Korean Herbal Green Tea from Korean Jirisan Mountain: Ujeon
Ujeon is a Korean word meaning the best herbal green tea. This particular green tea is made of tealeaves from Hwagae wild tea garden in Jirisan Mountain. Literally meaning "before the rain," Ujeon green tea is made by the very first tealeaves of the year, gathered before Gogu (the day around April 20 when the spring rain often falls). Only a small amount of tealeaves is available and the very first batch is very rare and very expensive. It allows for four to five infusions when brewing the tea.
There are three famous tea gardens in Korea where the best quality green teas are produced. The gardens are located in Boseong, Hwagae, and Jeju. The gardens in Boseong and Jeju are large and usually produce industrialized green teas. This herbal green tea from the Hwagae is cultivated on privately owned tea gardens located on the southern slopes of Jirisan Mountain, the most remote area from civilization in Korea, and are handmade, therefore producing more delicate teas which are of course, more expensive. Instead of the large breath taking plantations, the tea gardens of Hwagae are smaller in size and the tea trees lay closer to the ground and grow naturally, and are therefore also called "wild green tea."
How Korean Green Tea Different From
While internationally Chinese and Japanese teas are more widely known, Korean green tea is very different from them. And unlike black teas, which are fermented and oxidized before they are dried and shaped, Korean green tea is heated on an iron pot within a few hours of being picked, then rolled by hands and naturally dried in the shade. This allows for the tealeaves to infuse clear light liquids, which have a delicate and subtle flavor.
How to Brew a Cup of Korean Green Tea
There are a few prerequisites to a good cup of green tea, and everything from the quality of water and tea, and the temperature of the water, to when the tea is added to the pot, or how long the tea is steeped, can influence the final result.
When preparing tea for drinking, oolong teas are made using hot water, while that used for black tea should be virtually boiling. The water used for green tea should be much cooler, never more than 80 degrees Centigrade (176 degrees Fahrenheit). For high quality green tea, it is important to steep the tea in water that is about 50-60 degrees Centigrade (122-140 degrees Fahrenheit). This is to suppress catechin and activate the amino acids that are the key to green tea's refreshing taste. Generally, low grade quality green tea (most of tea bags) should be steeped in water that is heated to 70-80 degrees Centigrade (158-176 degrees Fahrenheit); this is lower than other teas, so as to minimize its bitter taste. If the water is too hot, or is allowed to remain too long on the leaves, the finest taste is lost and the bitter elements emerge. When preparing tea, add 50 cc of water (it should be boiled and then cooled to 50-60 degrees Centigrade) to 2 grams of tea per person, and let it sit for 1-2 minutes before drinking.
In order to prepare green tea in Korean way, we use a tea set usually consisting of a tea pot, three or five cups that are smaller than the English variety but larger than the little Chinese ones. In addition there is a large bowl for cooling the boiled hot water, with a lip for pouring the cooled water into the empty pot. The water in this large bowl is also used for warming the pot and cups before placing tea.
How to Serve and Drink Korean Green Tea
Dado is a Korean word literally meaning "the way of tea" or tea ceremony or more loosely etiquette involved when formally drinking tea. At first the different steps may seem complicated, but it does not take long to master them and to drink tea, alone or with others, to become a part of life. When one experiences this ceremony, one can fully understand that this ceremony is not for a show, and not that complicated and rigid as Japanese one, as Koreans feel that it is very important to remain natural while drinking tea together, although dado was also developed to help meditate and cleanse one's mind of needless thoughts. It is a way to enjoy all the pleasures the tea gives.
The process of pouring water and placing tea into a teapot is known as tooda. The placement of tea, depending on the order in which the water and tea are placed, can be known as upper placement, middle placement, or lower placement. In upper placement, the water is poured and then the tea is added. In middle placement, the water is poured halfway and then the tea is added, after which more water is poured. For lower placement, the tea is placed first and the water is then poured on top; this method is deemed more appropriate in the winter. In the summer, upper placement is preferred, whilst middle placement is suitable for the spring and autumn.
The first serving of a new batch of tea is poured directly into the cups, a little at a time, back and forward three times until the cups are filled, in order to spread equally the stronger tea that emerges from the bottom of the teapot. No water must remain in the pot, or it would develop the bitter taste that is so undesirable.
Korean green tea is usually drunk holding the cup in both hands. The first step is to view the color of the tea, the second to inhale its fragrance, the third to taste it on the tongue, the fourth to follow its taste in the throat, and finally there is the lingering aftertaste in the mouth to be enjoyed.
The water for the second and following cups can be a little hotter than that used for the first. The leaves having softened, the water needs to stand on them for only a very short moment, and then the tea is poured into the lipped bowl, which is passed around people serving themselves directly. This avoids passing cups back and forward. Ordinary green tea will usually have lost most of its flavor after serving three times, but very good tea may be used to make four or five rounds. The used tea leaves can be employed in a variety of ways: in cooking, in bathwater or as a hair-rinse, or to remove the smell from a refrigerator, etc.
Green Tea Health Benefits
Green tea has high contents of vitamin C, catechin and amino acids, all substances that for many years have been known to be great for your skin. Green tea is also a low-calorie drink and would be helpful for those trying to lose weight. Recently, "Yale University researchers detail the body of evidence linking green tea to better heart health and a lower risk of cancer (Reported by MSNBC)."
Loose tea: two packages available.
Net Wt. 1.8 ounces (50 grams)
Net Wt. 2.8 ounces (80 grams)