February 21, 2018

Teas Unique Jeju Island 1st Flush Black Tea

In medieval times I might have been a scribe. I always carry a notebook and keep a separate tea notepad in my kitchen. Many of my tasting notes become the tea reviews you read on the blog.

My favorite book of 2017 is Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. It's an exquisite biography of generations of a Korean family. I read the novel at the end of last year. I am halfway through White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Brandt, a novel also set in Korea about the separation of two sisters during the Japanese occupation of Korean during the mid-1940s. In between these two books, I drank Teas Unique Jeju Island 1st Flush Black Tea.

Teas Unique provides an impressive amount of detail about their teas on the tea packets. Here's what I know about the 1st Flush Black Tea. It is organic single estate, machine harvested, wilted / tossed / rolled / oxidized / red. The estate is on Mt. Halla in the Pyoseon District of Seogwipo City on Jeju Island. The harvest was around May 15, 2017 of first flush Camellia sinensis 'Fuushun' and 'Yabukita'. Do you know this much about every tea you drink?

I prepared the tea following the recommended 1 teaspoon for 2 minutes in 6 ounces of 195F water. The short, dark slightly twisted dry leaves smelled like dried cherries and wood. The first infusion was light amber colored and also had a light body and flavor. The second infusion, at 3m, was still light bodied but I could taste sweet and starchy notes. I wasn't expecting such a light profile from a black tea so I used more tea (1 tablespoon) in a second session. While the tea was still sweet and light-bodied, the starchy flavor was more pronounced. My notes indicate that I thought the starchy flavor was like eating cold roasted breadfruit or smelling starched linens. For my third session with the tea I used 5 grams in 200F water in a gaiwan. The first cup was immediately thicker and more flavorful. There were herb and cocoa notes. The third cup was "so drinkable" I forgot to take notes, but I do recall that it was thick and smooth. The fourth (and final) cup was slightly thinner but the herb note still dominated followed by a floral tail note.

I recommend more leaf and gaiwan preparation for this black tea. Don't expect this black tea to be like a hong cha. It is less and differently oxidized than the typical hong cha. It's properly classified as a balhyocha (noted on the tea pouch). MattCha's blog has a three-part series on Korean balhyocha.

Jeju Island 1st Flush Black Tea provided by Teas Unique.

1 comment :

  1. Interesting tea and with such satisfying information, too! Thanks for sharing. I wish that every package of good tea came with such rich background info.


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