Worth the money. That’s all I have to say about Korean Ujeon green tea; well, I do have more to say, but that is what comes to mind every time I think about it. When it first hits your tongue it initially tastes like a really good green tea, but the extraordinariness comes with the long, buttery finish. The best is the first steep for sure; the second and third steeps are good however, with their own unique character. Steeping this tea (and all other Korean greens) is best done at 140F to 160F for two minutes.
Ujeon is the first pluck of the tea bushes—traditionally in April, but due to the global weather changes, Mina at Hankook Tea says the first pluck is starting later—more like late May or early June. The very small, tender leaves are picked for only six to seven days—that’s it! What this means to those of us who yearn for it is there is very little to go around and much of the Ujeon does not leave South Korea.
I don’t carry Ujeon (yet) because it is so crazy expensive and its shelf life is fairly limited—probably nine months from plucking is optimum. Mina has graced me with a sample of this year’s tea (right now about five months old) and I’ll have it for a limited time—to taste with customers.
My next tea tour (after Sri Lanka) will be South Korea and I plan to drink as much Ujeon as my hosts want to offer!