A beautiful 80 gram canister from Hankook tea shop with oxidized Korean oolong, or by Korean classification Hwang-Cha (yellow tea).
Partially oxidized and pan-fired, Hwang Cha is recognized for its elegant and bold aroma that makes a statement every time you steep it. Made with first flush tea leaves, Hwang Cha steeps a clear, amber liquor that is smooth on the palate. The deep and complex nuances of this full-bodied tea ends with a subtly sweet finish that lingers on.
Dry leaves have a rocky (Wuyi) oolong dark chocolate smell. Contrary to other rocky oolong teas I had, like Da Hong Pao and Japanese oolongs leaves are tiny and thin. They are about 1cm long or less, curled and thin, mostly very dark brown color (almost black), with some small amount of red additions (small amount of red stems). When covered with water aroma becomes overwhelming. Cocoa with some caramel, espresso or dark chocolate.
1st steep at 90°C, as advised on packaging, but for 4min. instead of 2. But it’s almost not astringent at all. It has a nice bitterness, just emphasizing its rocky taste. Liquor is dark reddish brown. Beautiful. Taste has a fresh grassy undertones, which I like in such heavily oxidized oolongs.
2nd steep at 90°C for 4min. Leaves became more green and unfolded. Grassy vegetal [most close to persimmon] buttery taste makes appearance, as in all rocky oolongs, after rocky flavour disappears. I had to steep it shorter to avoid this, but ok, I had 2 good steeps already 🙂
3rd steep at 100°C for 3min. Let’s get the last drops of a bold rocky flavour. Liquor has greener tone now. Leaves are fully open. Buttery caramel overcomes rocky dark chocolate taste. Pleasant grassy undertones. Nice steep different by its elegance from other such teas I tried. This is probably due to 90° lower temperature of fist two steeps, the good taste preserved.
4th at 100°C for 4min. Buttery caramel lingering taste again, nice!
I’d like to try more Korean dark teas. But hard to find them online. Hankook tea is a very good shop, but they have only one Hwang Cha. Other shops are either in Korean language or very very expansive.