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.