Thursday, January 31, 2013

2013 Victoria Tea Festival (There is going to be a Korean Tea Ceremony!)

One has written extensively about the Victoria Tea Festival over the last 4 years and have seen it change dramatically in that time (click this link then scroll down to see all the posts). This year there are some noticeable changes to the festival. First, this years festival will only be one day (held on Febuary 9th) instead of two. Second, maybe the most obvious, is the open invitation for coffee roasters and other non-tea related exhibitors. This was happening more and more over the years anyways and last year it was very apparent that this wasn't a tea exclusive event. The third is the absence of local tea shops sponsoring the event. A few years ago the sponsors were mainly all local tea shops, now there is only one, the juggernaut DavidsTea. The fourth difference is the absence of the most popular tea shop among local Victorians, Silk Road. In all the previous years Silk Road was a main sponsor, occupied much of the main tea floor, and was guaranteed a presentation slot. Silk Road's absence in the festival will definitely be felt, especially considering how brilliant their displays and decoration were.

So then, what is there in this year's Victoria Tea Festival to look forward too?

Here is four good reasons to go to this years Victoria Tea Festival...

Well there are still some great returning exhibitors. Jagasilk, Chado Tea House, and May Ip Tea Gallery have great, passionate exhibitors that are worth a good chat and a sample of their teas.  Secondly, one has meet some of my best tea buds at previous Victoria Tea Festivals If you are passionate about a certain kind of tea, chances are that you will find someone at the tea festival who is just as passionate as you.  Thirdly, there are two presentations that one is really looking forward to. There is a presentation on medicinal herbal tea blends by David Cauldwell. If you haven't heard David speak you should go, he is full of interesting knowledge on how herbs heal! There is (finally) a presentation on the Korean Tea Ceremony! The presentation will be given by Greg Demmons the description of his presentation is as follows:

"Originally from Newfoundland, Greg and his wife, Patricia, moved to South Korea to teach in 2003. Greg began individual study of the Korean tea ceremony with local Tea Master, Kim Kyungui, after a chance meeting at a mountain hermitage. One year later, she requested that he remain for 4 more years of individual instruction. In November 2007, he was granted permission to teach the dado (Korean Tea Ceremony), by his Master and the city."

His twitter feed describes the following:

"Studied under Kim Kyung-ui, aka, Cho INmok, in Ich'on, South Korea for several years. I specialize in the meditation ceremony."

Have never heard of Greg before but can't wait to meet the guy and experience his master's take on the Korean tea ceremony!

The fourth reason is that the event is a charity event, so why not go support the local charity?

See you there.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

2012 Soa Tea Jungjak? Certified Organic Boseong Green tea

Have taken a bit of an unintended break from tea blogging. Things are well but have gotten more busy, lost some spare time in the mornings so the time to drink in ceremony and blog has been lost. Today one enjoys a pot in the late afternoon. It is a sample that was picked up at at the Busan Tea Festival by fellow Korean blogger, Gabe Fife of The Korean Dojang. The sample is by Korean tea producer Soa Tea from the Bosong tea producing area of Korea. One found a wild flower growing in a field near by, struggling against the elements, and thought to pick it- company to enjoy this green tea with...

The small sample packages are opened into the warmed tea pot. They contain dark green-brownish, medium large jungjak grade leaves. The smell given off is of roasted nuts and soft subtle grains. There is just a slight suggestion of almost menthol, more woody-forest odours.

The first infusion is prepared and yields a light, watery, melon, juicy grass taste. A faint goji berry taste finishes in the mouth as well as a slight tree bark taste which is somewhat brackish. The mouthfeel is very soft, like softened mineral water, that safely glides over the tongue. The first cup embraces the stomach but is not harsh to it.

The second infusion has a slight medicinal-menthol taste which lingers in the mouth. There is a menthol, woody-bark taste that comes later with subtle faded choke-cherry notes that pop into the profile. The mouthfeel has a slight sticky consistency which is found mainly on the roof of the mouth and tongue. Minutes later a distinct black licorice taste fills the mouth, dancing on the breath.

The same medicinal-menthol taste lingers on in the third infusion and in every infusion thereafter. It dominates much of the profile and is likely an indication of some oxidization that has took place either from packing and repacking and/or from shipping. Melon-grass notes slip in and out of the profile for a minute or so after swallowing. The fourth infusion is much the same but the mouthfeel is noticeably heavier and slightly sticky/pasty in the mouth. The fifth infusion is much the same, the taste is what ddok cha tastes like after a year or two- still enjoyable.

The next few infusions are much the same but have a lighter-grassy-bark quality to them. The sample of balhyocha of the same tea garden should gives us a better example of what Soa Tea is all about...

Until then...