Sunday, April 15, 2012

Daejak Grade Korean Teas and a Tasting of 2011 Dong Cheon Daejak Semi-Wild Hwagae Valley Green Tea

One doesn't normally drink that much daejak grade loose leaf tea. This is mainly because this tea is not that common and is usually reserved for teabags or simply peasant tea. This tea consists of larger, hardier tea leaves that result from being picked in the Summer season (June onward). Daejak translates literally to "big work" and conjures an image of hard toiling in the hot sun of Summer. This tea is normally simple with a nice unchanging hardier profile and mild qi. It is a fitting tea for someone who doesn't prepare tea gong fu style or is desiring a unpretentious, no-nonsense tea that is easy to prepare. One drinks daejak grade only occasionally. If you're going to pay the money for Korean green tea, might as well make it worth your while and buy jungjak grade (picked around Somen, May 21)?

Conversely, some producers who produce completely hand picked and processed tea probably feel the same way with daejak grade tea- its not worth all the labor for the return. So most, but not all, companies that produce and market daejak grade tea involve either partial or compete machine harvesting or production to make it more cost effective for the farmer. This is perhaps the case with this 2011 Dong Cheon Daejak which is hand picked but machine processed. On this wonderfully busy but very sunny Spring day, an unpretentious simple tea such as this deserves a fitting review...

The dullish large-medium mid-green leaves smell of grains with slight sweet and wood smells. The tea when prepared is pure, simple with a light sweet corn taste, reminiscent of Corn Pops cereal. The mouthfeel is light with a touch of grittiness on the tongue. The chaqi is mild but alerting. The later infusions develop a slight-simple grain-wood base profile underneath.

Thanks for Cho Hak of Morning Crane Tea for sending this sample. Don't hesitate to contact him if you are looking to buy any 2011 Dong Cheon teas to hold you over until the new seasons tea come out in a month or so. I'm sure if you mention this post he will cut you a deal this late in the season.

This tea is also available from Phoenix Tea.


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