Wednesday, May 31, 2017

2017 TeaBuy Korea Morning Crane Tea

Wild tea leaves
 
This event is bringing back coin ttokcha!

A cup of ttokcha brewed by its creator Baek Sun Deok
I had intended to begin TeaBuy Korea on April 2, 2017 and actually did so on my Facebook page from my phone. But here we are the first of June and I'm finally able to post it here.  My computer is back after a series of mishaps and various diagnoses that lasted nearly 2 months. Although I am really late I am finally able once more to offer TeaBuy Korea.
I began this service twelve years ago simply to try to introduce the world to Korean teas and teaware. Now you can get Korean teas in many places. But there are few other places outside of Korea where you can source many of the teas we offer and Korean teas of this quality. 
Did you notice the switch from "I" to "we"? That is because I have taken on some family and friends to help in this endeavor. Hopefully they will help improve matters and you will receive the teas and teaware in a much more timely matter. More on that later.  
I began by exclusively offering Dong Cheon Teas and at the bottom of this page you will find testimonies to that exceptional tea company.  Dong Cheon Tea has continued to maintain the highest quality for their wonderful organically grown teas and we are happy and proud that we introduced them to the Western tea market. 
Today, in addition to Dong Cheon, we offer teas produced by a number of outstanding artisan producers and are continuing our search for exceptional Korean teas.
For those who know Korean teas well, you know that we are offering teas from some of Korea's most respected producers.  In addition to the teas you find below, we now have in place a service that will search out and find any  Korean tea you seek - perhaps any teaware artist as well.  In fact if you are looking for something made in Korea, we may be able to help you. Just contact us.
Now lets look at our teas

Morning Crane Tea's 
TeaBuyTM Korea 2017

Nokcha = Green Tea                          Balhyocha = Oxidized Tea

Cooperative Tea

Dong Cheon Tea

               (nokcha)            

     
     Woojeon                 50g               $35.00
     
     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.
Or is it wan-jeon balhyocha a hongcha? I never raised that question before. )

     Halmonicha           40g               $16.00
     Halmonicha        300g            $105.00
     Halmonicha is bulk packed in a 300+g actual weight is between 325g and 365g 

 Dosim Dawan
(Nokcha and Wan Jeon Balhyocha - hongcha- red tea)
     Sejak                       50g               $26.00

     Jungjak                   50g               $18.00

     Balhyocha So-ip-cha     50g          $26.00

     Balhyocha Dae-ip-cha  50g          $10.00
So-ip = Small Leaf  Dae-ip = Large Leaf

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

                 Wan-Jeon Balhyocha 
     Junggan-ip-cha     40g               $20.00
juggan-ip = Medium Leaf  
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

                                          Flower Teas
     Magnolia                 4g               $22.00
     Mugwort               20g              $15.00

This artisan tea producer from Boseong is certified organic internationally. 
He also makes magnolia and mugwort teas ask for prices

Yi Ho Yeong Studio
Gwanhyang
(nokcha and ban balhyocha - hwangcha- Korean yellow tea)
*  approximate weight: bulk packed


      Woojeon                  50g*              $56.00
                                      100g*            $105.00
      Sejak                       50g*               $29.00
                                       100g*             $56.00
      Jungjak                   50g*               $23.00
                                     100g*               $48.00

     Balhyo YHY            50g*               $22.00
                                     100g*               $40.00
                                            Flower Teas
      Magnolia                   bag            $38.00
     Chrysanthemum      bag            $38.00
     Apricot                        bag            $38.00
     Persimmon                bag            $23.00

The flower teas are bagged  in the same bags used for 100g of tea. 
Flower teas are light in weight and do not weight 100g.
Famous tea authors Brother Anthony and Hong Kyung Hee feature Yi Ho Yeong in their book. The Korean Way of Tea. Most of these teas are bulk packed in 100g bags. In some cases I must buy 100g and repack into approx. 50g bags. After Yi Ho Yeong's untimely passing in January 2017,  these teas are produced by her disciples.  

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

Jangguncha Dawan
       
     Nokcha                       30g         $40.00

     Balhyocha JD            30g         $30.00* 
*A very interesting balhyocha. We offer these teas at our cost
Is this tea from Gimhae made from Assamica leaves?

  Temple Teas
Daeheungsa
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

 Ttokcha
Baek Sun Deok
 This is Korea's famous historic "coin" tea produced by the renowned prize winning producer Baek Sun Deok in the historic town of Jangheung, Jeollanam-do
These teas are offered at our cost.
         
     Sejak            9 coins            $130.00
     The above tea is in a wooden box 
     Sejak            8 coins            $100.00

     Jungjak     10 coins            $  60.00 
     The above tea comes in a small onggi jar
     Jungjak        8 coins            $  50.00 
       The above tea comes in a box
     Jungjak      10 coins            $  50.00
     Jungjak        5 coins            $  30.00

To place your order or to ask questions, please click here.

You may not be familiar with the various terms for balhyocha.  I recommend that you read my article. Click here.

Each of the teas we offer are truly organically grown from wild or semi-wild bushes.  All have been taste tested by our panel. 

Artisan teas don't need much testimony but I should say a word about Dong Cheon Tea simply because it is a tea company. Dong Cheon Tea is a cooperative of about 80 tea producers in Hwagae Valley.  Like all of our teas, they are organically grown.  All of their teas are hand picked and much of it hand produced. As an example of its quality, recently a customer from Germany was seeking Dong Cheon's Muwi Sejak and Sejak and 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 ,  Georg
 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 beautiful Buddhist 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.
Like always on these TeaBuys, I am offering some of these teas at my cost or very near my cost. 
Finally, the question remains, "Should we at Morning Crane Tea continue this service?" That can only be answered by you.  

To place you order or to ask questions, please click here.






Sunday, January 15, 2017

Jeong Jae Yeun: Hwangcha Halmeoni - Grandmother Hwagcha


 Jeong Jae Yeun "Hwangcha Halmeoni"
This post has been long in coming.  In May 2014 we returned from Tea Tour Korea where we had the pleasure of meeting again the artisan tea producer Jeong Jae Yeun.  Our tour took us to many artisan tea producers, at most stops we asked the simple question, "How did you become interested in producing tea?" Nearly all of their answers began with, "My grandmother made tea."  Well, simply put, Jeong Jae Yeun is the epitome of that tea making grandmother.  She is Hwangcha Halmeoni (할머니 황차). In fact she calls her tea Halmonicha  (할머니)
A closer look at Jeong Jae Yeun and her delicious hwangcha might help us understand both her and this tea better.

It truly is 'Grandmother's' tea - Halmeonicha. When you question her, she explained that she just makes tea like her mother and grandmother before her.  "Back then, we made this tea for medicine." she explained.  Now she makes it for the monks and others who have discovered her.  

 

"I don't know how to brew tea the right way."  she said.  "The monks tell me, 'You just make it.  We'll brew it'."  All the while she is talking she is cutting watermelon and rice cake for our group.  With this statement she brought out a large metal and well used tea strainer, filled with her tea leaves, and dipped it into a bowl of hot water.  Still her tea was delicious.   "I have a teapot Park Jong Il's father gave me but it seems too much trouble to use." she explained. 
This attitude about brewing tea reminds me of Cho Ui the famous tea monk's statement, "Just make tea and drink it."  Koreans do things naturally and it is difficult to get more natural or direct than this.
When I first introduced Jeong Jae Yeon to the tea world, I had been told that she made her tea "before Buddha's birthday".  That word is out there and must be corrected. In the spring of 2014 I was really concerned because Buddha's Birthday was very early that year.  "Could she make enough tea?" I wondered.  To my surprise, when we arrived after Buddha's Birthday, she was still making her tea. On that tour we discovered she begins making her tea before Buddha's Birthday. Something got "lost in translation".  In any case, it is rare that a tea artisan would make balhyocha before Buddha's Birthday because those leaves are reserved for the finest green teas.  That she continues to make tea after Buddha's Birthday doesn't diminish her teas in any way. Although not all her teas are made before Buddha's Birthday, Jeong Jae Yeun remains the epitome of a Korean grandmother Halmeoni Hwangcha (할머니 황차) and she remains a fantastic tea artisan.  Her teas are delicious - made before or after Buddha's birthday! 
We all should have realized that while she does begin her pick and processing before Buddha's Birthday she wouldn't stop. - actually couldn't stop in a year like 2014 when Buddha's Birthday was celebrated so early.  She would have had a very small production of tea and even a small artisan producer like Jeong Jae Yeun needs more than a few kilo of tea to simply make a living or more likely supplement her income.  
How many other producer even start their production of hwangcha before Buddha's birthday?  Many of the artisan producers we met on our tour were making balhyocha but only after that had made their nokcha and long after Buddha's Birthday. 
I really do enjoy her tea and there are at least three reviews of this tea that support me in this endorsement. One by teadb i.e. James and Denny who are creating some excellent podcasts on tea. Another by Adam Yusko who is doing some great Youtube tea presentations and a third on Steepster posted by Cwyn a wonderful blog on tea.  There may be more. With the exception of TeaDB.org, to whom I did  send a small sample for possible review, I had no idea this tea would be reviewed.  Even in the case of TeaDB, I had no idea their response to it.
How does she make the tea?  The process is simple but timing and temperature are intuitive and lie within the producer.  That is the 'secret' even the artisan producers themselves cannot give us.

  
The tealeaves are picked and spread out to wither under cover protected only from the sun's rays and any strong winds.  After withering for a day or so - the time is critical - the leaves are rolled by a small rolling machine.  I know you wish it were all by hand but rolling is really laborious work and her hands are getting older.  More and more even younger artisan producers are turning to small machines to help them with this phase of production.  If you have ever watched or attempted tea production by hand, you would quickly understand the need for this machine, particularly when the producer gets older or is alone.  The leaves are intact and the quality undiminished. the machine's use does not diminish the quality of the tea only its price.
Then the rolled leaved are spread out on a very clean ondol floor in a room reserved just for her teas.  (She sleeps at home in another building next to her tea making facility.) In that special ondol tea room the tea receives its final blessing. After it is completely dry, it is bulk packed in bags weighing about 350g. Because the tea is bulk packed it comes in packages of between 330g and 365g + or -. I sell it simply as 300g or backage in into 40g bags. 
This is an exceptional tea and has received more reviews than any other tea we sell. So far, we are the only Western source for this delicious Halmonicha. Contact us.