One has been storing a bunch of coin type ddok cha for a while now in hopes of obtaining a ceramic tea roaster. The preparation of coin type ddok cha with the ceramic tea roaster was outlined in an old post. Steven Owyoung's recent detailed post covered the steps taken to charcoal roast ddok cha as done by Master Hyo Am and witnessed at the Korean Tea Exhibition. This moved one to finally prepare these coins in the traditional way without the long awaited tea roaster.
One decided to try a 2008 coin type ddok cha from the certified organic gardens of Bo Hyang Tea that Pedro had recently obtained from an early spring trip to Korea. These flower shaped coins were once strung together with straw and stored in a box. They emit a very faint, almost spicy odour.
Korean charcoal is lit and the coins are roasted over the hot charcoal with common Asian restaurant disposable bamboo chopsticks. The coins release a subtle roasted tea odour that is very similar to the odour released from the recent re-roasting of stale green tea experiments. The coins darken in colour over the heat of the charcoal and are removed from the heat as the edges of the coins stared to toast.
A glass kettle of local spring water is brought to boil and the coins are broken into thirds or halves and placed in the boiling kettle. The kettle is turned to simmer and the tea is left to steep. The room fills with a pleasant roasted tea, almost-oolong-like odour as the liquor turns from yellow to a deep amber colour.
After 10 minutes of simmering a clean hemp cloth is unfolded over a large buncheong Kim Jae Son tea cup so that the cup is under the middle portion of the hemp cloth. The tea is slowly and meditatively poured through the hemp cloth and into the cup. When the tea no longer filters into the cup, the cup is full. The hemp cloth is folded in half with the far end being folded over the bottom so that the crease of the cloth is covering half of the cup. The cloth is then folded into a triangle and the remainder of the tea is left to filer out the corner crease into the cup. The cloth is them placed next to the cup.
The tea mindfully sipped and reveals subtle watery-spicy notes over a subtle grain-cereal base. The mouthfeel is full in the mouth, a soft coarseness, with soft simulation even trailing into the mid-throat. Cereal notes linger in the aftertaste. The qi is calming, powerful, relaxing, and slightly warming.
The kettle is left to simmer another 5 minutes and the tea is filtered and imbibed once again. The tea is virtually the same as above. The cereal notes seem to carry more sweetness now and the mouthfeel is also more expansive here. Subtle forest notes are spotted under the cereal base. As the broth cools a bit it develops more subtle spicy aftertastes. The qi clears the eyes and mind and leaves one very relaxed. The chaqi tranquilizes all errant thoughts leaving peace.
For more information on ddok cha see past posts here which also have links embedded in them to Steven Owyoung's brilliant Ddok cha articles.