Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2008 Jookro Jiri Mountain Yellow Tea


Jookro is an old tea company with a good reputation for producing good tea. Although they produce a lot of tea, it is all produced by hand from bushes that grow wild in the valleys of Jiri mountain.

Let's warm our hands upon the hot air of the brazier and sit down for Jookro's yellow tea...


The dry leaves are small and fairly uniform dark brown. They smell fresh, sunny, almost minty, behind roasted but not smoky tones.


These leaves are placed in a pot, the same pot one has used for years now. The boiling water from the brazier is added and the liquid of tea is born.

As we sip in silence the flavor of this tea speaks to us. It has a sweet, full bodied citrus taste with a juicy mouthfeel and subtle long nutty aftertaste. It's like biting into a sweet lime with sweet and sour in perfect balance, walking together hand in hand. It's taste is also deliciously chocolately, the bitter dark chocolate one is quite fond of.


The liqour is a bright, happy orangy yellow leaning more towards yellow than most oxidized tea from Korea. It also almost lacks a real roasted taste, although it is detectable in later infusions it tastes so different than most others. It contains a different kind of 'yellow tea roast' maybe due to special processing one is not aware of.

The chaqi in this tea is warming and sunny, it is mostly felt in the upper torso, the heart, and in the lungs. This teas energy is the uplifting type as its energy ascends.

The mouthfeel of this tea is less pronounced it lacks any throatiness as it doesn't seem to travel past the back of the throat, but what is in the throat feels quite natural. Astringency comes quite late with this quality tea, only later infusions dry the roof of the mouth.

With later infusions also comes the typical nutty-roasted taste that seems to characterize Korean yellow teas. What's really nice about this tea is that the flavour really evolves through infusions and the stamina of the leaves allows it to go though many, a tell tale sign of a good tea.


And as we finish our last sips from the liquor of spend leaves, in silence we give thanks.

Peace

Edit: Here is a picture of the box that one intended to include in the inital post.


14 comments:

Angelinaaahh said...

that looks amazingly tasty! I went to a tea house in Taipei once. it was amazing!

Eileen said...

Curiouser and curiouser...what kind of pot is it that you have used for years now? Do you only use it for yellow tea or for greens as well? Whites? Certainly not for your black teas, right? What is the difference between the Korean yellow tea and a Korean green? I've recently drunk some Korean green teas which I found to be very flavorable and new but hardly affordable. Actually though, the affordable versions were also quite tasty. Thanks for your blog. I love the photography and the tasting notes as well.

T.alain said...

-SoÏwatter will be very happy to see such a splendid post about...this wonderful chocolate tea.I"ll ask you some questions after he'll post a comment...
Thank's Matt

Matt said...

Angelinaaahh,

One is glad you had a wonderful experience with tea.

Eileen,

The pot one has used for years now is a very basic grey and white cloud and moon motif Kim Kyoung Soo pot that is commonly pictured here. It is the birthplace for many greens and yellows, occasionally for some blacks teas. Most oolongs and all puerh see themselves being steeped in one's only other pot, a zhu-ni yixing.

In the world of tea people often scoff at the idea of using the same pot for different types of tea. Sure the flavour and energy is subtly influenced by the other teas brewed in the pot but one doesn't feel that it, in anyway, devalues the flavour of the tea one is currently drinking. The tea pot, like the mind of the tea drinker draws on all the previous teas one has drank throughout the years, and is undoubtedly influenced by them. One finds it a much greater 'evil' to have a tea room filled with pots of every which nature to accommodate even the most obscure types of tea. Surely this goes against the virtues of modesty, naturalness, and simplicity that are being cultivated in the Korean tea room. A lot of patience is also required when only used two pots especially when one pot is being used over a span of a week to brew the same tea.

The difference between a green and yellow tea is the method of production. Yellow teas (also known as semi-oxidized teas) go through a step of oxidization which green teas don't go through. One will post more about these differences in the coming weeks.

What you mentioned about teas and price is generally true in Korea. Excellent Korean teas are quite expensive this is manly due to the fact that every step is done by hand. Unlike China, Korea is a developed country so this labour intensive work is a bit pricey. This tea for example costs 50 000 Korean Won for 100 grams (approx $60 USD). High grade yellow teas generally fetch lower prices than green due to the fact that they are a fairly recent creation and that they are not yet as prized as the top greens.

Your questions are excellent Eileen. Thanks for the interest and support.

T Alain,

One is also curious at what Soiwatter thinks of this post. Thanks for your ongoing commentary.

Peace

T.alain said...

In france we can buy Jukro Korean tea.I'd like to know what do you think about this tea...
http://www.palaisdesthes.com/fr/aide/lstprd.php?GAMME=1&LIMIT=10&LSTCRIT=(7,39)(1,28)
i traduce (with my very good english....)
origin:Hadong ,Korea
it's a red tea
chocolate and vanilla notes.very strong and sweet
cocoa,chocolate,prunus aroma,some honey notes,wood note like santal...very long aroma in mouth...
Your tea in a yellow one this tea a black one.Is there many differences betwen these 2 teas?In france this tea is expensive (83$/65€)...what is the price for yours please Matt.

Matt said...

T Alain,

This is definitely the same tea because it is the only oxidized tea that Jookro produces. The price is high but that isn't a big surprise. In Korea the profit margin is much lower than in Europe and North America. Thanks for the link.

Peace

T.alain said...

I thank you so Matt...Have you read the post of SoÏwatter about this tea?
I smell this tea in the "le palais des thés" in Paris....very good smell...but i don't buy it.
Thank's again for these precious details

Matt said...

T. alain,

No, one didn't read his review of this tea. Again, thanks for the link.

French Readers please check it out at:

http://commedansunlivre.blogspot.com/2008/11/also-sprach-zarathustra.html

Peace

Karen said...

Your blog is wonderful; thank you for your efforts. Two questions, though. Do you think you could spearhead a movement to convince Korean online tea merchants to set up English translations so that we could order tea from the States? Also, the dollar seems stronger in general now; how is it holding against the won?

Matt said...

Karen,

Thanks for such wonderfully positive comments. As far as your questions go...

One has talked to some companies about getting an English service, but most don't seem very interested in that idea. Partly because you don't actually make that much money in tea in Korea. Having an English service could increase the cost of doing business. And secondly because most of the best Korean teas are from personal stashes or small businesses. The big businesses usually produce a lesser quality product produced mainly by mechanical means. These businesses are probably aware that their tea might not stand a chance against the competition in international markets.

Yes... right now the won is at a 22 year low. Guess one will be drinking a lot of Korean tea. :)

Peace

Karen said...

Damn! But I can't say that I blame the vendors--one is in business to make money, not lose it. Fortunately, I have at least one Korean friend, so I'm hoping I can rely on him for tea (especially if he returns home for a visit).

Matt said...

Karen,

That's what friends are for. Good luck with your pursuit of good Korean tea.

Peace

Soïwatter said...

Hi Matt!

We spoke of the same tea quite the same day. Obviously, great minds think alike... I discoverd it by chance : it was one of the new teas sold in the teashop where my girlfried works.

And what an amazing tea! Such a wonderful smell (even dry), so full in mouth, so complex and with a so greadily chocolated taste. I think it's the best red tea I've ever tried (far above my good Qimen and Chuan Hong). It's been also the first korean tea I've ever tried (and since I've read your blog I've wanted to try it) and It was such an amazing surprized. What a pity that korean teas are so barely sold in France. It seems that there is so many to discover. And it makes me dream about my company sending me on professional trip to korean shipyards... so closed from Jirisan.

Thanks for the informations above this tea in your blog and its comments. And thanks for your blog and all the discover you let us do...

Peace!

Matt said...

Soiwatter,

This is a wonderful tea. One is happy you managed by chance to come across such a great example of Korean tea and that you enjoyed it so.

One hopes someday you can visit Jiri mountain and drink tea in its wild tea fields.

Peace