I recently ordered a sample of Jeju Sejak green tea from Harney and Sons and decided to try it out tonight. I didn’t know anything at all about Korean tea beforehand, so I did a little research and found that Jeju is a small island south of the mainland of South Korea on the same latitude as the southern island of Japan. I also noted that Korean tea is usually prepared in the Japanse style of steaming the green tea.
So, first impressions – I opened the bag and immediately smelled grass, vegetal notes, and a hit of marine air – very similar to Sencha.
The leaves are rolled and curled which is unlike Japanese teas, which are usually straight.
I brewed this tea gongfu style in a gaiwan at 180F with first infusion of 15 seconds and added 3 seconds to each subsequent infusion.
The liquor is a pale yellow color. The texture is pretty light – it didn’t linger in my mouth very long. The first two infusions were mostly grassy and vegetal flavors with a strong umami flavor also. The third infusion was very strong in umami flavor and it started to have a little bit of sweetness. I also began to feel a very strong warming sensation on this infusion.
The fourth and fifth infusions were like flavor explosions in my mouth. My tongue was picking up everything all at once – sweet, astringent, umami, vegetal – it was quite interesting.
I would venture to guess that these leaves are machine picked similar to the Japanese style. You can see in the picture they are mostly broken but not into really small pieces. Looks a lot like some senchas I have had in that regard.
The price of this tea is currently $6.00 for a 2 oz. (56g) tin and $38.00 for a 1 lb (453g) bag, which is very cheap. Harney’s basic Sencha is $12.00 for a 4 oz tin and $40.00 for a 1 lb bag, so almost the same price. I think this tea is a good bargain at that price.
Overall, if you like steamed green tea, especially sencha, I believe you will like this tea. It could be a nice change of pace to have something a little different once in a while.