홍차 (Hong Cha)
Boseong-gun, Jeollanam-do, South Korea
For winter is a cruel mistress, sometimes overstaying her welcome to keep us disciplined with promises of a more fruitful tomorrow…
STFU winter! South Korea’s unusually long winter this year has meant a delay in the production of its hong cha. Instead of waiting for a harvest that might not come, we’re keeping on with last year’s batch which remains delightfully malty with a muscatel tang.
Just like the Chinese by the same name, it just means red tea, this one coming from our Bohyang friends. If anything, this is the better known Korean tea category around the world as it is unique for its sweetness of a Yunnanese but a hint of fruitcake like the Indian sub-continental black teas. More to the intrigue is that it comes from a larger leaf plant, not dissimilar to pu-erh and is usually a late harvest (after all the greens have been done).
Here’s to a sweet 'n sour cup of mystery.
Profile: shortbread, vanilla, wood
Processing: handpicked, withered, fully oxidised, pan-fired