This tea is the finest, earliest offering from Hankook Tea- one of Korea's oldest tea companies. It is officially the only ujeon grade they sell (one recently cleared up some confusion over the "Gamnong" which is a very early saejak not a ujeon). Tea from Hankook grows in some of the Northern most gardens of South Jolla Province, much more North than most other tea growing areas of Korea. So quite naturally, it is picked later than the teas from other warmer tea producing areas. This tea actually comes from the three Hankook Honam Tea Estates and is machine produced in such a way to maintain consistency from year to year.
Mina of Hankook Teas gifted a rather generous sample of this tea she also wrote a nice article about this tea. Let's open up the bag and see what this early 2012 pick has to offer...
The vibrant green dry leaves bring out fresh, green forest high notes with underpinnings of distinct soft sweet strawberries. Deeper forest notes are in the distance. These leaves are added to the warmed pot. When the water has considerably cooled in the cooling pot it is poured over the leaves.
The first infusion is a creamy, terribly smooth, light forest taste with a light, fluffy, meaty returning sweetness. These tastes extend into the aftertaste with a soft, barely detectable, strawberry taste lingering in the distance. The mouthfeel of this first pot is very soft.
The second infusion is prepared and offers frosty-forest-fresh high notes initially. The taste moves into a creamy-sweet, just slightly tart, soft berry taste with some medium-deep forest underneath. Small buds which slipped through the pot's filter hole bob about like fish in the serving pot. The mouthfeel is full in the mouth with a bit of saliva pooling in the middle of the tongue. The aftertaste turns sweet as the brief, soft, tart-berry flavour quickly disappears leaving sort of creamy, medium deep forest notes that are neither deep nor overly fresh.
The third infusion displays soft, sweet-creamy forest smoothness which arrives first before transitioning to rolling floral aftertastes and ghostly soft berry suggestions. There is that faint berry-tart taste which is barely detected in the mix. The qi is quite relaxing and cools the hands. The mind calms over this mild chaqi.
The fourth is soft, light, foresty with simple muted floral notes which are stretched out in the aftertaste. There is also a frosty burst of sweetness which arrives in the aftertaste as well. The mouthfeel is full and resides in the mouth and edge of the upper throat.
The fifth is a predominant monotone woody-flattness. This washed out taste takes over with some subtle floral tastes in the aftertaste as well as a very slight lime note. The mouthfeel now becomes course. The tea session comes to an end.