Sunday, June 21, 2015

The 2015 Korean Tea Buy

This is the 2015 Tea Buy.  For various unforeseen reasons, it has taken much longer to assemble this buy than anticipated. My apologies.  

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.  For those who have only tasted 2014 teas, that year was greatly influenced adversely by the very warm night during the picking season, you have not tasted the best of Korea's teas.  For those of you new to Korean teas, from the teas I have been able to taste, 2015 seems to be a great year for Korean teas. 
I must relate this story.  Tea Tour Korea 2015 did not materialize.  However we were able to host the Korean Ceramic Tour 2015.  That tour really was too early to taste much tea except the early teas.  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.  By chance, sitting with him was Moonyum the Buddhist director of Temple stays at Geumsunsa the beautiful temple high in the mountains outside of Seoul.  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, I took this as a strong endorsement.  
More importantly, while with Moonyum, Mr. Ha did something he has never done for us before.  He brewed two teas together to compare and would not say what teas they were. Both were nokchas.  Then he asked what we thought.  Mary, my wife, immediately chose Tea A and didn't care for Tea B  Both Moonyum and I, perhaps so we wouldn't offend said both teas were good but very different.  Tea A as a very sweet smooth creamy tea - delicious.  Tea B in contrast was 'heavier' perhaps more roasty, not a bad tea but far in flavor from Tea A.  My immediate guess was that Tea A was a Woojeon, Gukwoo or Muwi Sejak.  I thought Tea B might be a Jungjak or Daejak.  Moonyum's guess was no better than mine.  What were they?  They were both Muwi Sejak's.  Tea A the 2015 version and Tea B the 2014 version.  The difference had little to do with one being a year older.  The difference had to do with the weather during the picking season.  That is the nature of tea.  Like fine wines and single malt Scotch, each year's crop of tea is different. 
While I have tasted very few of the 2015 versions of the teas offered here.  I have faith in the producers to provide the best teas this year has to offer.  From what I have tasted 2015 is a great year for Korean tea.  Following is this years offering.

Note: The Ttokcha is offered at my cost.  Jangguncha, Daeheungsa and Yi Ho Yeong prices reflect no profit.  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.  Request Price List.
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 recent 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 go on your schedule at remarkably low prices. Contact me.   
Thank you for your interest in Morning Crane Tea and the work we are attempting. Like us on Facebook.

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?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The IpChun 입춘 Tea Sale 2015

 Tea leaves at Dong Cheon Tea
Well, if you are looking for this tea sale, you are a little too late.  The Dong Cheon teas are sold out.  But don't despair. Contact me now to learn how you can pre-order some of Korea's best teas from their coming 2015 spring pick at prices below the prices you will find in Korea and learn about the 3 wonderful balhyochas we now have available. (see below)       
Happy IpChun Day 입춘! Good health, great fortune, and renewed vigor to all!  
One may ask the simple question, "What is IpChun Day?"
Korea's Solar seasons are divided into 24 special days. February 4 is/was IpChun or (입춘) 'And the Spring Comes' Day.
Thanks to a Facebook post by Brother Anthony I learned that today Feb 4 is/was “IpChun" (立春大吉 or 입춘대길 Ip chun dae gil).  Literally today (or rather Feb. 4th) is/was also known as “Spring comes down day”.  It may not feel like it where you live but it is now Spring on the Korean Solar Calendar.  Some say it is like Groundhogs Day in the USA.  It is a day for celebration and wishing each other good luck, renewed vigor and great fortune.  
IpChun also reminds me of another special day on the Korean Lunar Seasonal Calendar, “Gukwoo" the official tea picking day that normally falls on April 20.  So with IpChun here and Gukwoo coming sooner than we think I should bring you all some good fortune and celebrate with a tea sale on all remaining green teas in stock. That should also renew your vigor! 
This is not an ordinary tea sale.  This one breaks all my records and may never come again. (I'll delete this post after the sale.) It involves all of my remaining stock of Dong Cheon green teas.  The only green teas I stocked this year.  Dong Cheon Tea has the reputation for producing some of the best teas in Korea.  Don’t take my word for it.  Search the web for ‘Dong Cheon Tea’ to see what others are saying.  Dong Cheon Teas are all organically grown from older semi wild tea bushes.  The earlier picks are also hand picked, hand made and delicious.

 The hands of Ha Il Nam President of Dong Cheon Tea

You may also know that I don’t stock much tea.  So this sale in particular is a very rare occasion.
The question remains, “How can I have a tea sale of already discounted teas?”  Answer: Sell them at “Next Best Thing To Wholesale” (possibly below my cost).  Then give an extra bonus if customers also buy some balhyocha at our also low balhyocha prices.  
The Special Limited Sale Prices for our 2014 Dong Cheon GreenTeas are: Sorry  
                            List         Sale      W/Balhyo

Sejak      50g    25.00     xx.xx        xx.xx
         Jungjak   50g    18.00    
xx.xx        xx.xx         
Daejak    50g    15.00       x.xx          x.xx
Yip-cha    50g      8.00      x.xx          x.xx
(All teas are USD $ prices plus shipping)
Prices for this sale were removed at the end of the sale.
Our teas are often sold at or below their price in Korea.  

These three teas are Still Available
We still have wonderful balhyochas in stock!
Jeon Jae Yeon    40g      $16.00
Dosim Dawon     50g      $18.00
Yejeon                 40g      $20.00
Click here to learn more about the balhyochas.
Contact us now to learn more about all our teas and to be informed about our next special tea and teaware offering.

Mr. Kim and Mr. Ha of Dong Cheon Tea with Mr. Hong and Br, Anthony

This image is not to imply that either Mr. Hong or Br. Anthony, co authors of the Korean Way of Tea and Korean Tea Classics are endorsing Dong Cheon Teas only that they know each other and I thought it appropriate to show Br. Anthony in particular with the owners of Dong Cheon Tea since Br. Anthony's post on IpChun inspired this tea sale.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Three Exceptional Artisan Korean Tea Producers (Plus)

Whenever I think of Korean teas, which obviously is quite often, a number of excellent tea producers come to mind.  You have heard about some of them such as Jeong Jae Yeun, Yi Ho Yeong  and Daeheungsa the temple where Cho Ui lived or example. I enjoy Jeong Jae Yeun’s artisan hwangcha so much I offer it on a regular basis.  They all produce truly remarkable teas.  
However, for this post I want to introduce you to three exceptional tea producers who also produce really excellent teas and at quite reasonable prices. 
These are not listed in any order in terms of quality or taste as they all produce exceptional teas using organic methods. 

I can’t predict your particular tea taste so I encourage you to compare some of them - or perhaps all in a particular category. Dare I suggest you try more?  If I had the funds or a large number of customers, I would buy kilos of these teas so I could put together sample packs of 20g each including various Woojeon, Sejak, Jungjak and Balhyochas for you to taste.  Or I would develop a Tea Every 2 Months Club that compared two teas of various types.  But alas I haven’t made enough yet on my tea offerings and all of these blogs and Facebook posts are just me (one person) trying to make these teas available.  Here are the tea producers I have selected for this post.  I'll try to develop more in depth posts on each of them later.
Dosim Dawon

Oh Jae Hong son of Oh Si-Young
One of the first tea producers to come to mind is Oh Si-Young owner of Dosim Dawon (Green Tea Farmhouse).  I often think of him and his son Oh Jae Hong both for their truly exceptional teas but also because Oh Si-Young is the owner of Korea’s Millennium Tea Tree. The tree is 4.2 meters high (slightly less than 14 ft.) and 570 centimeters in circumference (slightly more than 18.5 ft.).  That’s a pretty large size for camellia sinensis-sinensis and it is presumed to be at least 1,000 years old.

Korea’s Millennium Tea Tree
Of course the tea you would be getting is not from that tree/bush. Tea made from leaves of Korea’s Millennium Tea Tree sold for $13,000 USD for 100g, not for a kilo.  It did come with a separately made lacquered container and a tea caddy inlaid with mother of pearl as well as a teaspoon decorated with 75 grams of pure gold. Actually in the world of tea, there is a handcrafted teabag that is priced higher but it is studded with diamonds. You didn't need to know that. However, you should know that all of Dosim Dawon teas are from larger old mountain bushes and they are truly exceptional.  The prices are also very reasonable for artisan Korean teas.
The 50g prices for these remarkable teas are:
Woojeon     50g = $50.00 USD
Sejak          50g = $24.00 USD
Jungjak       50g = $15.00 USD
Balhyocha   50g = $18.00 USD (Hwangcha)
These are Hwagae Valley, Jerisan semi wild organically grown teas from larger old mountain bushes.
(Note: These prices are subject to meeting projected shipping costs from Korea and are plus shipping from me to you either from Korea or the USA depending on your location.) Contact me.
Soa Tea

Kim Se Jin owner of Soa Tea
This exceptional tea producer is from Boseong.  We have been pushing Jerisan Tea so much that I don’t want to neglect this truly extraordinary producer from Boesong.  Boseong is Korea’s best known tea area and I consider Soa Tea the best in the area.  You may know the chef Judy Joo (who is one of the four Iron Chefs on the cooking show Iron Chef UK.)  Whenever Ms Joo mentions Korean tea on her international TV program Korean Food Made Simple she is often seen in the tea fields with Kim Se Jin owner of Soa Tea.  Soa Tea produces excellent teas of great variety. His teas are superb and organically grow.  In fact he may be the only tea producer in Korea whose teas are certified organic in Korea, Japan, Europe and America.  I hope to be offering his teas to organic food stores so watch for them or ask your store to contact me.

His Gukwoo is a particularly rare tea. It was picked May 20, 2014 Gukwoo Day.  Koreans often tell me Gukwoo is their favorite tea.
Note: Soa Tea sells their teas in 40g packages. 

Woojeon      40g = $35.00 USD 
Gukwoo       40g = $25.00 USD A very rare tea.
Sejak           40g = $18.00 USD
Jungjak        40g = $12.00 USD
Balhyocha    40g = $18.00 USD
(Note: These prices are subject to meeting projected shipping costs as stated above.) 
Contact me.

Yejeon Tea 

Kim Yu Ja and her son Jeon Ju Hyun
The terrible tragic ferry accident that made world news came just before the Hadong Tea Festival so it was cancelled for us on Tea Tour Korea 2014. Of course our tea group was disappointed. But we understood. Two members of our group, a tea master and his wife from Australia, had visited the Hadong Tea Festival a few years earlier. When we arrived at Yejeon Tea, they exclaimed. “This is the woman!”  On their visit to the earlier Hadong Tea Festival, they had been walking down the long line of Hadong tea producers tasting tea after tea until they came to Yejong Tea where they found this truly exceptional tea.  On tea Tour Korea they had been hoping to find her again and here she was.  Kim Yu Ja and her son Jeon Ju Hyun of Yejeon Tea truly produce, “Stand out from the crowd tea.”  These are truly exceptional mountain bush organically grown family produced teas - excellent.

Tea Tour Korea 2014 Join us for Tea Tour Korea 2015
Woojeon       40g = $40.00 USD
Sejak            40g = $20.00 USD
Balhyocha    40g = $20.00 USD (Hongcha)
These teas are from Hwagae Valley, Jerisan and are semi wild organically grown teas from high mountain bushes.
(Note: All prices are subject to meeting projected shipping costs as stated above.)
Contact me.
In my comments above you might think Yejeon is best because of the story.  I could have told stories about Soa and Dosimdawon as well.  When I gave a bag of Soa Gukwoo to a Korean friend, he was overwhelmed and said, "This is the best tea by the best producer."  Dosimdawan was the favorite tea producer by several on Tea Tour Korea 2013.  The point is all of these teas are truly excellent.  
It may not be too late to get teas produced by:
Daeheungsa (Cho Ui’s Temple)

Green Tea     80g = $95.00 USD in four (4) 20g bags
This is my most rare tea offer and is below the price for this tea in Korea. It is a completely hand picked and hand made single pick tea essentially combining Woojeon with Sejak leaves to produce a truly superb tea that is in my opinion better than either one.  This is a very rare tea opportunity.  These are very old semi wild organically grown bushes from behind this ancient tea temple near Haenam. 

(Later note: Sorry this tea is sold out for 2014. Get on the waiting list for their 2015 tea, available in of May 2015.)
Gwanhyang Dawon - Yi Ho Yeong 

Woojeon           100g    $100.00
Sejak                100g      $60.00
Jungjak      85g-100g      $45.00*
Balhyocha  85g-100g      $40.00*
These truly extraordinary teas are bulk packed in weights approximately 100g, an artisan tradition. That’s the way I buy Jeong Jae Yeun’s artisan hwangcha before repacking for you.  Smaller leafed teas are closer to that weight than larger leafed teas.  Note the prices for Yi Ho Yeong’s tea are at my cost but it is slightly higher than originally offered.  Because of unexpected money transferring costs, I underestimated the cost on our earlier sale of her teas.

Jeong Jae Yeun

I first posted this blog without offering directly the hwangcha produced by Jeong Jae Yeun.  We offer this tea on a regular basis but some of you have asked if you could get her teas on this offer.  The answer is yes, of course.  
Jeong Jae Yeun 
Hwangcha   40g      $16.00  
This is Jerisan organic grown tea from semi wild bushes  a superb tea from a truly humble but outstanding producer.
Jeong Jae Yeun is the epitome of the Korean grandmother artisan tea producer.  Her greatest local customers are the many monks who seek her out.  Because of her humble natural tea background she says, "I don't know how to brew tea the right way.  The monks tell me, 'You make it, we'll brew it'."  But when she brewed it, it was still a great tea. There are several reviews of this tea on line, the latest is here by 'Cwyn' at Steepster.   
A final point, these are not 'cheap' teas.  These are some of the finest teas made in Korea that I am able to offer at very reasonable prices. I hope you will help me make this tea offer a success.  This is a very special tea buying opportunity.  
I do not stock these teas.  My orders for these teas will be paced to the tea producers Sept 26, 2014. There is not much time. I recommend that you contact me now to place your order.
However, should you miss this date there may be others who are willing to also wait until I can get enough participants to support another tea buy. So contact me to see what else I have brewing.
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Monday, December 16, 2013

A Post on The Ancient Korean Potter

In February 2010, I wrote a post titled, The Choson Potter’s Studio and KilnIt was posted on my teabowl blog where I simply try to make sense of and gain a better understanding of teabowls.  I’m about to introduce Korean teabowl artists and want you to have that background before I begin introducing these special artists to you.  
The ancient potter's post can be found here.  Thanks for continuing to check this blog.  Thanks also for your support of my efforts to bring you what I consider the best Korean teas and tea ware available.  Contact me if you are interested in any of our teas, tea ware or tours.  I've extended those sales until 2014.  Have a great holiday and a wonderful New Year.
We are now on Facebook. Check us out Morning Crane Tea.  

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Podcasts Reviews of Morning Crane Teas

This is just an image not an active pod cast.  Links are below.

Podcast Reviews: 
We at Morning Crane Tea are happy to get any review or mention we can get for our teas.  That’s simply because ‘we‘ is really ‘me‘ with no advertising budget and no real financial support.  Thank goodness, so far all reviews have been positive.  But I would expect them to be because I decided to represent the best quality tea company I could find.  That is why I chose Dong Cheon Tea as my primary Korean tea source.  You can find less expensive Korean teas but most likely not as good.  I am offering only personally selected other teas including Korean artisan teas.  In a real sense my tea reputation is on the line and it is personal.  So don't compare Morning Crane Tea with the really big Korean tea companies you can find - except in the quality of the tea where we believe and others have told us we excel.    
This past September (2013) I received an email from James, an American visiting Korea in search of quality Korean teas. He was looking for the teashop that sells Dong Cheon teas in Insadong.  It is not surprising that he couldn’t find it even though it is probably the easiest tea shop to find.  There are many teashops in Insadong and no sign that says Dong Cheon Tea - in English anyway.  My first thought was, “Why is he trying to find Korean teas alone?”  I have been researching Korean teas for years and could have taken him to the best places even in Insadong.  Since the Dong Cheon tea shop is very easy to find, if you know which one it is, I was able to quickly give him directions.  Since then we have communicated several times. 
At the end of one of his emails he wrote:
“A friend and I run a podcast ( where we taste and review certain teas, so we'll actually be tasting/reviewing both teas very soon!
Best Regards,
Now James and his friend Denny have reviewed four of the teas we offer.  We are honored to be included in these important podcasts and I thought you would like to see what they think.
I’m listing these in the order they were reviewed since reviews of similar teas might influence the other review.
It is also very important to emphasize the point that Korea producers talk about first pick, second pick etc.  But we really should not be thinking about Korean teas that way.  Each tea is excellent in its own right and should be simply enjoyed as a tea.  When we say 'first pick' we think “better tea” but true tea connoisseurs know that isn’t necessarily the case.  Each tea brings its own taste profile just like all other teas and should be treated as such based on your personal taste preference not on when it was picked.
Another note: When I write, “. . . from Dong Cheon Tea Hwagae Valley, Jerisan.”  I’m writing about an organically grown tea that has had no pesticides and no fertilizer that would spread the roots.  The same is true for our artisan teas.  The tea leaves are from semi-wild or sometimes wild deep rooted tea bushes.  Jerisan or Jeri mountain is the ‘holy mountain for Korea teas.  In my opinion, Korea’s best teas come from this area.  But just like wineries you might begin with a quality grape or in our case leaf but it is how that leaf is processed that makes a profound difference.  Dong Cheon and the selected artisan producers make the difference.  So if you have tried a Sejak from another company and didn't think much of it don't blame all Sejaks any more than you would blame all Merlots or Syrahs if it were wine you are tasting.       
Again the reviews are in the order of when they were reviewed.  Please return to this site after each review. 
Jungjak from Dong Cheon Tea Hwaegae Valley Jerisan:  Jungjak is a slightly larger leafed tea.  Often overlooked in Korea because of the more popular Sejak, this tea is an excellent tea at a slightly lower price and is sometimes preferred because of its savory flavor.  Tea connoisseurs believe the Jungjak leaf has the most cha-qi.
Dan-Cha from Dong Cheon Tea Hwaegae Valley Jerisan: Dan-Cha is a wonderful dark red tea.  The term “Dan” is a Taoist term meaning both ‘cinnabar red’ and referring also to its health giving properties.  Contrary to the discussion on the podcast, red or black teas have a very long history in Korea dating back at least to their common use of ttokcha in the Goryeo Dynasty.  The tea ages well and we were offering two vintage versions along with this years version.  Sadly we are nearly sold out of all Dan-Cha's.
Sejak from Dong Cheon Tea Hwaegae Valley Jerisan:
Sejak is the most popular tea drunk in Korea and after watching the podcast you may understand why.  Each tea producer has their own version of it but after considerable research I selected the Dong Cheon Tea company to bring Korean teas to America.  Their Sejak was one of the deciding factors.  The second pick, this tea is small leafed and delicious. Note they are using a similar Yeohanggi to the one we have on sale.
Hwangcha from Jerisan: An Artisan Tea
Korean hwangcha teas are rare to find on the common market but possibly easier to find when you get closer to the artisan tea producers in Jerisan and out of the way tea producing areas.  This hwangcha is organic, hand picked and hand processed by an individual artisan producer that makes no other tea but hwangcha.  Her hwangcha is picked and produced before Buddha’s birthday using the leaves  normally reserved for woojeon or sejak green teas. 
I want to thank James and Denny for permitting this post and for both reviewing our Korean teas and providing this special kind of insight into teas in general.  Please follow them at   
Note: I'm a ceramic artist currently taking a haitus from that work to try to understand teas better so that I might improve my tea ware and at the same time bring you some unique offerings in both Korean tea and Korean tea ware.  
I'd also like to sell the teas we offer to a teashop near you.   Thanks for letting them know 'we' exist and thanks for appreciating my efforts. 
Please contact me if you would like any of our Korean teas  or tea ware or have questions about either. 
When you visit the TeaDB site you might notice a reference to our sale where James confirms that our sale prices are below the retail prices in Korea. 
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Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber ‘Monday’ Sale: Dec. 2-8, 2013 Only

A Yeohanggi Teacup

I know it is crazy for an independent tea dealer like me to even think about offering anything on Cyber Monday.  My markups are so slim already but the sale is just for the day plus a little more and I went into the Korean tea and teaware business to give you the opportunity to get some amazing Korean teas and tea ware  - so here goes. 
This post is so late I’ll extend this Cyber 'Monday' Sale until Dec. 8  i.e. Monday through Sunday.  But can't guarantee we can obtain different teaware than what I have already ordered. Both tea and the following tea ware are available all week at this price but ends Dec. 8, 2013 as long as supplies last. 
The price list has been removed.  Contact us for current prices.

Now, for reading this far, with any tea order, we will make the Korean travel set or Yeohanggi available to you for the same price you would pay in Korea.  I just ordered these great teaware items because some of you have been asking about them.  I don't know how much they will cost me in either price or shipping yet so I could be losing money.  The Yeohanggi for this special "Cyber Monday" sale is just $25.00.  They are made by individual artists formed by hand and fired in reduction.  If you order before, Mon. Dec 8 and as long as supplies last.  I ordered a few Yeohanggi sets but can't guarantee your choice.  I do have a couple of spotted Yeohanggi sets ordered in addition to the white.
The Korean Travel Set or Yeohanggi Set 여행기 consists of three pieces: the pouring bowl, cup and lid.  For travel and storage, the cup fits inside the pouring bowl with lid on top.  It is Korea's answer to the gaiwan.  The capacity is 100ml so it is perfect for individual tea.
This is the set you are ordering: (wooden coaster not included)

 Ha Il Nam's Favorite Yeohanggi Set 

This is the same set Ha Il Nam, president of Dong Cheon Tea uses daily.  Two alternate sets can be seen on this post and can be ordered if you don't mind waiting.  We will have a few spotted sets. (see post)

    Ha Il Nam at his tea shop in Insadong with the Yeohanggi

I'm sorry this post is so late.  I just decided to do it. Contact me if you would like to order or have questions.  Happy Holidays in any case.

PS:  The tea I can ship now with the exception of Dan Cha Classic, Dan Cha Gaya 08 and Yip-Cha.  I should receive everything in the next 10 days.  Just in time to get it to you before Christmas or the end of the year. 

PPS: Those of you who have bought this delicious artisan Hwangcha from me earlier at a lower price will note the higher price offered here.  I recalculated my price on this tea and discovered I was selling it below cost.  It is a long story but one I'll only tell to you individually.  In any case, my apologies.