October 8, 2010

2010 Kim Shin Ho Balhyocha

A few weeks ago I had received my Korean tea samples from Pedro (Dao Tea) and of all the teas that were included in the tasting this Balhyocha was the one that really intrigued me, very different from any other tea Ive had before. I just had to have some more of this Balhyocha, or, "Yellow Tea" as Matt has referred to it, for further tastings. Thanks Pedro! A superb handmade tea by Tea Master Kim Shin Ho.

A Japanese Cherry Wood Coaster Set  from the 1950's

As you can see for yourself the dry leaf is chunky and thick. I love chunky and thick, what that tells me is there are many, many infusions to be had. The tea smells of malty roasted grain, honey, raisins and a touch of cocoa. Ive had to experiment a little to get Balhyocha's to brew correctly, or rather, to my liking.  Initially when I first brewed these teas I felt that I wasn't extracting all the flavors this tea had to offer. Water temperature and infusion times needed to be adjusted. Spring water brought to the boil and cooled to 185 degrees, plenty of leaf, quickish infusion times brought out the flavors that I knew this tea possessed but I had missed when first attempting this tea.

Balhyocha is a really unique tea, the malted grain and honey notes are a perfect match with the cocoa aspects. This tea is just slightly sweet. Something Ive noticed with all of these Korean teas is that they trick your other senses into perceiving that they are sweeter than they really are. The tea smells of honey, very much so in fact. But when you taste it, it's not as sweet as you thought it was going to be. Now, I,m not saying that's a negative thing, just making observations.

Using more leaf and quicker infusions brings out the best in this tea. And of course the durability was increased by bumping up the leaf quantity, four to five good pots. This Balhyocha is quite rich, almost (but not quite) buttery in the cup. My first impression of these "Yellow Teas" is that they were good, but not very complex. Ive since changed my mind. Yesterday while drinking this tea I noticed some lilac florals in the later infusions. Such a gorgeous tea! Ive been trying to restrain from drinking this stuff up, trying to make it last a while. But it's just so damned good I bet I devour it all within a week. Pedro, you may be hearing from me again shortly.


  1. If I'm reading your post correctly it sounds like you also bought some of the Balhyocha.

    My favorite of the sampler teas was probably Kim Shin ho 2010 Sejak, but I am slightly overloaded on green tea right now, especially since I am switching over to darker teas, which lead me to acquire the Balhyocha's

    I do agree the Balhyochas were most certainly very unique.


  2. Hey Adam,

    You read it correctly, I bought some of Kim Shin Ho's and Kim Jeong Yeol's Balhyocha for purposes of comparison. Kim Shin Ho's Sejak is also at the top of my list (next order)

    The Balhyocha's......there is more in the cup than what is apparent, all kinds of hidden flavors and aromas that show up from time to time.

    Great Teas!


    Due to the large leaf to water ratio, brilliant subtleties in taste, and addictive nature of Korean "bal hyo cha"- financial burden may occur.


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  5. I know, I know!

    This situations left me a right old sour pus.

  6. Thanks a lot!!! I too have become addicted to these balhyos, particularly on chilly afternoons. I am forwarding your post to a friend of Kim Shin Ho who speaks English - he will be a very happy guy :)

  7. Pedro,

    Thank You! I,m looking forward to my next order. Thanks for making these teas available. I know it's hard work sourcing these teas and bringing right to our door.

    Tell Kim Shin Ho I said to make me some more tea. His Sejak and Balhyocha are superb.