Monday, August 9, 2010

2010 Dong Cheon Semi-Wild Hwagae Valley Jungjak Green Tea

Today it is time to try some of the jungjak grade by Dong Cheon. Like the saejak, it comes courtesy of Bob & Mary of Tea Trekker. One doesn't drink much jungjak grade, not because its bad tea but because in Korea it is usually just $10 cheaper per 100 grams then the saejak. If you are going to shell out the cash for a Korean green, why not go the distance. Usually the price difference between jungjak and saejak is not as much as saejak to ujeon.

Here it is important to note that each grade isn't necessarily 'better' than the other. Each grade is a reflection of the energies of season and of the seasonal changes within the tea plant. As a result each grade carries its own uniqueness and characteristic flavours, energy, and feeling.

Let's snip open the bag, warm the pot, boil the water and see what this one offers...

Certainly it offers mouth-watering dry leaves? These leaves are delicious. Strong, deep forest odours fill in the base of very roasted, thick creamy cereal layers with distinct almost chocolaty nuances.

The first pot delivers more of these elements in the mouth. In the cup the liquid shines an almost florescent green tinged yellow. It tastes very smooth and creamy with heavy cereal and nutty tones. It is not sweet at all but quite flavourful. It feels slippery and smooth and evolves to thin and dry. The lingering aftertaste is of roasted nuts and grains.

The second infusion brings a deeper cereal flavour with noticeable chocolate underpinnings in a brisk soup. Some astringency is thrown in for good measure and its result is a nice coating of the sides, roof, and edges of the tongue. The aftertaste is dry and lingering- simple cereal notes stay in the back of the throat.

In the third pot the roasted nutty and chocolate notes seem to overthrow the cereal notes. The chocolate-nut flavour becomes more creamy and less sharp. The distinct roastiness is really felt throughout this tea. The cereal and grainy feel are pushed more to the aftertaste. Even the mouthfeel is grainy in nature.
The chaqi of this tea carries a very warm thermal nature. It is impart due to the leaves being both older growth and, although they aren't certified, organic- the warm qi suggests that they most likely are. The processing method and jungjak grade also adds to the warmth of this tea. As a result, this tea doesn't attack the stomach even if over-steeped. Instead it offers up a very mellow qi that disperses like light rays or a faint mist from the sensation of slight heaviness of the middle jiao.

The first pots were were dark nutty chocolate, this fourth pot is creamy milk chocolate... mmmmm... It seems like the hardier elements have dropped off a bit as even the slight bitterness has faded. One finds amusement from the squirrels pulling walnut fruit from the old tree outside, inside one pulls out nutty chocolate notes from these leaves.

The fifth infusion is more soft, milky chocolate that is shedding some of its depth and complexity to reveal a nice subtle flavour that is full, delicious, and very satisfying. The mouthfeel is fading but enough holds on. This tea is really not so sweet but its deep flavour makes up for it by offering plenty for the tastebuds.

The sixth infusion is now simple grain notes with little deep chocolate nutty flavours left. This graininess is also left on the tongue. The aftertaste is roasted, if there is any sweetness to the tea it is to be found here.

In the seventh and eight infusion things become dry, thin, and bitter. The mouthfeel is harsh. The session is over.

Link to Bret's (Tea Goober) Tasting Notes



Unknown said...

I am looking forward to these teas, I actually ordered both the Saejak and Jungjak, and can not wait to try them.

Ho Go said...

I have not tried the jungjak, but, according to your description and the style of processing this roasted tea, I would bet the difference between this and O'Sulloc's offering would be like night and day.

Coincidentally, my order from East Teas in U.K. arrived yesterday. I attacked the bag of sejak which seems to be the same tea as you have. This is a highly recommended tea for anyone interested in the Korean tea experience to start out with. There is so much flavor and aroma in this tea and a hui gan that lasted for hours. The price is right and the way these teas are processed really brings out some unusual flavors.

Matt said...

Adam Yusko,

You'll have to let us know what you think of them.

Ho Go,

When you say that you ordered the same saejak from East Teas, do you mean that East Teas sells 2010 Dong Cheon Saejak? On their site it shows only two Korean teas- one Woojeon (Ujeon) and one 'Nokcha', but you say that the tea you ordered was a saejak?


Ho Go said...

Matt, let me clarify for you.
Unknowingly, I ordered the Sejak from East Teas believing it was a 2010 harvest. It turns out that it was a 2009 to my great disappointment. The tea is still very good but does a tea drinker order a Korean green tea that is over 1 year old knowingly? And, at those prices? I'm sure they will rectify this somehow.
They sell both an ujeon and sejak, and, yes, they are Mr. Ha's Dongcheon tea confirmed by them. Just found this out today. I apologize for any misunderstanding I may have given someone who read my previous post.

Matt said...

Ho Go,

You're right, nobody wants 2009 Korean green tea in the summer of 2010. Much of its subtlety is lost in a year, especially in a ujeon or saejak

Will add this information to The Updated List of English Vendors and Their Korean Tea:

Thanks for clarifying,