Sulloc-Cha Jakseol, a green tea from Korea

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It took a bit of work, but I have identified this tea as third flush Jakseol. When I bought it several weeks ago I was limited in the amount of information at hand, since I am not able to read Korean, but I could tell that it was good quality Korean green tea, grown and produced by the O’Sulloc Company on Jeju (Che-ju) Island, which was enough information to tell me it was what I was looking for. I was quite surprised and pleased to find any respectable Korean tea in a local store, even a large Korean grocery like Paldo World.

As attractive as the bright green tin is, even the company name was a challenge to puzzle out since it only appears in English in the highly stylized logo. But after I identified where the tea came, from I knew I could trust its quality.

The only English on the package says “not fermented green tea,” which didn’t tell me anything useful. Much later, after some comparisons with other tea packages, and some guessing what English to enter into the translator to identify the characters, I was able to translate enough of the package information to tell when in the season it was picked and what kind it was, which was harder than it sounds. I was using Google Translate, which is useful, but I couldn’t type in the Korean characters, and while the translations from English show the Romanizations it wouldn’t translate them the other direction.

The two large characters in the middle left of the package front, under the Sulloc-Cha logo and company name, are Jak-seol (Jakseol), which is a type of Korean green tea, often referred to as “Sparrow’s Tongue” due to its appearance. 중제 means third picking, or third flush, sometimes written Jung-jak (중작), and in the case of this package, the Romanization is “Jeung Je.” (The second character is “third;” the first is jung, or jeung, which translates as “during,” which shows how ineffective literal translation is, in this case.) The third pick of Jakseol is in the later part of June, so this is last year’s tea.

That was a lot of wrangling with language to come up with little actual information, but what is more important is that this is very delicious tea. I’ve made it at home, prepared in a Korean black stoneware tea set. I have also been drinking it fairly often in a Korean celadon cup/infuser set at work, which is quite pleasant.

I need to find the proper Korean name for those sets. They’re not at all like a Chinese gaiwan, although I’ve seen people call them that, and they’re not just a cup or mug. They’re very efficient devices for brewing and drinking Korean green teas. for the first infusion I pour boiling water into the empty mug part and then insert the infuser with the tea in it after the water is around 160-170 degrees (fahrenheit).

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11 Comments

  1. The Korean teaware you described is similar to a ceramic tea infuser mug? I should make a tea trip to K-town in NYC.

  2. If you ask me the best way is to drink Japan teas like sencha, macha…

  3. Cinnabar,

    I was given some of these tea from a representative from a brand under the same umbrella as this tea company. I absolutely fell in love with it. I am having trouble finding somewhere locally that sells this tea, and no one online seems to either. I was wondering if you had any store recommendations, or a similar tea that is easier to find in stores.

    Thanks so much!

  4. Do you interested in our tea gift boxes ?

  5. You actually make it seem really easy along
    with your presentation but I to find this topic to be
    actually something that I believe I would by no
    means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and very extensive for me.

    I’m taking a look ahead for your next post, I will try to get the dangle of it!

  6. Hi !!!
    I am searching for a specific tea that my sister in law brought back from Korea – It’s called Orchid Green Tea. There is no other English on the container, so I am limited in what I can find. It comes in a pale green cylindrical container with a darker green label; individual tea bags with full leaf tea in each one. I tried to look it up by UPC code, but found nothing. Do you know anything about this tea? I would love to have more!
    Joanie

  7. Yes, thank you. I’ve read some great information about Korean tea on your blog.

    Almost unrelated, do you think that the swirl inside that stoneware cup in the last photo would be considered a gye yal? Each of the five cups has it (of course), and the circle inside of the water cooling vessel is even more dramatic.

  8. Thank you for your thorough answer. It sounds like it would be more accurate for me to say that the non-artisan created pieces like these are pointing in the general direction of the traditional form of the gye yal – which is executed fully within the Seon Buddhist tradition, as an element of contemplative practice – but they are merely decorative ornament.

    Part of what I was thinking about was whether the recurring loose swirl, circle motif, even in the most commonplace and machine-produced of Korean, Japanese or Chinese ceramics is a deliberate reference to the Enso or Gye Yal, and Buddhist tradition. And now that I have framed it in those terms I realize it’s impossible to answer. Predominant, recurring motifs like that don’t generally emerge without context, even if that context is lost on many of the people exposed to the symbol. But obviously circular forms emerge naturally, even without specific human-imposed context, in the production process of round objects, which is of course part of the aptness of it symbolizing the no-mind in the first place.

    But yes, the swirls are quite attractive. This set was commercially produced, but it has a very nice feel and look to it.

  9. How to buy those green tea from Korea?

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