Friday, June 12, 2015

What-Cha, Korea Dong Cheon Daejak Sparrow's Tongue 'Jakseol' Green Tea

What-Cha Description:
A more affordable, yet still brilliant Korean green tea from the Daejak picking.

A larger leaf Korean tea from the Daejak (fourth) flush, subsequent flushes are less prestigious and hence cheaper than previous flushes. As the leaves are bigger than earlier flushes, a greater number of steeps can be achieved.

Sourced at a discounted rate from another UK retailer who imported it direct from Dong Cheon, Korea. Dong Cheon is a tea factory which processes tea from a co-operative of over 80 farmers. It is the factory processing which makes Dong Cheon teas more affordable compared to other Korean teas.

Sample provided by What-Cha Tea Redefined

My Review:
I'm starting this review with an apology to What-Cha, even though I know Alistair understands. I've been fighting health issues for a while and my box of What-Cha samples have sat untouched for a while. Apparently a long while, as this tea is currently out of stock. In the expectation it will be restocked, I will proceed with the review. Beside who doesn't want to try Jack Sparrow tongue green tea? Yeah, I know that's not the real name, but that's how my twisted brain read it.

I don't recall saying this before but I appreciate What-Cha listing the steeping temperature in both Celsius and Fahrenheit on the label. Especially true with this tea as the temp is really low. No clumsy conversions needed.

The first note coming from the open bag is a light roasted scent.

The leaf is really dark. It is kind of battleship gray with a darker purplish tint. It is an unusual color. The leaf is lightly twisted curls.

I used about 3g of leaf (abt 1 1/2 tsp) in my press. The tricky part here is the recommended water temperature is 158 F. I fired up the kettle and watched as the thermometer climbed. Turning it off moments early and letting momentum do its thing. The steep time was 1 1/2 minutes.

The wet leaf remains somewhat twisted at this point. It has turned a lush green, so the unusual dry color is from the processing. I can't tell at this point if this is whole leaf or large broken pieces. Either way, it looks lush. The scent of the wet leaf is roasted like the dry leaf.

The liquor is the color of lemon aid with maybe a shot of lime tossed in. It certainly looks refreshing on this hot summer day.

 One thing I can immediately say is a steeping temperature of 158 F works great for me to begin sipping right away. I have no idea how those of you who like it really hot, keep from hurting yourselves. I'm a temp wimp.

So the first sip, I'm tasting the roasting. Come on, it is not THAT roasted. I have noticed that notes I love, and one's that I am not so crazy for (roasting), tend to take over my experience when tasting. I have read other's reviews of this tea. They barely, if at all, mention it. In fact, one called this a must have tea. Time to put on the big boy pants and try again.

OK, now I am catching corn notes up front. This abruptly shifts to a momentary metallic taste. Not to worry as it glides gently into a grassy finish. There is no bitterness. I do notice some dryness, that I kind of like.

Time to move on to mug two. If I were gongfu gaiwan brewing this would be like cup five through ten. I just much prefer my big western mug.

Interesting, I wasn't expecting this much difference between the first and second mug. This one is a combination of seaweed (Nori, if that makes it sound more appealing to you), corn, and grass. The light roasting is gone (Hallelujah!) as is the metallic note.

This is an interesting and more complex tea than one might expect at the price. It is not going to make my must have list but I am glad to have tried it.

You can find What-Cha, Korea Dong Cheon Daejak Sparrow's Tongue 'Jakseol' Green Tea here.

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