Sunday, October 28, 2012

2012 Ssang Kye "Chun-Go-Hyang" (1000 Day Aged) Yellow Tea... On Another Cold Autumn Day

Remember consuming the 2011 release of this same tea last year at this same time. Autumn harmonizes nicely with Korean balhyocha (Yellow tea) so naturally it feels right during this season. Last year there was an interesting discussion in the comment section on the amount of time Korean producers age their balhyocha before it is released to the public and how this can influence quality of the tea. Currently, this "1000 Day Aged" balhyocha is aged longer than any other commercially available balhyocha. Interestingly, "Chun Go Hyang" consistently delivers a more substantial mouthfeel than most balhyocha and an array of autumnal juicy, fruit flavours. When Jukro used to age their balhyocha for three years (pre-2011) the mouthfeel was also slightly more full. Could it be the aging or something else??? ? Sam of Good Green Tea now carries this unique balhyocha for those who are interested.

Let's boil the water up on this cold Autumn day and enjoy some tea...

The dry leaves contain in them distinct, deep, sweet bread notes with spicy cinnamon and cloves. There is a slight foresty-wood base that also come off from the deep-grey-greenish-toned leaves. These leaves are added to the warm pot, the warmth of the water resting in the cool water bowl warms the hands on this cool fall day.

The first infusion has distinct sweet, bready-plum-apricot subtleties in the initial taste which develop a spicy, tanginess as it proceeds into aftertaste. The mouthfeel paints a full but soft coat over the tongue, mouth, and upper throat. The qi is slightly warming and soothing for the stomach.

The second infusion is juicy, sweet with a deep bread initial taste which fades into distinct sweet fruits of baked apple and spicy persimmon, distant walnut. The mouthfeel really coats the mouth in this soft coating that makes the lips stick to the teeth.

In the third infusion a more juicy-smooth initial taste with bread notes now mingle more with the juicy-spicy-fruity tastes that stretch into the aftertaste. The fruit flavours are more pronounced in this infusion. A papaya aftertaste is left on the breath minutes later.

The fourth infusion is even more juicy now with fruits filling the initial taste then slowly fading to muted spices and interesting bread-wood tastes. These tastes stretch onto the breath.

In the fifth and sixth infusions a smooth, almost creamy, tangy wood initial taste appears. It then fades into a dry wood with fruity-sweet notes slowly popping up. The mouthfeel offers a nice soft gripping sensation in the mid-throat, and is a touch drier in the mouth. There is a faint woody finish left on the breath.

In the seventh infusion smooth, creamy-woody-bread taste has light edges of sweet fruit, maybe persimmon. The aftertaste lingers in the upper throat and mouth and faintly suggests fruits. The eighth infusion is much the same but noticeably more tangy and woody.

The tea is put to an overnight infusion and delivers tangy, deep, woody and prune tastes.



The Teaist said...

Sounds splendid. Never tried Korean tea before. Stunning photography.

Gabe Fife said...

Hello Matt!

Just returned from attending a biomechanics in sport conference in busan (no interest to the reader(s). HOWEVER, there happened to be a concurrent Tea and Pottery Expo at BEXCO (Busan Convention Center). I (although an apparent biomechanics scientist), however saw it fit to take a nice stroll through the various booths on floor.

My last stop was of "Soa Dawon"/소아다원. Here I met a couple who manages a tea field and harvests teas. Of particular interest to me was the palhyocha. The price was quite nice in my book (9,000 won / 40 g) [unless others have better prices I would be quite interested].

They gave me a few little baggies (one sitting of sips) of green tea and palhyocha.

Would "one" be interested in a baggie? Or do you go about these events through direct contact to the distributor?? Or have you tried their teas?

visit here:

or share your post address for a little baggie of green and palhyo.


Matt said...

The Teaist,

Thanks for following. You ought to try some Korean tea- everyone's doin' it! ;)

Gabe Fife,

What a splendid coincidence that they happen to be in the same building.

"One" (haha) has contacted you regarding the generous Soa Dawon offer. Have never tried their tea. Their price is cheap and their site looks nice.

Hope that you will also post about this tea.


Gabe Fife said...

Yes, quite splendid and I was quite torn between the two. But, in the end, I gave into the higher and indulged in some tea time with the vendors and some eye shopping of tea of these days when the pocket allows...

we'll see what the day holds for me tomorrow...will try and get to the post office.. :)

GoodGreenTea said...

three common denominator of Gabe and me. Tea lover, Biomechanics, and, Busan....


Steph said...

Very interesting! I've been drinking many aged oolong teas lately - aged much longer, but still it is interesting to watch the character shift in any aging.

Unknown said...


Thank you for the post on this tea, it got me out of my funk, and lead me to place an order for some more Korean Teas. Now I am drinking them like mad again. I posted a comment about another tea that I tried, but I wanted to comment on this tea too.

This tea knocked my socks off quite literally, I was tea drunk a a few sips into the second infusion. So much goodness in this tea. In case good green tea sees this, I sure hope they continue to carry this tea!


Anonymous said...

Are there any similarities between this fermented tea and puerh?

Matt said...


Puerh tea undergoes kill-green in its processing where balhyocha (hwang cha) does not.

See here for a thorough comparison of balhocha to the 6 traditional tea types including puerh (hei cha, black tea):


Bret said...

Hey Matt,

I have been drinking this tea for the past week or so. It seems to be similar to the Hwangcha,s Ive had in the past, and at the same time, very different. Some of the expected flavors are there as well as an unexpected cooling, minty notes. I also noticed that when brewing the tea that a portion of the leaves appear to have had no fermentation at all, still as green as green could be.

Not saying anything negative about it. Just wondering why they apparently mixed the fermented leaves with a portion of un-fermented leaf.


Matt said...


Always nice to hear from you gain.

It is not that uncommon to see differently oxidized balhyocha leaves in hand produced balhyocha. This is partly because the hand production often leads to uneven oxidization. One had also noticed this feature of this Chun-go-hyang.

Thanks for sharing your experience with this tea.