Freshness becomes an issue this time of year. The Spring-like temperatures in the air nudge us in the direction of green teas but the latest harvests have not yet been produced. This is a good time to finish what is left of last year's harvest to make room for the upcoming spring teas. Quite naturally, green teas that have sat for a year have lost much of their more subtle qualities.
Today, I contemplate a 2011 saejak from Dong Cheon kindly sent by Cho Hak of Morning Crane Tea. It seems impossible to compare this 2011 to the 2010 saejak tasted just a month or two after harvest. You must keep these things in mind when comparing- it is just better to enjoy the tea for what it is than waste time and thought comparing this to that... so let's just simply enjoy.
These vibrant, slight blue toned, green dry leaves are strong, pungent, and smell of fresh cherry and musty very deep forest odours.
The first infusion presents soft, sweet florals which turn creamy and soft as it slowly trails off in the mouth. The sweetness has a sugary edge. There is a almost unnoticeable suggestion of flat woody forest base in the distance. This taste is very smooth and light.
The second infusion is of soft florals and now slightly fresher foresty initial taste which turns creamy and faintly sweet. Some faint tart cherry tastes appear in the background as well as some very subtle sweet cereal notes. The mouthfeel is of a very faint chalkiness and grips just lightly minutes after swallowing.
In the third infusion soft floral tangy-sweet initial taste comes first followed by some light woodiness. The tangy taste increases in the aftertaste as cherry tastes are evident in the distance. The mouthfeel is now in the upper-mid throat as well as in the mouth imparting a softness in the throat. The qi is mellow and very relaxing on the wind. The birds chirping on this rainy day sound more beautiful under the influence of this tea. The aftertaste gradually turns into a more woody affair minutes later on the breath.
The fourth infusion gives off a creamy wood initial start. With the floral almost gone now turning into a sweet wood before turning fading into aftertaste. The mouthfeel has thinned slightly- lighter notes balance with light wood and very soft sweetness on the breath. The woody-forest base starts to nudge out subtle tastes in this infusion. A flat floral taste finds its way into the mouth late into the aftertaste minutes later.
The fifth infusion presents a woody-forest-taste only flashing suggestions of tones lighter than this base flavour. There is a sugary empty-sweet aftertate with a faint dry- bland-wood flavour in the distance. The mouthfeel is a good balance between soft smooth and dry chalkiness, overall it is mellow. A very faint floral sweetness is found minutes later in the wood but disappears quickly.
The sixth contains a watery, woody simple initial taste followed by a watery, sweet barely noticeable berry finish. A very faint, almost overlooked, lingering floral can be found between these tastes. The bland wood base dominates.
The seventh its very simple flat wood start with florals still lingering in the background.