Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Morning Crane Tea TeaBuy Korea 2016

The Morning Crane Tea TeaBuy Korea 2016

This is our Morning Crane Tea TeaBuyTM 2016.  I hoping this earlier start will get the tea to you much quicker this year.

For those of you who know Korean teas well, you will recognize that I am offering teas from some of the most respected producers in Korea. As of this writing, we have not yet tasted the 2016 teas Korean producers are just beginning to pick the woojeon leaves Spring came early in Korea and it may be possible to have more than one woojeon picking.  April 20 is Gukwoo day, one of Korea's seasonal change days.  Traditionally Woojeon is picked before Gukwoo and Sejak is picked afterGukwoo followed by Jungjak, Daejak and Yipcha.  Some producers will be picking and making Gukwoo tea on April 20 and some Koreans consider it the best.  I haven't listed much Woojeon but it is available from all producers, however because of the possibility of more than one pick I will have to inquire as to the prices.  The balhyochas or oxidized teas may be made from any of the same leaves as the nokchas.  Some producers are offering both small leaf balhyocha, typically made from Sejek leaves and larger leaf balhyocha, typically made from Jungjak or Daejak leaves.  
Following are our TeaBuyTM Korea 2016 offerings.
Morning Crane Tea's TeaBuyTM Korea 2016 
Nokcha = Green Tea                          Balhyocha = Oxidized Tea
Cooperative Tea
Dong Cheon Tea
             Muwi Sejak                     50g               $25.00

               Sejak                              50g               $20.00

               Jungjak                           50g               $15.00

              Daejak                             50g               $10.00

              Yipcha                             50g                 $6.00

Artisan Tea
Jeong Jae Yeon
(ban balhyocha - hwangcha - Korean yellow tea)

                    Halmonicha                     40g               $16.00
Halmonicha is also available in a 300g+ quantity. Contact us for pricing and details.  

 Dosim Dawan
(nokcha and wan jeon balhyocha - hongcha- red tea)
             Sejak                                50g               $26.00

             Jungjak                            50g               $18.00

             Balhyocha DDSL            50g               $26.00

             Balhyocha DDLL            50g               $12.00
DDSL = Small Leaf  DDLL = Large Leaf

 Yejeon Dawan   
(nokcha and wan jeon balhyocha - hongcha- red tea)
            Sejak                                40g               $22.00

            Balhyocha YD                 40g               $16.00
Soa Dawan
               (nokcha and ban balhyocha - hwangcha- Korean yellow tea)   
            Woojeon                          40g               $28.00

            Gukwoo                           40g               $22.00

            Sejak                                40g               $18.00

            Jungjak                            40g               $12.00

            Balhyocha SD                 40g               $18.00
This artisan tea producer from Boseong is certified organic internationally. 
He also makes magnolia and mugwort teas ask for prices

Yi Ho Yeong 
(nokcha and ban balhyocha - hwangcha- Korean yellow tea)
 approximate weight: bulk packed
       Woojeon                 50g*  $56.00      100g*    $105.00

       Special                   50g*   $39.00      100g*    $  75.00

       Sejak                      50g*   $29.00      100g*    $  56.00

       Jungjak                   50g*  $23.00      100g*     $ 48.00

       Balhyocha YHY    50g*   $20.00      100g*     $ 38.00
Famous tea author Brother Anthony features Yi Ho Yeong in his book. Most of her teas are bulk packed in 100g bags. In some cases I must but 100g and repack into approx. 50g bags   
Inquire about Yi Ho Yeong's various flower teas.

 Kim Jong Yeol
                             (wan jeon balhyocha - hongcha- red tea)
            Balhyo Noeulhangki      50g                $32.00
This is one of the most acclaimed balhyochas in Korea.

Samtae Dawan
Kim Shin Ho
                    (ban balhyocha about 70% oxidized and hongcha fully oxidized)
    BanBalhyo    (W)   80g   $92.00            40g  $47.00

    BanBalhyo     (S)    80g   $58.00           40g  $30.00
    Hongcha       (W)   80g    $46.00           40g  $26.00
    Hongcha        (S)    80g    $45.00            40g  $24.00
             Samtae Dawan specializes in balhyochas they are highly acclaimed.
     These are small leaf balhyochas made with Woojeon (W) and Sejak (S) leaves
Jangguncha Dawan
            Nokcha                          30g                 $40.00

            Balhyocha JD                30g                 $30.00
Is this tea from Gimhae made from Assamica leaves?

 Temple Teas
This is the temple that was the home of ChoUi Korea's great historical Tea Master.  
The tea comes from large older tea bushes.
           Special Nokcha              80g              $100.00

           Special Nokcha              60g                $76.00

           Special Nokcha              40g                $51.00

           Special Nokcha              20g                $26.00

Can't find the tea you seek? Inquire about them.

One might wonder why I offer teas by a "Cooperative" tea company along with artisan and temple teas.  Don't artisan and temple teas have the reputation of being the very best teas one can obtain anywhere?  First, Dong Cheon Teas are not ordinary teas Like all of our teas, they are organically grown.  All of their teas arehand picked and much of it hand produced. As an example of its quality, recently acustomer from Germany was seeking Dong Cheon's Muwi Sejak and Sejak andafter a search discovered me. I had only Sejak and Yipcha in stock. Yipcha you will note is Dong Cheon's lowest priced tea and our lowest priced tea as well.  After receiving and tasting these teas he wrote.
I just want to say: Thank you - for selling me from your stock and especially for the gift! I will try the “black” teas later.  So far I tried the Yip Cha and the Sejak. The Yip Cha is really wonderful: the smell of the dry leaves in the hot teapot! And the “texture” of the tea in the mouth! If I compare with other “tests” I made in the last months with Korean Tea, the result is clear: there is something special about the Dong Cheon tea, it feels, as if they have more “life” in themselves.
Best Regards
In another incident, on our last night in Seoul we went to visit our good friend Ha Il Nam, president of Dong Cheon Tea, at his teashop in Insadong. Sitting with him, by chance, was Moonyum the director of Temple Stays at Geumsunsa the beautifulBuddhist temple high in the mountains outside of Seoul.  (I highly recommend a temple stay there.) Moonyum was there to order teas for the temple and informed me that they buy all of  their temple teas from Dong Cheon Tea. Realizing that they could select teas from any producer including artisan and temples, I took this as a strong endorsement for Dong Cheon Teas.
Note: I am not offering Ttokcha this year but I will source it for you. If you purchase at least $50.00 of other teas, I'll source ttokcha at my cost.  Jangguncha, and Daeheungsa prices reflect very little profit.  I try to do that because my work is educational. You know that I must pay my associate for his help in obtaining these teas.  Never the less, I price my teas at or below wholesale prices for retail customers and lower than that for the retail outlets who offer some of these teas.  That said, we have a price list, on request, that includes slightly lower prices for larger purchases on some of these teas. Most of these prices are already as low as I can go. Request Price List. Please ask about specific teas as most of these teas are priced as low as I can.
We are researching teas produced at the many Buddhist temples across Korea.  While we know of a number of temples that produce tea, if you have recommendations for Korean temple teas you have heard of or tried, please let us know.  Contact us.
Please visit our website.  It attempts to bring together much of our work promoting Korean arts and culture principally through tea, ceramics and tours.  We can now offer tours throughout Korea that will take you to most of the places you want to goon your schedule and at remarkably low prices. Contact me.  I have had several requests this year, and some of our guests are in Korea now.
Because of an ongoing very minor but annoying health condition, I was not able to form a Tea Tour 2016 this year. My apologies to those who hoped to be on it.  Weare developing Tea Tour Korea 2017.  It is not too early to get your name on that list.  It will be limited to just 8 participants and some spots are already reserved.     
Thank you for your interest in Morning Crane Tea and the educational work we are attempting. I hope to have TeawareBuy 2016 soon.  Sorry it is simply too much work to combine both a tea and a teaware buy.  I hope to have teas ordered through TeaBuyTM Korea 2016 to you by the end of May.  That goal can be reached if we get at least 10 participants.  So tell your tea friends. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
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PS: If you are interested in a balhyocha "flight" purchase of 1/2 bags of all balhyochas or a select group of at least 5 of them contact me.  A small bagging fee will be added to the "flight" price.  This offer is for balhyochas only at this time.
PPS: If you are interested in a 500g or 1000g purchase of any of these teas contactme. Depending on the tea, I may be able to offer a slightly lower price.
**Note: I am checking on the exact type of balhyocha made by all tea companies. Click here to learn more about Korean balhyochas. 
*Note: I made no profit on TeaBuyTM Korea 2015 and have been called foolish for attempting it again. If you would like to donate to my work, PayPal donations to my email are graciously accepted. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Balhyocha Revisited: Embracing Korean Tea Terms.

This post has been long in coming.  It was first conceived soon after returning from Tea Tour Korea 2014 and has sat there waiting for the right time.
Interestingly, the day I began to write this post I received a long email from a customer who used his tea name “el muCHAcholo”.  His comment illustrates the importance of addressing this topic.  As part of his email he wrote:  
The question, ‘What are balhyocha and hwangcha? Green, white, yellow, oolong, red, or black?’ is fraught with the impossibility of classifying Korean teas on the basis of the six traditional Chinese tea categories. It’s like asking ‘What kind of fish is a sparrow?
‘What kind of fish is a sparrow?’, is exactly to the point.  Korean balhyocha is just that - a balhyocha.  They are not Chinese fermented or oxidized teas.  They are not Chinese hwangchas, oolongs, hongchas or heichas. They are Korean teas.  They are simply Korean balhyochas (발효차).  One should not ask the question, “What are Korean hwangchas and balhyochas?”  Korean hwangchas are balhyochas.  They are the same thing.  That question is a little like asking,  "What are oaks and trees?"  In the same way that an oak is a tree, a Korean hwangcha is a balhyocha.

I do understand that the term can be confusing.  Thus this post.  A couple of years ago I wrote another post on the Korean tea term ‘balhyocha’.  That post was written then, and I can’t disclaim it.  However, since then I have grown in my understanding and appreciation of balhyocha teas.  For centuries, in Korea, Balhyochas were made out in the country by family tea producers, some may have been made to sell but primarily these teas were made simply to use at home largely for medicinal purposes.  While these teas are not new to Korea as some uninformed Western tea connoisseurs may claim, it is true that today many more Korean tea producers have been producing balhyochas and the variety is rapidly increasing.  It is for this reason that I have decided to to look at the Korean tea term “balhyocha” again. 
First, we should all understand that the words “balhyocha” and “paryo-cha” are the same word, just Anglicized differently.  So if you see the word “paryo-cha” from some other source it means the same thing. I use the term “balhyocha” (발효차) because most Korean tea producers, that I know, Anglicize the word that way.
What does the word “balhyocha” mean?  If you read my earlier post or other posts on balhyocha you know the word simply means “oxidized or fermented tea”.  Essentially in Korea if the tea isn’t a green tea it is a “balhyocha” or oxidized tea.

You might ask, “What is the problem?”  If you are new to tea and this is the first time you have heard the word balhyocha, there is no problem.  The problem or confusion with the term “balhyocha” occurs when others attempt to classify Korea’s balhyocha teas.  They often ask, "Is it a ‘hwangcha’, an ‘oolong’ a ‘hongcha’ or what?"  As “el muCHAcholo” wrote, it is impossible to classify Korean teas on the basis of the six traditional Chinese tea categories.  However, because China has such a strong influence on the tea world, tea connoisseurs and authors tend to try to categorize all teas, including Korean teas, using Chinese terms. 
I fell into that trap, or perhaps was pushed into that trap, in my earlier post on balhyochas. 
While Koreans have used the terms hwangcha and hongcha, Koreans avoid the term ‘oolong’. That term belongs to China and Taiwan.  They can’t call their teas ‘Darjeeling’ because that term belongs to a certain region in India and they don’t want to use ‘wakoucha’ as that term belongs to Japanese oxidized tea.  But the main reason they don’t use those terms is Korea’s balhyochas are not oolongs, Darjeelings or wakoucha.  Korea’s oxidized teas are simply 'balhyochas'. Each of these international oxidized teas are produced using the different oxidation methods used in their countries and they are different. A Korean oxidized tea is a balhyocha.  That is not just a Korean term for a Chinese type tea, it is a different tea like an oolong is different from a Darjeeling.
Balhyocha teas deserve to be recognized simply by the Korean classification - balhyocha.  This includes Korean hwangchas and Korean hongchas.  It is Korea's old and historic term. 
It would be great to be able to end this post here, but Koreans have used the term ‘hwangcha’ for centuries to designate the largest percentage of their balhyochas.  This is the historic term but it can be or might I even say "is" very misleading simply because the Korean term hwangcha
(황차) is literally translated to be 'yellow tea' that is hwang (황) = "yellow" and cha (차) = tea, and China has a tea they also call ‘yellow tea’.  
The teas are absolutely nothing alike.  Chinese hwangcha or yellow tea is, if my understanding is correct, very close to a green tea but steamed and quickly cooled producing a slight oxidization. Korean balhyochas are more like oolongs in their wide percentage of oxidation.  But since they are oxidized using different processes, they are not  the same tea.

The term 'balhyocha' holds so much importance in Korea Tea that Korea has designated different terms for the degrees of oxidation or fermentation in their Balhyochas. 

They are officially (from a Korean website translated):
Bul bal hyo cha (불 발효차) non fermented tea,  Ex : green tea.  Nokcha
Bal hyo cha (발효차) fermented tea, the general over all term:
Bu bun bal hyo cha (부분발효차) partly fermented tea, ex: white tea (Bak cha), or Chinese yellow tea, below 15%. (I am aware that some debate if white teas are oxidized at all.)
Ban bal hyo cha (반 발효차) semi fermented tea, around 60%
Wan jeon bal hyo cha (완전발효차) ('perfect' bal hyo cha),  , ex: red tea (Hong cha), 85% and above
Hu bal hyo cha (후발효차) post fermented tea, ex: black tea (Heuk cha)
For a while I toyed with the idea of calling various Korean balhyochas by nick names like "bu-buncha", "wan-jeoncha" or "bancha".  But while those terms could be useful they are not 'perfect'. Korean tea producers typically ferment their 'hwangcha' balhyochas between 18% and 85% using the entire range of the percentage of fermentation.  So you will find Korean balhyocha's fermented at all percentages between 15% to 100% depending on the producer.   That is why most producers simply use the term 발효차 balhyocha.

Of much more importance than any of this is that there is a great flavor range of wonderful balhyochas available. This is why Morning Crane Tea now has three wonderful balhyochas in stock and will be offering special group buys on other important balhyochas after the spring pick.  Contact us to learn more. 
What balhyochas have we selected to offer?  
Jeong Jae Yeon
We are the only international distributor for Jeon Jae Yeon's wonderful teas. Our potter friend discovered her. She is the epitome of the Korean grandmother artisan tea producer and devotes her entire production to her balhyocha she calls Halmone hwangcha or Grandmother Hwangcha (할머니 황차). We simply call it Halmone Cha (할머니).
Dosim Dawon
Dosim Dawon (Green Tea Farmhouse) is owned by Oh Si-Young and his son Oh Jae Hong.  Their truly exceptional teas are made from old higher up  semi-wild bushes.  Their teas gained exceptional praise on tea tour Korea 2014.  How old are their bushes?  They own Korea’s Millennium Tea Tree presumed to be at least 1,000 years old.  Their bushes are some of the oldest in Korea.  Superb tea. 
Yejeon Tea
Kim Yu Ja and her son Jeon Ju Hyun of Yejeon Tea or Yejeon Daewon truly produce, “Stand out from the crowd tea.”  Two of our guests, a tea master from Australia and his wife, had visited the Hadong Tea Festival a few years earlier and walked down the long line of tea producers tasting tea after tea until they came to Yejong Tea where they found truly exceptional tea.  When we arrived at the Yejong studio, on Tea Tour Korea 2014, our guests exclaimed “This is the woman!” “This is the woman!” excited to meet Kim Yu Ja and taste her teas again.

Our teas are often at prices at or below the price you would pay in Korea.  It is difficult to discount teas that are always discounted. Mention this post for a small reward when you purchase one of more of these teas.  Contact me.   

Why am I doing my next post also on balhyochas?