August 28, 2010

2010 Dong Cheon Korean Teas, Sejak & Jungjak

At last! Finally some Korean green teas. As most of you reading this know, Korean teas have been difficult, if not impossible to find here in the U.S.A. But things are changing, there are now a few online sources for these teas, one of them being  which is where these teas came from. I can't recommend Tea Trekker enough, Bob and Mary Lou Heiss know their teas. In all my years of tea drinking I had never had a Korean tea before. Also in all my years of tea drinking I thought I,d had just about every conceivable flavor profile green tea has to offer. Boy was I wrong, these teas are in a class of their own. They deserve more recognition, they are indeed superb. I,m not really going to do an in depth description of these teas flavors and aromas because the ultimate review can be found on Mattchas Blog. If your reading this then chances are good you are already know Matt. So, go give Matt a visit, he can summarize these teas much better than I.

All three teas, Ujeon, Sejak and the Jungjak are made from semi wild, organic tea bushes growing in the Hwagae valley. All three are also made using the Jeong Cha method, which means the kill green stage is accomplished by briefly plunging the leaves into near boiling water, then the shaping and drying is done in one step in a metal cauldron. The more common method of processing tea is to caldlron dry the leaf, out of the cauldron for shaping and resting, then back into the cauldron, back out etc. It requires several times of doing this before the tea is finished. Lastly, all three teas are made from the same semi wild bush's but what makes them so markedly different is the harvest time. In order of harvest is Ujeon, Sejak and Jungjak.

The first one up to bat is the "Sejak" which comes from the third spring pluck. Cutting open the bag unleashes a pungent aroma, very vegetal with some rich fruit aromas in the background, also a slight hint of malted grain buried deep within. Something that reminds me of toasted Nori is also in the dry leafs aroma. O.K. so lets get the kettle on to boil and see what we have here.


Careful brewing is required here, 170 degree water and attention paid to infusion times and you will be rewarded with a superb cup. Absolutely delicious! I see what Matt meant when he described this tea as being "slippery" reminds me of some kind of tree sap. The flavors permeate into your entire mouth and stays a while, it doesn't just wash over it. The Nori aroma I mentioned earlier shows up in the cup as well. Man.... this stuff is good. The soup has a really nice thickish body.I have found these teas to be much more durable than either Chinese or Japanese green teas. These teas are very complex and additional steepings bring out buried flavors and aromas. It's not one of those teas that just gets weaker and thinner as the sessions continue. I could go on and on trying to tell you what this tea tastes like but like I said.......go see Matt.


Jungjak is made from the fourth pluck harvest. It's interesting to know that Jungjak is made from the exact same tea bushes as the Sejak.....yet the aromas and flavors are so different. The Jungjak has a deep caramelized toasty malted grain aroma in both the dry and infused leaf. That vegetal, toasted Nori aroma is present in the Jungjak as well but it's way, way back in the background. It smells as though it should taste sweet, but it doesn't. Very rich and mouth watering flavors and aromas of roasted nuts, cocoa, nori and malt. Ive noticed in both the Sejak and the Jungjak the slightest touch of saline in the aftertaste, I wonder if they are feeding these plants sea weed as fertilizer?

Again, you can tell by the dry leafs appearance that this is a very well made tea, the producers cared about the quality first and foremost. Mind you......this care and attention costs. These teas are quite expensive and I could see myself buying them as an occasional treat but way too costly to drink regularly. Just look at that vibrant green color in the pot.

Brews a cup of the most intense yellowy green color. And like the Sejak, the Jungjak has a thickish body. Though the Jungjak is less expensive than the Sejak the price difference doesn't reflect a difference in quality. In my opinion they are equally good, just different styles and flavor profiles. In some ways the Sejak and the Jungjak share some of the same flavors and aromas but it's as if the flavors have been shuffled and the order of dominance has been re-arranged.


  1. Bret,

    Wonderful review. Thanks for all the kind words.


  2. Your welcome Matt! Finally, after years of Mattchas Blog taunting us with these teas we can try them ourselves.

  3. Hi Bret,
    You may post this or not but I thought I should let you know that I am the distributor for Dong Cheon Teas in the USA and Europe and sold these teas to Tea Trekker.
    Normally we only sell to the retail market but have decided to hold a once a year sale of Dong Cheon teas to individuals and will be announcing that soon.
    You are right these are quality teas but $32 USD for 100g in 2 50g bags in a can and box doesn't seem too high to me for Dong Cheon Sejak. In addition, in spite of considerable loss of tea bushes as reported on Dong Cheon is holding their 2011 prices at 2010 prices. Dong Cheon is actually holding a sale. The $32 I just mentioned is a sale price from the normal $40. If anyone is interested, Contact me at