Hello! So it’s been snowing intensely lately here and these past few weeks have been absolutely perfect for drinking tea.
Today’s tea is actually my first Korean green tea – I’ve heard great things about Korean greens and how they’re kind of like a blend between a Chinese green and a Japanese green.
I don’t drink a lot of green tea but when I do it’s usually a Japanese sencha (I’ll be posting a review of my favorite sencha soon). When I brew sencha I usually have it in a large pot and I add a salted sakura flower (sakuraya) which goes excellently with the grassy flavors of sencha.
Chinese green tea is not my favorite however I am going to start trying more Chinese greens to find one that I really like.
This tea is Hankook Tea’s Teuksun sejak, which is the second highest grade of Korean tea. Korean green tea is divided into ujeon 우전 (highest grade, first harvest, only the buds), sejak 세작 (second-highest grade, second harvest, bud and a small leaf), jungjak 중작 (third-highest grade, third harvest, younger leaves), and daejak 대작 (fourth-highest grade, fourth harvest, mature leaves).
This specific tea was produced on Hankook Tea’s Honam Tea Estate in South Jeolla Province. The tea estate consists of three plantations: Jangsung, Youngam, and Haenam. Jangsung is located north of Gwangju and they produce a lot of powdered green tea (called malcha in Korean). Youngam is Honam Tea Estate’s largest plantation, and it is located close to Wolchulsan Mountain. Haenam is located near the Pacific Coast south of the town of Haenam.
Anyways I am very excited to try my first Korean green tea!
The dry leaves smell a lot like a Japanese sencha, yet there is a distinctive toasted, nutty scent that I associate more with a Chinese green such as a longjing. It does have the seaweed-like scent of sencha and this has the almost irony scent of salmon roe.
The steeped leaves lack the seaweed/salmon roe notes of the dry leaves but they retain the grassy, vegetal, and nutty notes common to a Japanese sencha. The toasted scent lingers and is what sets this apart from Japanese green tea.
The tea itself’s smell is like a light sencha – sweet and nutty but again this smells more toasted.
The first taste of the tea is a slight astringency, and it dries out the inside of the mouth. It later evolves into a smooth, grassy, and nutty flavor that is noticeable in Japanese greens. This tea is very similar to many Japanese green teas that I’ve tried in the past. I didn’t re-steep this tea because I don’t normally do that with green tea but I did try it in the way that I like my sencha – with a salted sakura flower – and it worked beautifully. The slightly salted, floral flavor of the cherry blossom compliments the vegetal and nutty green tea flavors spectacularly, and it is one of my favorite combinations in the world.
Overall, this tea was wonderful for a first introduction into Korean greens, and I will definitely look more into Korean teas because they tend to be a little more hidden and obscure and I would love to try a Korean black tea, oolong tea, or even a dark tea. I will also be buying more of this tea, because it’s one of the best green teas I’ve tried.
From: Hankook Tea
Honam Tea Estate, South Jeolla Province, South Korea
Salted Sakura Flowers: Yunomi.life