Monday, September 24, 2012

The Five Traditional Types of Korean Tea

Inspired by this chart found in a post by Toki on The Seven Types of Chinese Tea and this article by Brother Anthony of Taize called The Varieties of Tea in Korea published in The Leaf. Both fall a bit short in explaining or categorizing Korean tea types and their production, so thought one would take a shot at it...


(click on picture to enlarge)


Evan said...

Thanks for the great chart, Matt. Now, I've never understood this in the context of Puerh, so maybe you can help me figure it out. Why is it that both types of ddokcha are balhyocha when they haven't been withered, but they've undergone kill-green at the first step of manufacturing? Is it 1) the kill-green is not done thoroughly, or 2) they undergo a non-enzymatic oxidation? Or something else far more strange?

Matt said...


The kill-green process of tea making is a very quick step. It just basically involves a quick application of high heat which acts to stop the natural oxidization process from occurring ie, to keep it green.

Kill green does not however dry out the moisture of the tea. The drying step of production can be done quickly or more slowly. Puerh and balhyocha undergo a much slower drying process under much less heat than green tea. Puerh is famously sun-dried usually taking two days until the moisture content is somewhere between 12-15%. Drying of balhyocha is similar and is either done on boulders, mats, and/or screens in the sun or in a room with ondol heating (traditional heated floor). The slower drying of the leaves promotes chemical reactions in the leaf that do not occur in the quick drying of green tea that are more optimal for natural microbial fermentation to occur in these teas.

Tea manufacture is a confusing topic mainly because there are no standard English words to describe each step.


Katrina - Tea Pages said...

Hi Matt,

I'm looking for some images of Korean tea regions for an article I'm working on and hoped to connect with you. (I couldn't come up with your email address. Sorry.) Could you drop me a note at Tea Pages (teapages at gmail) so we can chat?