Friday, August 24, 2012

2012 Jukro Saejak Semi Wild Hwagae Valley Green Tea

Rarely do people try Jukro's green tea and not comment on how splendid it is. From the over-the-top packaging to the aroma of the dry leaves, Jukro teas tend to impress. Jukro is often seen as the industry standard for Hwagae Valley, Semi-wild, all hand produced teas. Afterall, their gardens occupy some of the oldest and most ideal locations for tea plants in Korea. Jukro's popularity has also increased domestically and internationally over the last few years. Partly due to a stronger push by Jukro to market their tea to foreign dealers and partly their stronger presence in international tea festivals world wide. Interestingly those who have been drinking Jukro over the last decade have noticed a slight decrease in the quality of their teas.

As noted in the comment section here their famous balhyocha was once 3 years fermented before release is now just fermented for 3 months. The result is a loss of depth. Their green teas have also lost just a slight bit of their vibrancy over the last few years. This of course may have to do with the less than ideal Spring whether they have been receiving on Jiri Mountain over the last few years. Compared to other dealers, this does not account for the full story. It should be noted that the loss of quality is very very slight, but worthy of noting nonetheless. With that said, Jukro teas still remain arguably the best Korean green tea on the market.

Jukro's green tea is roasted to perfection on the iron cauldron by hand. Jukro's greens are famous for their characteristic cool, deep, foresty quality. They represent a spectrum of Korean semi-wild Hwagae Valley green tea production with minimally produced, very subtle, fresh green tea such as the one produced by this single monk reviewed a few months ago at the other end.

Let's crack through the layers of packaging and experience this year's saejak from Jukro which was recently purchased from Good Green Tea...

The dry leaves present a wonderful dense aroma of minty-fresh, vibrant high notes which are the first to reach the nose. Deep roasted forest notes cover the bottom end seconds later. There is a pine wood and slight edges of potato, even a cool pungent note is present in this complicated bouquet. A floral notes seems to linger behind it all.

These leaves are added to a warm teapot and the first infusion is prepared with cooling water. It has woody-forest initial tastes with soft, slightly cereal, flavours developing on the tongue. The mouthfeel is soft and full even cooling the upper throat. The qi is refreshing and cools the body slightly.

The second infusion presents sweet-floral-forest initial tastes which turn into a deeper, roasty, wood taste in the mouth. It has a creamy cereal-floral aftertaste which lingers on the breath. The mouthfeel has a certain chalkiness to it. The qi is cooling and is felt in the stomach.

The third infusion the floral notes become more distinct in the sweet-floral-forest presentation. The forest notes also seem deeper with more of a pine wood edge that support the higher floral notes. It has a cool, pungent forest finish along with distinct florals and roasted tones. The cool sensation reaches down to the mid throat here. The chaqi continues to cool and relaxing.

In the fourth infusion there is more of a sweet-wood initial taste with this taste becoming more woody and less floral. It has a cool, cereal finish- this infusion giving out more cereal tastes that merge into the taste profile. The floral notes are relegated to faintly linger in the aftertaste.

The fifth infusion has more grainy-wood and forest depth to it. Mellow, slight floral edges are also in there as well. It continues to become more woody. The long foresty-floral aftertaste remains. The mouthfeel has developed a certain graininess and coarseness to it as well.

The sixth infusion delivers sweet, subtle, almost apple-grapefruit fruity tastes with a certain juiciness to it. It is still woody with floral notes still lingering. The relaxing and cooling qi pushes ones head into the clouds on this warm summer day.

The seventh and eighth infusions present a watery, woody-forest taste with the floral notes almost gone. The mouthfeel has a slightly sticky-grainy quality to it.



discipleofthetealeaf said...

I enjoyed reading your notes on this tea, as I always do, Matt.

I thought of you last night when I received an update from Rare Tea Republic making note of these additions:

The teas I have had from her have been wonderful so far, fwiw.

Matt said...


Will have to add them to the list of vendors here:

Thanks for thinking of MattCha's Blog and updating us!


Anonymous said...


I am delighted to find your review of this tea. I received it from Sam when I ordered the "monk's tea," the wonders of which again I owe to your remarkable insights into Korean tea. The feeling of this tea in the mouth, which you describe as "soft and full," is revelatory.


Matt said...


"Soft and full" hahaha... yes. This tea offers an excellent cooling sensation of the upper and mid throat which is a real treat as well.

Tasting the monk made ZeDa saejak after Jukro's saejak offers the drinker a real education on the breadth of tea production of Hwagae Valley teas. Although both teas are produced using the same steps and are picked just Kilometers away from each other in the same valley, they offer such different tea experiences.

Anyone new to Korean tea would benefit from such an education. Even old hacks like us are amused by such things... hahaha


geneviève meylan said...

I am very happy to read your notes about this tea and also about the vendor and the compagny! Because a friend of mine buy many teas from that vendor directly in Korea for me and bring them specially with him by plane . I have not try them yet , I wanted to take time to enjoy them. ...
I see their website but everything is in Korean do you know if they are sending to Europa ?

Matt said...


Yes, CoreaColor offers Jukro teas from its webstore in France. They offer them for cheaper than the shelf price in Korea, a great price. They stock the Ujeon and Jungjak grades of green tea and balhyocha.

The nice thing about Jukro is that they never sell their tea in bulk so the tea you buy is always packaged at the source and remains fresh.

See here:


geneviève meylan said...

oh thanks a lot !!! So I can try also some other teas .... :)

taooftea said...

Your notes on this tea were a pleasure to read. Now living in London, I had previously spent a wonderful year enjoying tea in Korea. You really helped me to recall the great pleasure I took drinking fine Korean green tea.

Matt said...


Happy to rekindle such nostalgia. Hope you are still finding time to enjoy those Korean teas in London.