Links to additional reviews are below!
We at Morning Crane Tea are happy to get any review or mention we can get for our teas. That’s simply because ‘we‘ is really ‘me‘ with no advertising budget and no real financial support. Thank goodness, so far all reviews have been positive. But I would expect them to be because I decided to represent the best quality tea company I could find. That is why I chose Dong Cheon Tea as my primary Korean tea source. You can find less expensive Korean teas but most likely not as good. I am offering only personally selected other teas including Korean artisan teas. In a real sense my tea reputation is on the line and it is personal. So don’t compare Morning Crane Tea with the really big Korean tea companies you can find – except in the quality of the tea where we believe and others have told us we excel.
This past September (2013) I received an email from James, an American visiting Korea in search of quality Korean teas. He was looking for the teashop that sells Dong Cheon teas in Insadong. It is not surprising that he couldn’t find it even though it is probably the easiest tea shop to find. There are many teashops in Insadong and no sign that says Dong Cheon Tea – in English anyway. My first thought was, “Why is he trying to find Korean teas alone?” I have been researching Korean teas for years and could have taken him to the best places even in Insadong. Since the Dong Cheon tea shop is very easy to find, if you know which one it is, I was able to quickly give him directions. Since then we have communicated several times.
At the end of one of his emails he wrote:
“A friend and I run a podcast (http://teadb.org) where we taste and review certain teas, so we’ll actually be tasting/reviewing both teas very soon!
Now James and his friend Denny have reviewed four of the teas we offer. We are honored to be included in these important podcasts and I thought you would like to see what they think.
I’m listing these in the order they were reviewed since reviews of similar teas might influence the other review.
It is also very important to emphasize the point that Korea producers talk about first pick, second pick etc. But we really should not be thinking about Korean teas that way. Each tea is excellent in its own right and should be simply enjoyed as a tea. When we say ‘first pick’ we think “better tea” but true tea connoisseurs know that isn’t necessarily the case. Each tea brings its own taste profile just like all other teas and should be treated as such based on your personal taste preference not on when it was picked.
Another note: When I write, “. . . from Dong Cheon Tea Hwagae Valley, Jerisan.” I’m writing about an organically grown tea that has had no pesticides and no fertilizer that would spread the roots. The same is true for our artisan teas. The tea leaves are from semi-wild or sometimes wild deep rooted tea bushes. Jerisan or Jeri mountain is the ‘holy mountain for Korea teas. In my opinion, Korea’s best teas come from this area. But just like wineries you might begin with a quality grape or in our case leaf but it is how that leaf is processed that makes a profound difference. Dong Cheon and the selected artisan producers make the difference. So if you have tried a Sejak from another company and didn’t think much of it don’t blame all Sejaks any more than you would blame all Merlots or Syrahs if it were wine you are tasting.
Again the reviews are in the order of when they were reviewed. Please return to this site after each review.
Jungjak from Dong Cheon Tea Hwaegae Valley Jerisan: Jungjak is a slightly larger leafed tea. Often overlooked in Korea because of the more popular Sejak, this tea is an excellent tea at a slightly lower price and is sometimes preferred because of its savory flavor. Tea connoisseurs believe the Jungjak leaf has the most cha-qi.
Dan-Cha from Dong Cheon Tea Hwaegae Valley Jerisan: Dan-Cha is a wonderful dark red tea. The term “Dan” is a Taoist term meaning both ‘cinnabar red’ and referring also to its health giving properties. Contrary to the discussion on the podcast, red or black teas have a very long history in Korea dating back at least to their common use of ttokcha in the Goryeo Dynasty. The tea ages well and we were offering two vintage versions along with this years version. Sadly we are nearly sold out of all Dan-Cha’s.
Sejak from Dong Cheon Tea Hwaegae Valley Jerisan:
Sejak is the most popular tea drunk in Korea and after watching the podcast you may understand why. Each tea producer has their own version of it but after considerable research I selected the Dong Cheon Tea company to bring Korean teas to America. Their Sejak was one of the deciding factors. The second pick, this tea is small leafed and delicious. Note they are using a similar Yeohanggi to the one we have on sale.
Hwangcha from Jerisan: An Artisan Tea
Korean hwangcha teas are rare to find on the common market but possibly easier to find when you get closer to the artisan tea producers in Jerisan and out of the way tea producing areas. This hwangcha is organic, hand picked and hand processed by an individual artisan producer that makes no other tea but hwangcha. Her hwangcha is picked and produced before Buddha’s birthday using the leaves normally reserved for woojeon or sejak green teas.
I want to thank James and Denny for permitting this post and for both reviewing our Korean teas and providing this special kind of insight into teas in general. Please follow them at TeaDB.org.
Note: I’m a ceramic artist currently taking a haitus from that work to try to understand teas better so that I might improve my tea ware and at the same time bring you some unique offerings in both Korean tea and Korean tea ware.
I’d also like to sell the teas we offer to a teashop near you. Thanks for letting them know ‘we’ exist and thanks for appreciating my efforts.
Please contact me if you would like any of our Korean teas or tea ware or have questions about either.
When you visit the TeaDB site you might notice a reference to our sale where James confirms that our sale prices are below the retail prices in Korea.