Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: What-Cha.com
A great Korean tea which has been produced entirely by hand from the Jungjak picking. It produces an astonishing first brew. A smaller leaf Korean tea from the Jungjak (third) flush. Early flushes are more expensive as they are more prestigious and consist of smaller leaves (more picking to produce the same amount of tea) all of which contribute to the higher price
Learn more about this tea here.
If you have read my bio, you may have noticed that I am really into Korean Dramas. I suppose it comes as no surprise that while I am reviewing this Korean tea, I am also catching up on my latest drama. The leaves are practically jumping out of my brewing vessel at the tension between characters!
The thing about a good Kdrama is the sheer amount of tropes in each one-season, hour long episode. There is just something about the hilarious and seemingly improbable plot points, the little nuances about Korean culture that simply do not translate to my American mindset, and the fabulous people and the varying worlds they live in. Ever since the invention of ‘flower boys’ the male lead and all men around him will be, without a doubt, better dressed than any of the female actresses. Please stop me if you hear me shouting “Fighting!” during an important plot twist. Unfortunately, there is practically no mention of tea, except in cosmetics from the island of Jeju.
Now I am moving on the third tier of the Korean tea hierarchy: Jungjak. I could tell that this tea was a cut above Daejak as soon as I cracked open the package. The emerald green leaves were thinner, more tightly twisted and significantly longer. Just looking at the leaves I cannot see a broken leaf in sight. Wiping the drool off my face, I brew the tea in my baby kyusu. I’m using cooler water here than I would for any other green, even the Daejak before it. I am shooting for a gyokuro temp, so around 140F/60C should do it. This tea simply asks for a little extra care. It is hand picked, and hand rolled after all.
The grassy and sweet leaves brew into a light yellow-green liquor – it reminds me of those bits of potato chips that still have a tinge of green skin on them. Unlike the Daejak, the leaves turn a bright happy green when soaked in water. The resulting brew is less cornflake and more savory. It’s thick and smooth with a slight astringency. This tea evokes a steamed bok choy buttered and lightly salted. This is quite a steamy side dish of a tea. Of course, a perfect side dish to any Korean Drama.