Tuesday, May 29, 2012

World Tea Expo: The First Place In North America To Sample the Latest Korean Green Tea Harvest

Unlike the first picks of Japanese or Chinese green tea which make there way to North American tea a few weeks after being picked, it usually takes a few months before Korean Ujeon tea makes its way to the store shelves and websites. The reason is multifaceted but overall it depends on demand for this tea. Korean tea is quite a new concept in North America, in fact most tea drinkers are probably unaware that Korea even produces tea (smart readers of this blog are, of course, the exception).  Out of those who have tried Korean tea, most would have tried the more accessible and affordable Saejak, Junjak, or Daejak grades, not the early Ujeon flushes. Affordability is a big factor. Have never heard of anyone try an Ujeon grade and not think it was an amazing tea. However, most either still don't feel it is worth the steep prices Ujeon teas carry or they simply can't afford them.

Due to low demand for Ujeon, most English dealers of Korea tea either don't choose to offer Ujeon grade or simply ship the small amount they do order with the other grades of Korean green tea to increase their already minimal profit margins on Ujeon teas. All this results in an Ujeon grade that is picked and packaged months before it reaches the shelves in North America. Over the last few years, The World Tea Expo has been the first place to try the latest Korean harvest in North America.

There has been only a couple of booths offering Korean tea that have popped up at the World Tea Expo over the last few years. These have included tea from famous Korean tea producers Joy Tea, Jukro, Hankook, and O'Sulloc, among others.

This year there are eight Korean booths at the World Tea Expo but only two, O'sulloc and Hankook, are from major green tea producers. The other booths seem to offer other services, herbal teas which are more popular in Korea, or seem a bit vague as to what they are offering (like Sang-Eup Green Tea Village!?!). Linked below is some background info on these two Korean green tea producers for those doing their homework before the festival:


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