Ujeon (Woojeon), Jeju Island, Korea
Korea has an ancient yet chequered tea culture, which is strongly linked to the rise and fall of the country’s social and political fortunes over the centuries. Introduced by Buddhist monks returning from China during the 2nd century AD, tea drinking and its production became an everday part of Korean life, until the middle of the next millennium, when the rise of Confusiasum and the Seven Year’s War all but destroyed it.
A mild resurgence occurred at the end of the 19th century, but the main renaissance came after the Second World War, due to the venerable Hyo Dang’s writing and establishment of tea schools. Tea is now widely grown in South Korea with four distinct seasons which determine the type of tea. A Korean tea ceremony has also developed unique to the country.
The delicate, tightly curled, dark green leaves are interspersed with a few small open leaves, yielding an inviting mild umami aroma, overlaid with a sweet nuttiness. The infusion is a delicate yellow, with a grassy green tinge, and releases a sweet and savoury aroma, reminiscent of the dry leaf smell. The flavour is soft and delightfully refreshing, with a rich vegetal character and a toasted nutty note.