When first hearing about this tea a single thought came to mind: Cheesy Gimmick. However after drinking the first pot one's feeling towards this tea quickly changed.
In 2009 Choi Young Ki, the teamaster at Bo Hyang Tea, acquired organic certification from Korean, JAS, and USDA for his 7000 square foot tea garden in the Boseong tea producing area. He managed to go one step further in 2010 when Sungkyunkwan University confirmed that his tea leaves do in fact contain traces of gold. This is because Choi Young Ki sprays the roots of his tea plants with colloidal gold. So why on earth would someone spray their tea fields with gold?
Collodial gold, or red colloidal gold, has a long history in Asia and is perhaps the first synthetic drug. It is gold which when broken into its smallest components looks red in a liquid form. The Daoist Classic, Bao Pu Zi, has a Chapter called Huangbai, or Gold and Silver, where it states that only those who imbibe gold can achieve enlightenment. According to Daoist Alchemy the consumption of Gold and Silver represent the pure forms of Yin and Yang. Gold is Yang and is related to the sun, true Yang energy. It was used as a tonic to improve brain functioning, increase the immune system and sexual functioning. The colour of colloidal gold is red, the colour of the deepest internal level, the dan tain, and the colour of blood. As a result it was thought to calm our hearts and minds, its red colour detoxifying and strengthening our blood. Modern research suggests it may be useful to treat leukemia and other blood disorders.
But do these energetic properties make any noticeable difference in the leaves of this tea? Let's sit down, next to the kettle and find out...
The small ujeon grade dry leaves are fresh, slightly minty, and give off a forest smell. The colour of the leaves is deep green, perhaps an effect of the colloidal gold or just good organic growth?
The first infusion is prepared with warm water and a soft very light creamy forest taste is found in the cup. A subtle sweetness blends with the creamy taste. The mouthfeel is full and powdery coating the mouth and lips.
The second infusion gives off a very soft, light creamy, vegital, Swiss chard-like taste with a very mild sweetness. Ghostly florals underneath can't quite break through this base taste. The aftertaste that is left behind is that greeny-forest-vegital chard taste. The mouthfeel remains thick, powdery, and coating even in the upper throat now. This tea has an overall smoothness to it.
The third infusion is much the same as above with less vegital tastes and more of a smooth continuity. This tea has very little sweetness mainly barely detectable and mixed with the creamier characteristics. The qi is quite relaxing at this point.
Each infusion is getting progressively more creamy and chalky a trend that continues in the fourth infusion. It seems that the mouthfeel is also a touch more expansive with each infusion as well. Now the sensation of this tea reaches the mid-throat. The qi sensation is very tranquil now, a touch warming in the abdomen, chest, and even felt on the brow.
The fifth infusion sees the smooth soft coating mouthfeel overtake the subtle creamy barely green tastes of this tea. Still very nice and full in the mouth and throat.
In the sixth infusion a creaminess starts to reveal a soft dryness in taste and mouthfeel. The taste is almost gone where the mouthfeel feels nice, smooth, and full. It carries what little tastes are left along to enjoy. These tastes are just slight edges of creamy barely sweet forest. The qi feels warm in the body, unusual for green tea which usually imparts a cool thermal nature. Wild and organic green teas can also be somewhat warming but perhaps not as strong as this distinct warmth.
The seventh infusion submits woody notes and dryness. The full mouthfeel now becomes slightly coarse.
Thanks Pedro for supplying samples of this Gold Green Tea that he had recently picked up in Boseong. An interesting tea indeed.