This tea comes courtesy of Morning Crane Tea, who celebrated the ending of 2011 with an online tea sale. The tea is beautifully presented -as you can see from the following photo- arriving lovingly outfitted in a silk bag made of Korean Hanbok.
While I didn’t have any previous experience with Korean red teas prior to this session, I have been a devoted admirer of Dong Cheon‘s green teas I have been fortunate enough to taste. Needless to say, my anticipation for experiencing this tea was running high in advance.
The leaves present a pronounced dried cocoa scent with a trace of smokiness, and the faintest hint of hay. It should be said that I appreciate the need to reference hay during any tea session, as years of being in the company of rabbits really warmed me to the scents of dry grasses. I certainly do not view it as an issue with a tea’s aroma. The leaves are a beauty to behold, as you can see from the image below.
Early steepings yielded a medium bodied burnt caramel toned broth which tasted exceptionally clean in the mouth. The flavor fluctuated from smooth notes of cocoa, to what my subconscious kept telling me was orange flower, to the slightest hint of tobacco.
Later steepings found the tea stretching itself from cream and honey like coatings of the mouth, to exhibiting traces of crispness that would align it with higher grade Darjeeling teas. The broth in subsequent lengthier steeping shed its deeper copper highlights, as well as its fullness in the mouth; though it refrained from becoming insipid in taste. The hui gan came in gentle waves, rising and falling. The tea provided an enjoyable, and calming session.
I was not a fan of what are classically categorized as red teas prior to a pivotal steeping session with a Sun Moon Lake from Tea Trekker this past year, and more recently an extraordinary experience with a Laoshan Autumn plucking from Verdant Tea out of Minnesota -both of which I plan to post about shortly. I generally found the teas to be overly brisk for my personal liking; however the two teas mentioned in addition to this wonderful Dan-Cha have altered this perception greatly, and for this I will always be thankful.
(steeping listening: Oren Ambarchi “In the Pendulum’s Embrace”)