Wednesday, March 21, 2012

2011 Hankook Hwang Cha Korean Yellow Tea

Before falling off the face of the Earth for about a month, one finished this 30g cylinder of Hankook Tea's Hwang cha. It was kindly sent by Sam of Good Green Tea a few months back. One thing that is important to note is that Hankook sells two grades of Balhyocha- "Chigarok Hwang Cha" made of young, likely ujeon grade leaves, and "Hwang Cha" produced of older grade (maybe saejak or jungjak) leaves. This review is of the standard "Hwang Cha".

The dry leaves have dry earth-wood spicy notes. The odours come in layers with some being creamy, nutty, almost, but not quite chocolaty. They have a woody-nut-sweetness over an almost stale wood with a spicy-sweet undertones.

The first infusion delivers very light, watery, soft wood tastes which comes first. It has a hollow, dry quality to it and very little sweetness. Subtle pear tastes can be found in the profile as well. The mouthfeel carries a dry quality. The aftertaste has a very faint suggestion of dates over the dry simple wood tastes.

The second infusion is prepared and pours a very light, simple watery wood taste. It turns dry in the mouth then a faint date and even fainter coco and nut taste can be parsed from the predominating monotone of dry wood. The aftertaste is short and dry but presents a very faint pumpkin sweetness. The mouth is covered in a drying mouthfeel consisting of a slight gritty sensation.

The third infusion has a very dry, monotone, simple initial taste which transitions to a subtle spicy, barely brown sugar and persimmon fruit sweetness. These sweet tastes can be detected in the aftertaste under woody-dryness. The mouthfeel doesn't reach the throat but drys the mouth.

The fourth infusion has faint, roasted nut taste which reach toward hollow, dry wood. This inital taste turns a touch creamy before fading to a faint nutty taste. The aftertaste is dry and hollow but has an edge of persimmon to it.

In the fifth infusion the faint persimmon tastes starts to present in the initial taste profile along with the much more subtle dry wood taste. It gives this initial taste a juicy quality to it. This taste holds and doesn't evolve much throughout the profile. The qi of this tea is very weak-mild, neutral thermal nature.

The sixth infusion has spicy nutty wood notes along with slight persimmon in a simple tea broth. The once predominant wood notes are now even more muted as lighter tones arrive.

The seventh and eight infusions shows off soft, dry wood with gentle persimmon. They finishes nutty, almost coco tasting. The transition through the taste profile is smooth and balanced- this tea feels more balanced here in these later infusions as the dry wood taste has yielded to these softer notes. A very faint persimmon sweetness lingers in the mouth minutes later.

The ninth, tenth, and eleventh infusions are predominantly weak watery, dry wood now with the faint fruit notes vague and distant.

This tea can also be purchased in an 80g cylinder as well.



Centranthus said...

Matt, that sounds fantastic. We are eagerly anticipating this year's harvest of the Korean greens and Balhyocha; as well as the 2012 Sincha.

Matt said...


Yes we are!

Until then expect a slew of 2011 Korean tea reviews as Korean teas make there way to the West usually much slower than Japanese shincha.