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  • Writer's pictureNeldon Hamblin

2019 Boseong Black from Mansa Tea

Hello friends! I apologize for the lack of content lately, it's been a busy semester. However, I'm back and thought I'd relax with one of my favorite teas, a Korean black tea from Mansa Tea.

Those who know me know that I have a serious weakness when it comes to Korean teas. In my opinion, Korea produces the best tea available and whenever I find one, I buy as much as I can. There's just something about Korean teas that I'm addicted to. Such is the case with this semi-aged black tea from Boseong. According to Mansa Tea, less than 5% of all teas produced in Korea are black teas, making them fairly difficult to come by. Mansa gives the following details about this tea:

Terroir: Boseong, South Korea

Elevation: 820ft

Cultivar: Japanese Yabukita varient

Vintage: Spring 2019

So, without further ado, let's get into this review.

Brewing Parameters:

100°C/212°F water

5g leaf/100ml gaiwan

Flash rinse, standard gongfu steeps for black tea

Dry leaf: This has a very nice note of chocolate, peppery spices, and oak.

Warmed gaiwan: I'm getting aromas of cherries, dark chocolate, and figs, with a slight smokiness present.

Rinse 3s: The rinse is malty with notes of chocolate and peanuts. It's oaky with an aftertaste of dried figs.

1st steep 5s: This steep is reminiscent of a qimen- malty, sweet; aerating the broth in mouth releases a flavor similar to cherry juice and honeydew; nice chocolatey undertones

2nd steep 5s: The astringency coming through now, but not a bitter way- more of a drying feel. Very malty, starting to get hints of floral towards back of tongue; honeyed wheat and oak

3rd steep 7s: There's an overarching peppery, chocolatey, nuttiness to this steep.

4th steep 10s: It's starting to die out, which is to be expected since I am using flash steeps and boiling water each steep. This steep tastes more like grains and pepper, but there is a nice lingering sweetness in the throat. Definitely more drying now.

5th steep 15s: This is the an interesting steep. It's tasting like toasted rice or grains, slightly floral. The overwhelming taste this steep is of grasses and grains. Very nice and I could probably push this for a few more steeps, but I think I'll stop soon as it's getting weak.

6th steep 20s: Grains, sweetness in the throat. Very pleasant, calming energy. This gives me a buzz but not like other black teas- the energy is more grounding than anything.

7th steep 25s: The tea is noticeably lighter in color and this reflects the final steeps. Still very pleasant but it's definitely on its way out.

8th steep 30s: This is the final steep. More grains, malt, and oak. Pleasant but not as exciting as other steeps.

Overall verdict:

This is an amazing tea and I highly recommend checking it out. Mansa Tea has an amazing selection of teas and this one is a great example of the care and thought that goes into their curation for their selection.

As far as price goes, it is expensive. However, Korean teas are always pricier than others, due to a smaller yield and most often, hand-production. Additionally, with less than 5% of Korean teas produced being black teas, a quality black tea from Korea will command higher prices. That said, this tea will run you $58 for 2 ounces, or about $1.02/g. If you're willing to spend a bit more for an amazing quality black tea, I'd really suggest trying this. Korean teas are phenomenal and while they cost more, they really produce some of the greatest and most complex flavors out there. This is an expensive product, but well worth the extra money.

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