We have chosen to take our Ujeon from a small family farm in Hwagae in Hadong which is the area that produces the most traditional teas in Korea. The farm's teas have won the very prestigious first prize in the area's tea festival and the family has its own stock of semi-wild shrubs (locally this type of tea is referred to as yaseang-cha: wild tea). Their teas are hand-picked and made entirely by hand. In Korea, teas are divided into four categories which correspond to the harvest periods: ujeon, sejak, jungjak and daejak (daejak denotes all harvests that take place after the jungjak harvest and therefore includes simpler qualities). These are divided according to the lunar calendar, which is also the basis for China's harvest periods. Ujeon thus denotes the first harvest in the spring and is harvested before Gogu, which falls on April 20. Gogu is the same as "Guyu" in China - both mean "before the rains" and is an important date in terms of delimitation of tea harvests. As Korea's climate is colder than China's, this first harvest is later in Korea than in China.
Korean tea is relatively unknown in the West, and the most commonly exported are mass-produced teas of varying quality. These teas are usually steamed, which is largely due to the fact that steaming is easy to do on a large scale. Commercially made Korean teas can be hand-picked, but they are usually never made by hand. In addition, commercially adapted subspecies are used.
At the same time, in Korea there are teas that are produced on a small scale by small family farms. These small family farms are located in Hadong, the area where tea was first grown in Korea. The teas are harvested from semi-wild bushes and both picking and manufacturing are done by hand, which is why these craft teas require very high prices and only a very small proportion are sold outside Korea. As an example, we are the first from Europe to visit this award-winning farm.
- 70-75 c
- 2-3 grams
- 1.5-3 min
Origin: Hwagae, Hadong, South Korea. Harvest: Ujeon 2021.