Sunday, January 15, 2012

Woonsang Introduction and A Sampling of 2010 Woonsang Saejak Jiri Mountian Semi Wild Green Tea

Woonsang is one of the famous tea producers in Korea, its teamaster, Mrs. Kang, is one of the top in Korea.  Woonsang has been around since 1986 producing extremely good Korean tea in the most traditional of ways.  Woonsang (aka Jirisan Tea Company) means "clouds" in English and is a reference to the serenity of heavenly Jiri Mountain where all the tea is completely hand picked and produced.  What makes Woonsang particularly interesting is that it is the only old famous tea producer in Korea which only sells camella sinensis teas with absolutely no herbal teas offered.  One has very fond memories of drinking Woonsang saejak green tea, the 2006 harvest was one of the best.  It ended up winning some awards that year.

For those outside Korea looking for Woonsang teas, they can be purchased from Coreacolor.  These teas come packaged in the original packaging so its freshness is guaranteed.  The kind people at Coreacolor sent a complimentary box of Woonsang's balhyocha and piggy-backed a small sample of saejak from the kind owner's personal tea box.  It turned out that this tea was improperly stored in his desk.  Fortunately, when ordering from Coreacolor you will never have this problem because the tea is always in its original packaging.  The qi and mouthfeel of this tea was still excellent though.  Thought one might as well post on this session with this Woonsang saejak anyways...

These dry leaves are very small and medium-light-green coloured.  They smell of very fresh, minty-florals with lingering after-the-rain forest odours.  These leaves are full of ethereal notes.

The first infusion pours a yellow-green and tastes pondy, sweet, and floral with distinct woody floral notes stretching a bit in the long aftertaste.  The mouthfeel is thick and coats the mouth in a pasty coating which reaches the throat.

The second infusion supplies thick woody-pond notes that arrive first in the mouth.  These tastes are followed by sweet, long, thick goopy florals.  These floral notes are low not high like most fresh saejack.  There is very little sweetness found in this tea.  This mouthfeel is thick but not suffocating.

The third brings dry wood and pondy-forest notes presenting first.  This infusion has a stronger dry wood and pond taste and less floral finish.  The floral notes are low, almost rich, and linger in the nose.  The mouthfeel dips into the mid-throat and nicely coats the mouth.  The qi is strongly relaxing, it soothes the stomach and chest.  Ones vision becomes crisp and clear.

The fourth and fifth infusions begin the same as before with that a bit off pondy, dry-wood taste.  There is no sweetness left in this tea, a soft bitter wood is revealed in the taste profile.  The sixth infusion has an initial taste that is chalky, powdery, with that low floral taste lingering low in the mouth.

The seventh and eighth infusions contain a muted sweetness with floral under thick, chalky but faint pondy-wood base.  Some spicy notes appear in the aftertaste.  A rubbery taste starts to appear.

A wonderful session none the less.



Centranthus said...

Really enjoyed this post, Matt. Very informative, and your review was excellent. I look forward to a time when I can start sampling higher grade teas such as this.

Matt said...


The time is now! Think this tea as well as other Woonsang and Jukro cha is on sale at CoreaColor right now.

Again, thanks for all of your kind words.