Sunday, October 3, 2010

2010 Kim Jong Yeol Korean Sejak Green

After my experience with tea master Kim Shin Ho's 2010 Sejak I thought I knew what to expect from this tea before I even cut open the foil packet. After a quick clean snip I smelled inside the packet an immediately realized that this tea was altogether different than Kim Shin Ho's version. If anything, this is a true testament of just how much the skilled hands of these two masters can 'sculpt' the leaves into two different outcomes.

Not only was the aroma of the dry leaf a bit more subdued and less "spring-time foresty" than the previous tea, but I also noticed that the leaves themselves were quite different as well. These leaves seemed a bit longer and fuller with less buds and stems from what I can tell.

As I went through the familar routine of boiling water and warming up my tiny gaiwan, I measured out half of the packet and set it beside my slowly cooling cup of water. While the water continue to cool down to a more gentle temperature I placed the dry leaves in the gaiwan and made notice of the aroma once more before the water was poured in. Once again, the aroma was fresh but this time it more resembled the aroma of familiar greens.

At last, I poured in the small cup of water and let it brew for around 45 seconds to a minute before pouring back into the warm cup. Once again, I felt that the aroma was more subdued and almost "generically green." Not to say that it was weak or disappointing but I simply felt the aroma of Kim Shin Ho's version to be more unique and inviting.

The tea itself more or less followed the aroma, producing a mild sweetness with slighly more astringency than I noticed in the previous tea. This tea was less smooth and rich than the previous tea and felt more like a characteristic green with more of a cooling sensation than was experienced in Kim Shin Ho's peculiarly warm version.

One similarity was this tea's uncharacteristic endurance, giving me more infusions than most other greens. I feel that this is largely a testament to the tea's quality and partly a testament to my rather large leaf-water ratio for a green tea. Despite that large leaf-water ratio, however, this tea doesn't bite with bitterness or astringency.

Ending on a positive note I must say that the leaves of this tea were a pleasure to look at. The bright green color of the soft wet leaves really takes me back to the great Spring I had in Seattle and reminds me once again of the Spring that is just underway here in Auckland.

Spring memories

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