Sunday, February 3, 2013

2012 Soa Tea Certified Organic Boseong Balhyocha

A few weeks ago one had sampled a green tea from the Boseong grower, Soa Tea. Today, as promised, the balhyocha from the same producer is under some serious enjoyment. Gabe Fife, fellow Korean tea lover and blogger of the Korean Dojang, had purchased a large quantity of this tea. He felt that for its price, the Soa Tea balhyocha cannot be beat. This organically certified tea from the popular Boseong tea growing region sells for 9,000 KRW (approx $9.00 USD) for 40g, a very good value. The water is boiling in the clay brazier, it has not been sunny in a week or so, it is the perfect time to see what this tea has to offer...

The slightly curled, black dry leaves release an odour of deep cherry wood with soft, deep fruity apricot notes underneath. These leaves are piled into the small warm teapot.

The first infused liquor pours a browny-orange colour. It starts with robust, woody deep tastes which reach into the mid-throat. The tea evolves quickly in the mouth and finishes off with spicy-cinnamon and persimmon. These gradually trail off as well leaving the taste of smooth apricot on the tongue. The mouthfeel is full and throaty but still light, a characteristic of balhyocha.

The second infusion has a distinct cherry wood start which immediately grips the mid-throat. There are deep oxidized notes of deep forests then suggestions of sesame and vague tangerine and apricot. The mouthfeel coats the throat and is mainly felt in the back of the mouth. Cinnamon-persimmon notes are the last to be detected a minute or so after swallowing. These tastes appear in the sandy-pasty mouthfeel in the back of the mouth.

The third infusion has even more cinnamon-persimmon. This infusion has a smoother profile with these distinct fruity notes stretching through the taste profile. The deeper-woodsier tastes tastes linger underneath- sweet fruit in a soft pasty mouthfeel. The fourth infusion is much the same. The chaqi is very light, soft, and smooth. It travels gingerly throughout ones body.

The fifth infusion is more dry-wood-bark tastes with the lighter fruity notes sitting softy below. There is also a very soft sour citrus note that appears now as well adding another layer of simple complexity. The mouthfeel becomes slightly more coarse and drying now.

The sixth infusions smooths out with woody-bark over soft, sour citrus undertones. The taste is much more simple now. The mouthfeel is still very full.

The seventh infusion is much the same as the sixth now maybe a bit more fruity as the dry notes smooth even further. Still lots of depth and mouthfeel. Even under longer steeps late into the tea session there is still much flavour to enjoy. The fruit notes are very faint under dry wood flavours in this eighth infusion.

The tea is put to an 24 hour steeping to leach out what is left. Strong cherry wood varnish like tastes mingle with very distinct orange-grapefruit tastes the taste has a rose and rosehip-like flavour which overlaps with the wood taste. Interesting tea.

Thanks again Gabe.



Adam Yusko said...

Sounds Delicious, sadly I feel I am a bit Balhyocha'd out... it only took me gorging on it once a day for a month straight to get me there. But this tea sounds delicious.


Matt said...

Adam Yusko,

Hahaha... can relate...also had to take a break from balhyocha for a month or so in November the direct result of going overboard in the Autumn.

What producer of balhyocha pushed you over the edge (Question-mark)


Vincent said...

Interesting tea indeed...

Joseph said...

I like the look of the leaves. The Balhyocha I have is very wiry. Really great price, too. I've noticed Balhyo prices in Seoul getting really out of hand, as is more than a high quality Tie Kwan Yin or even more per gram than a 30 year old puerh.

Matt said...


Prices are still rising for balhyocha eh? Thanks for this info.

Balhyocha is much less labour intensive to produce than green tea and it is usually produced using larger, less expensive leaves that are picked later in the picking season. Remember when 30 000 KRW was the most you would pay for 80g of balhyocha, Jukro's Uricha? See here:


Gabe Fife said...

this is great matt!

there really is something special about READING what another has to feel about a tea that has been shared (even if its been at completely different ages in time).

I have received a few tea gifts lately and in an effort to cut down on costs of tea have not have this pallhyo in over a month (although there are a few finger fulls of leaves in a bag somewhere I'm sure).

you're tasteful description of its chi and fruity delights are much of the same i have enjoyed. i believe the descriptions you present are much fine tuned in the physical as much as the written sense too. i am quite impressed/pleased with your description mostly because i have enjoyed this tea now for a few months but as one who mostly drinks alone, these thoughts/feelings are rarely portrayed in the written form (WHICH IS OF GREAT VALUE).

It was quite refreshing to read your experience. I look forward to many more cups of Soa Tea.

Enjoy till the last cup, but never let there be a last!


Gabe Fife said...

Attempted to post a message earlier but not thinking it went through.

Reading the post on this tea was quite refreshing. after a few tea gifts and about a month's of not drinking this tea, i am looking forward to many days ahead with more cups of palhyocha fro boseong.

As a rarely post/write of my experiences in drinking tea, reading yours about a tea i have enjoyed many weeks deep brought a new sense of relation to this tea.

as i usually sit in a bit of solitude drinking, writing (not on tea), reading i simply enjoy the cup and after reading your descriptions have quite a revelation of its qualities.

it is also quite amazing to enjoy the same tea as another person on the other side of the world. brings much meaning to cyber "tea clubs" and brings me to carry an interest in participating in such activities.

continue the cups and never let 'em end!


Matt said...


Thanks again for sharing some of this tea!

The Soa Tea green wasn't in the best of shape but this session with the Soa Tea balhyocha was quite worth it.