Korea Yejeon Woojeon Sparrow’s Tongue ‘Jakseol’ Green Tea from What-Cha

YejeonWoojeonTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy: What-Cha

Tea Description:

A Smooth and refined tea with a mouth coating corn taste accompanied by straw notes. Produced from the first and most prestigious ‘woojeon’ picking of the year, which is why the tea commands such a high price. Yejeon produce all their teas by hand from semi wild teas from high mountain bushes in Hwagae Valley, Jerisan.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I may need to catch my breath while saying all these tea names! Phew! This is the final Korean Green that I will be sampling today. No more, I promise. I definitely saved the best for last! I am glad I have stashed away this tea for today, I really needed a nice treat after a nice long workout.

Usually, my workout routine has been more of a “lack thereof” routine. I run to relieve stress, and do some yoga to relax. I felt like this was a routine that was working out pretty well. That is, until I noticed my arms flapping wildly during a particularly windy run in the park. I also noticed how difficult lifting things at work was, or even opening jars of things at home. Something simply had to be done.

I dusted off my membership card to the local rec center and tentatively dipped my toes into the weight room. Being the only woman in a cramped room full of gross, sweaty men was definitely something that flipped my world like a trick coin. Thankfully, I brought headphones. I didn’t have any good music to ‘pump up the jams’ with, so to speak. Except for one Kpop song. Sighing, I popped my headphones in and pressed play.

In that moment, something clicked. A switch was flipped on, connecting my weak muscles and the beat of G Dragon. Yes! Kpop was my savior at the gym! Who knew that fashionably dressed Asian men half my size and weight rapping ultra fast to a frothy beat would drive anyone working out near to me to cower in fear? I felt powerful. I still can’t lift much, but with those headphones in and the beat of EXO, I am unstoppable.

After an attempt at the gym, I always treat myself to some of my reserve tea. It really helps me to get centered and get my normal flow of blood pumping. Today to finish off the last of my Korean tea run, I turn to this hand picked ‘first flush’ green tea. Everything is done by hand, the picking, sorting, firing, and rolling. I can really see and taste the care that went into this tea.

The dry aroma of the lush forest green leaf is fresh and comforting. The leaves are tiny and thin and loosely rolled. I see nary a broken leaf in sight. The softly floral notes mix well with a grounding popped corn smell.

I brewed this tea in my smallest gaiwan with 140F water. The leaves turn a bright flush of hearty green as they release the goods. That lingering floral scent is transferred to the brew, making it light and soothing. I detect a slight vegetal top note to the thick broth. The floral mixes with hay to create a much more complex green than I had imagined, based on the previous gradings of this tea. There is a lingering taste of popcorn to the tail notes. It sticks with me even after finishing the last sip.

Korean Jukro Jungjak Sparrow’s Tongue ‘Jakseol’ Green Tea from What-Cha

KoreanJukroJangjakTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  What-Cha.com

Tea Description:

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.

Taster’s Review:

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.