Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2012 Kim Jong Yeol (Butea) "Noeul" (Sunset) Hwagae Valley Balhyocha

One did not get the opportunity to try this tea last year and instead sampled the ujeon/early saejak grade Saebyok "Sunrise". On a recent trip to O5tea one picked up a small bag of this "Noeul" (Sunset) balhyocha which was picked between May 10th-May 20th this year, a saejak grade. Pedro's new O5tea is not the only tea company in the West to carry Kim Jong Yeol's balhyocha but it is the only shop that carries all three grades from Kim Jong Yeol's Butea brand.

Let's sit down on the floor boil the water, and enjoy some tea on this rainy, cool autumn day...

Appreciating the dry leaves, a distinct and robust, creamy-milky-chocolate note arrives from the newly opened bag. The odour is a heavy, deep, monotone smell. In the warm pot deeper raisin and fruits are released.

The first infusion delivers light, juicy, coco-like taste over top of faint, indistinct fruit notes. This taste fades slowly into a light coco taste. The mouthfeel is very light moss especially coating the front tongue and teeth.

The second infusion has woody-sweet taste emerging initially then is intercepted by coco notes which stretch into the aftertaste. Minutes later there is a creamy-bread edge to these coco tastes. The mouthfeel slowly covers more ground.

The third infusion is sweet, watery, distinctly chocolate tastes that have a sharp, dry edge to it. There is a long, simple coco aftertaste with slight hints of dry wood. Underneath this lay almost unnoticeable raisin notes that try to push through into the aftertaste but skirt underneath instead letting coco tastes room to waft on the breath.

In the fourth infusion the sweet, water initial taste has less coco and more wood in it- the balance is almost 50/50 here. It develops a muted juicy fruit edge then falls off into faint mango and coco aftertastes. The mouthfeel is a faint moss which is mainly felt in the mouth and tongue but also faintly in the upper throat. Minutes later the after taste is a solitary simple dry wood.

The juicy fruit edge of last infusion cannot be seen in this fifth infusion. There is instead a sweet woody-coco taste. The aftertaste is a continuation of this taste with faint, sweet, fruits attempting to break through underneath. The middle throat opens up to the very faint, mossy mouthfeel that isn't even a touch drying.

The sixth infusion offers a sweet, distinctly woody but mainly chocolate taste which is simple and now spans the profile with some wood underneath. The coco taste continues in the aftertaste with just the slightest tangy fruit taste squeezing in as well. Subtle, peaceful qi sensation offers a soft warm sensation over the body.

The seventh and eighth infusions are still very flavourful and give out sweet-coco-wood followed by a wave of undulating, almost creamy, juicy, subtle mango fruit tastes. The fruit stretch with light wood and almost unnoticeable coco on to the breath.

The leaves are put through a few overnight infusions although they could have still underwent a few more minute long infusions, given the stamina of the leaves at this point. The first overnight infusion puts out distinct roasted coco notes with a honey finish in the mouth. The mouthfeel remains strong. The next overnight infusion reveals full nice date taste with a back flavour of coco.



Anonymous said...

Hi, thank you for writing such an informative blog. I'm based in Korea and intend to order some of this tea, or the Jukro equivalent. I wondered how long did you brew the first infusion for? And how much tea did you use? 2g? Thank you. J

Matt said...


Interesting you mention Jukro's "Uiri" Balhyocha as it is a very similar balhyocha in taste and feel to this Butea "Noeul" Balhyocha. Still have not tried the 2012 Jukro but if it is at all similar to last years harvest it will be a good comparison to this balhyo from Kim Jong Yeol.

The first infusion is for 35 seconds at maybe ??? 75 Degrees. Increase the length of infusion by 5-10 seconds and the heat of the water by 5 or so degrees every sequential infusion. Stuff the pot with leaves to get the most out of balhyocha. Put enough dry leaves in the pot so that when they expand they take up about 2/3-3/4 of the space in the pot.

Report back and let us know what your impressions are of these teas.


Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your reply. I will let you know how I get on.