Boseong Sejak Hongcha (보성군 세작 홍차) is an organic black tea from the Choi family plantation located in the famous Boseong County of South Jeolla Province. The spring Sejak (세작) grade is plucked in April and is the second flush after the rare and expensive Ujeon (우전) grade. The name Sejak Hongcha refers both to the flush of this tea and the fact that it is a black tea, or hongcha (홍차). This tea has full organic certification, was picked in April 2017 and is sourced by us directly from the Choi family.
The Choi family plantation produces some classic teas that all have their own unique characters but maintain a distinctive ‘Korean’ taste. The family has owned this plantation for 3 generations and the tea making knowledge passes down from one generation to the next. They take great care in growing and producing their organic teas that showcase wonderful traditional Korean tea flavours. The Choi family also run tea making workshops for local schools, passing down their tea knowledge and promoting local agricultural work. Most children of farmers around the area are keen on moving to big cities for study and work, so their work is essential in ensuring the future of Korean tea.
Korean teas are distinguished by having a clear classification system of flushes. The first flush Ujeon (우전) is the most prized one, which is the ‘pre-rain’ picking of the tea leaves. This is followed by Sejak (세작) ‘thin sparrow’, Jungjak (중작) ‘medium sparrow’ and Daejak (대작) ‘big sparrow’ flushes. These names refer to the shape and size of the leaves and their resemblance to sparrow tongues. The earlier the harvest, the more expensive the tea is. Earlier harvests also have more intense characteristics and heavily feature dominant green, savoury and umami flavours. While these flavours are more evident in green teas, they also do translate rather well to their black tea counterparts.
This Boseong Sejak Hongcha is from the second Sejak flush and is processed as a black tea by allowing the tea leaves to oxidise. Traditionally oxidation levels in Korean black teas tend to be rather light, something you can easily see in this tea as well. The lighter oxidation results in a lighter profile that is cleaner and more refreshing.
This Boseong Sejak Hongcha has wiry dark leaves that produce a dark amber liquor with a light aroma. The taste is soft, smooth and clean. There is no astringency, bitterness or maltiness in this tea. Instead there are light stony and woody notes. There are further notes of dried fruits that lead on to a crisp and tangy aftertaste. Overall this is a very fresh and clean tasting tea that represents a great showcase of the lighter style of black tea popular in Korea.
It is best brewed at 90c for around 3 minutes and can be re-brewed multiple times.