Korea Dong Cheon Daejak Sparrow’s Tongue Green Tea from What Cha

KoreaDongCheonTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: What-Cha

Tea Description:

A more affordable, yet still brilliant Korean green tea from the Daejak picking. A larger leaf Korean tea from the Daejak (fourth) flush. As the leaves are bigger than earlier flushes, a greater number of steeps can be achieved.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Phew, that name is a mouthful, isn’t it? Well, such a large name really commands a delicious tea. I am about to find out if this green tea lives up to it’s really long name! Korean tea is actually not a common thing, as I had previously thought. The popularity of tea in Korea is declining, while coffee is slowly worming it’s way in, becoming more common than tea in recent years. It must be all those Korean Dramas set in coffee shops!

There are several ways to tell if what type of tea you will be drinking if it is grown in Korea. Like in Japan, the name of the tea tells all. This Jakseol tea, more commonly known as Sparrow’s Tongue tells me that this is a high quality, well tended leaf. It is said that the little, emerald green leaves looks like a tongue of a bird. I have personally never seen the inside of a sparrow’s beak, so I cannot attest to this, but it’s fair to assume how this tea could be referred to as such.

There are four grades of Jakseol, which indicate when they were picked. Sejak and Jungjak are the first and second official pickings, followed by Daejak. There is, of course, and ultra-special early picking, which includes only the finest and most tender of the early spring buds. This is woojeon and is so expensive that looking at a single ounce online made me spit out my tea. I have a couple of these different grades and I am starting with Daejak and I will continue to work my way up in the line. And for being the lowest of the grades, the quality of this tea does not mean bad tea in any way. This is so far from it. While the leaves are longer and larger, the way they curl and practically glow is a strong indicator that something great is about to fall into my cup.KoreaDongCheon1

The dry nose is pretty exciting. It’s interesting and like no other green that I am used to. Very grassy and grain-like. The brewed tea tastes about the same. I feel like I am drinking liquid corn flakes. Well, if you spilled a box of corn flakes into freshly mowed grass and decided to eat them anyway. Yes, it’s quite a visual. But the bright and fresh grassiness is going head to head with the sweet corn notes in the brew. The later steepings become more nutty, subtle and even sweeter. Perhaps a better visual would be sitting on a soft blanket in prairie grass, eating (clean!) corn flakes in fresh milk from the dairy farm nearby with the morning sun just beginning to rise high over your head.

While this tea is pretty similar to a good Japanese sencha, I do not get as much as astringency as I thought I would be faced with. A little drying, yes. But nothing like what I was expecting. It’s a unique and delicious green tea. I would recommend this for anyone looking for a different and fun green from a different growing region. A quite lovely brew for the beginning of spring!

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