly used to make yuzu ponzu, yuzu kosho, and other seasonings.
Ingredients for Sparkling Yuja Tea
Besides the yuja marmalade, there are only two other ingredients in this sparkling yuja tea: freshly brewed tea and ginger ale.
Green Tea or Hojicha
I’ve tried mixing yuja tea with different teas, such as oolong and black tea. However, I find the earthy tones of green tea and hojicha (a decaffeinated, roasted green tea) to best compliment the citrusy yuja flavor.
While green tea is easier to find, I do prefer using hojicha for its extra roasted flavor. Also with little caffeine, hojicha can be enjoyed at any time of day, which is great for light sleepers such as myself. I like to get my hojicha tea leaves from Hojicha Co.
If you can plan a day ahead, I would definitely recommend preparing cold brew tea. This simply means steeping the tea leaves overnight in the fridge. The result is a nicely concentrated and ice-cold tea. I use this teapot to prepare my tea.
Alternatively and if you want to make this on a whim, you could steep the tea in hot water and then cool it down with some ice cubes. You’ll just have to use some more tea leaves to keep it pretty concentrated.
The drink is also pretty good without the ginger ale. However, I find it extra refreshing for those hot summer days with the bubbly ginger ale. It also adds its own sweetness, and a subtly spicy, warming ginger flavor that rounds out the sweet and tangy yuja.
Other optional add ins for sparkling yuja tea
While I like to keep this drink simple with these three ingredients (yuja marmalade, green tea or hojicha, and ginger ale), you could also garnish the drink with a sprig of fresh rosemary for an extra herby, woodsy flavor. Or you could even add a splash of your favorite gin to make it a fun cocktail.
If you are looking for more refreshing drink recipes, make sure to check out my honey and thyme lemonade.
Pairs well with:
If you make this Sparkling Yuja Tea, I would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment and/or recipe rating at the bottom of this page. And if you have a photo of your food, be sure to tag @chrisseenplace on Instagram!
Sparkling Yuja Tea (Iced Korean Citron Tea)
- 1-1½ tsp green tea or hojicha leaves (or 1 tea bag)
- 6-8 oz water
- 1 tbsp yuja marmalade
- ¼ cup ginger ale, cold
- (Recommended) For Overnight Cold Brew Tea: Steep 1 tsp green tea or hojicha leaves in 8 oz room temperature or cold water overnight in the fridge. Remove tea leaves by pouring the tea over a fine mesh sieve. I recommend this teapot for easy preparation.
- For Regular Brewed Tea: Steep 1½ tsp green tea or hojicha leaves in 6 oz hot water for 15 minutes and add about 4 ice cubes to cool it to room temperature.
- Add 1 tbsp yuja marmalade, ½ cup brewed tea, and ¼ cup ginger ale to a cup.
- Stir until all ingredients are well mixed.
- Top with ice and serve immediately.