Country of Origin: South Korea
Leaf Appearance: dark, curled
Steep time: 4 minutes
Water Temperature: 185 degrees
Preparation Method: glass teapot
I’ve been enjoying Korean teas quite a bit lately. Balhyocha is an interesting one because it can be categorized as oolong or a black tea, depending on who you ask. The processing is quite complex, but I think it is ultimately closer to a black tea. This particular tea hails from Jiri Mountain in Hadong. Tea Repertoire indicates that this tea was made from tea leaves of wild tea bushes. It was fascinating to compare this Balhyocha to the Sejak Tenderesse that I previously reviewed from them.
The dry leaves were fairly dark with a curly shape. They had an intensely earthy and sweet aroma. Once unfurled, they were beautifully whole with a consistent coppery brown color. Isn’t it fun to play with your leaves? I brewed this tea in a glass teapot using Tea Repertoire’s recommendations, 185-degree water and a 4 minute infusion time.
I find that this type of tea is a bit too light-bodied for gongfu preparation, but that is definitely a matter of personal preference. It is a fairly versatile tea, so there is room for experimentation. After tasting for this review, I brought the rest of the tea into the office. It was frequently left brewing for too long but never became bitter or unpleasant.
Tea Repertoire Balhyocha brewed up an amber-colored liquor with nice clarity. Notes of cocoa dominated the flavor profile. Yum! It was nutty with hints of cinnamon and a pleasant sweetness that lingered long after each sip. There was no astringency or bitterness at all. Later infusions turned a bit more floral. I would definitely recommend this tea, especially for those who are looking for a milder black tea. Yancha fans would also enjoy it for the darker chocolatey notes.
Have you tried Tea Repertoire Balhyocha? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!