No, I’m not showing preferential treatment to Arbor Teas. I needed a Korean tea to review today, and I had two from Arbor and none from anyone else. ^^;; Goldfish has some really excellent Korean teas, but as you can tell, I haven’t been out to Royal Oak in a quite some time.
After having had some negative experiences with hidden oxidation in Korean Greens, I had backed off of reviewing them too often. Indeed, Korea is the very last region listed under the Growing Regions tab, though that has more to do with their output, marketing and (ironically) relative new comer status. That being said, in light of North Korea’s ICBM test I really wanted to draw attention to the plight of South Korea today. South Korea is home to innumerable ancient Buddhist temples, the finest ancient celadon that exists, and very likely we would not have tea culture as it exists today if Japan had not imported Korean Teaware and extolled its virtue (about the same time when they invaded (the first time…) during the Joseon Dynasty). For those who don’t know, Korea was also invaded by the Khitans, the Mongols and the Manchu (twice), and of course invaded itself in 1950. Also despite Abe’s best efforts, the plight of Korean comfort women in WWII is well documented. It would thus not be inaccurate to suggest that Korea has suffered more than any other people in the history of Asia. For me, the idea of another war on the Korean peninsula is unthinkable and must be opposed.
Although I don’t review Korean teas much, they do have a tendency to smell just heavenly. Arbor’s Korea Sejak is no exception: A lush Green reminiscent of both Chinese and Japanese Greens, but with a slightly untamed grain element. In liquor, a vibrant yellow-green. Korea Sejak’s flavor profile is a bit more restrained though: astringent and buttery with a decent corn-like aftertaste. In texture, similar to a Zhejiang or Anhui Green’s low-to-medium grit. For what it’s worth, it spits quite well. Takes a second steep and keeps going strong.
- Aroma – 96
- Taste – 94
- Texture – 94
- Spunk – 95
- Rarity – 95
- Availability – 93
- Appearance – 94
- Organic/Fair trade – 96 (Surprisingly competitive despite being fully organic!)
Mean score – 94.6 rounds to 95 and Arbor Tea’s Korea Sejak is our first Korean Best in Class. Maybe it’s a bit unfair in that I simply haven’t bought that many, but it also means Arbor Teas is now a three time Best in Class winner. Well done!