Another post about Korean tea? Yes. Unexpectedly, it seems like this season is going to be quite Korean for me – there are more interesting fresh teas from this country on Czech and Slovak market than ever before.
This particular Saejak was purchased on my last visit to Teatrade.sk's store. It cannot be found on their website nor in their regular offering, but, along with two other Korean teas mentioned below, can be tasted in their neighboring teahouse “U veseleho slona”.
This exact same tea can, however, be purchased on Darjeeling.cz – this year, they offer three different Hadong teas, one Ujeon, this Saejak and one Yellow tea. All of these teas come in the generous Hadong packaging (see Matt's very informative post here), but, at least for this one, there is a sticker on the back of its box – mostly in Korean, the only exception being web address of Gyeun Farm, which I suppose is the producer. It originates in Ssangye area and is, according to the Darjeeling website, completely hand-picked and hand-processed from wild tea bushes.
Since it was purchased, I've enjoyed this Saejak quite a lot of times, always discovering something new and liking the tea more and more – it really grew on me.
These leaves are quite uniform, small and a bit curly with very pleasant sweet, deep and, again, forest-like smell. As they are placed into the preheated Shiboridashi, this smell intensifies and new nuances come out, reminding me of various things – sweet pastry or bread among them.
Always using just a slightly hotter water than I did for the previous brew, several infusions are made of this tea, as its character gradually evolves, changes and becomes interestingly different in each and every one of them – generally, these brews are quite light, yet very aromatic at the same time. The taste is mainly soft, bread-like, bit roasted, sweet and fresh; it embraces all the deepness found in its smell and even more, fruity tones reminiscent of sweet young pears and something I would call “mountain forest air” and the sensation of breathing it. The aftertaste is mild and sweet, being noticeable for a very long time and seems to carry different main tone after each infusion – nutty sweetness after the first one, fruity freshness after the second, almost vanilla-like creaminess after the third and so on.
This tea reaches its peak around third or fourth brew, when it is strongest and most intensive in taste, smell and aftertaste. After that, it still produces more than enjoyable infusions – gradually, these are just less deep, a bit more sharp and spicy and have smaller scale of tones, most persistent of which is probably the roasted bread-like taste and nuttiness.
One of the most amazing things about this tea is the almost spiritual-like, peaceful state of mind it leaves me in after the session – the need to just quietly sit and breathe, still sensing this tea, not only on the tongue.
I feel like taking this tea on a trip with me and enjoying it in the nature – hopefully, I really will, before I completely run out of it.