Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What-Cha: Korea Dong Cheon Daejak 2013 Sparrow's Tongue 'Jakseol' Green Tea, A Tea Review

I did it! I finally found the time to garden, and yes I have a ton of other things I need to do and should finish them, but I needed to go play in the dirt. The point of this little patch of dirt that I will put plants in (and hopefully not kill them, I am not the best at gardening) is totally therapeutic. I need nature and a reason to go outside, and this was the perfect solution. So, my patch is all cleared of weeds, grass, and leaves, just need to get the soil's health up a bit and then introduce some plants to it. I feel good, even if I have dirt in my hair now.

So, I got my hands on some money for doing a little fancy secret research work, and the first thing I spent it on was a shopping spree at What-Cha, some old favorites for my stash and some new fun ones to try for What-Cha Wednesday, a thing I hope never ends, and not just because I adore getting boxes from England. Today's tea is not from my most recent order, but it is one that has been promoted to 'must always have on hand' status, and yet it has taken me a while to write about it, because it is a mind boggler, I worry I won't do it justice, and that tea is: Korea Dong Cheon Daejak 2013 Sparrow's Tongue 'Jakseol' Green Tea. This is the fourth ( Deajak) and cheapest of the Korean green tea flushes, and also this is the first Korean tea I have tried (well except my addiction to Oksuscha, the roasted corn tea of happiness) and it seemed like a good way to introduce me to it. I admit, much to my shame, that the Korean tea culture is probably one of my weakest knowledge points, a lot of it due to having a heck of a time finding things easily, but it is something I am working on. Ok, enough stalling, onto the tea! The aroma is, omg it is so good, there are notes of toasted sesame, tahini, toasted corn, a touch of creaminess, a tiny bit of toasted nori, and lastly a bright green 'tea' note. See, here is where it gets hard, that last note, it smells like the very distilled essence of the idea of green tea!

Brewing the tea is really what caused me to start going into fits, I was first trying this tea while visiting my mom, and she will tell you if you ask, I did start to make all sorts of noises, and ran over with tea gear for her to sniff it! I brewed it in my gaiwan that I also use as a pseudo-houhin because it resembles the travel sets sold in Korean tea stores, improvising! The aroma of the soggy bright green leaves is FANTASTIC, it is a blend of sweet corn, roasted sesame seeds, and a strong underlying toasted nori. It mixes grain and seaweed in a very happy way. The liquid is delicate, a blend of sweet and seaweed, it reminds me of one of my favorite snacks!

Yes, that favorite snack would be those nori wrapped rice crackers, I am not sure what they are called, you can buy them in bulk at a lot of grocery stores or at International markets, they are wonderful. I have not had them in a while because of stupid food intolerances, so a tea that tastes like a favorite food, yes please! So, the taste is fascinating, a blend of sweetness like sweet corn and toasted rice with toasted nori. The finish has a bright greenness to it, reminiscent of the grassy green of Matcha. Me likes!

Second steep! So, it smells like cereal, like Kix or something sweet and corn like, very grainy with a touch of rice and a delicate whiff of seaweed. Which is hilarious because the taste starts off with a much stronger toasted nori note, it is much more savory this time around, blending seaweed with green grass and a strong finish of corn cereal and toasted rice that linger for an eternity.

The aroma of the third steep is subtle in comparison to the previous steeps, mixing grains and seaweed in a perfect balance of sweet and umami. The taste is also milder, but it does not go quietly into the night, there is a sharpness this time, like the sharpness of biting into fresh artichoke, it tingles the tip of my tongue. The primary taste notes are cereal and seaweed with a touch of kale, there is not much sweetness until the finish where it lingers with a rice syrup like quality. I have had this tea numerous times since then, it is not an everday tea, it is one that I need to devote a time to contemplate.

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