Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tong E Cha

I have spent this morning with Korean tea. Partly oxidized Korean teas are mostly called Balhyocha. In this case, leaves are not only oxidized but also pressed or shaped to kind of ball. This gave name to this tea - it is called Tongecha - cake tea. According to Matt, it is quite new thing in the world of Korean teas. I was aware  that Czech supplier TeaMountain offer this tea, but before I got to buy it, my dear Spanish friend Antonio give me chunk of those interesting leaves. Magic globalization! Tea going from Hwagae valley situated in south of Korean peninsula to Czech Republic, thereafter to Barcelona tearoom and then back to middle of Europe as a friendly gift.

Leaves are dark, small and lively looking. I removed them to small porcelain jar. After a while smelling to this jar I found dark, but sweet and very clearly speaking fragrance. When in many balhyocha you will find spicy or even sharper tones, here it is almost clear, dark chocolate.

Pressing of the tea is light so it didn't surprise me that even first brew was strong. But not too strong, it couldn't kill liveliness and vibrancy of the tea. Second brew become more smooth and filed my mouth with thick taste. The kind of taste, which brings me back to the childhood - candied fruits coated by dark but sweet chocolate.

It was interesting to contemplate how the tea slowly changed thru brews. The chocolate was still there. The aroma of chocolade changed with every cup. It went from heavier orange - citrus aromas over resin and light peprmint to violet or other sweet flowers fragrances. Smelling to empty cup was story itself or no less then irreplaceable part of main tale. The content of the empty cup was colorful and sweet in the way which reminds me best wui oolongs I had. The empty cup was full. And if I have missed that than my tea session would be poorer.

For high quality of those leaves speak (among others) their stamina. I haven't found a break point among brews. Liqueurs become slowly lighter but still sweet and fragrant. The seller says that you can prepare ten, full-blown brews. I confirm that. However, good water, right utensils and tranquil attention is needed for that. This tea is worth it.

Thank you for reading.


  1. Hej Petr,
    Very spectacular and generous gift, nice you shere it with us:)

    Balhyocha was one of my "best last year tea" and I was thinking about this teamountain's ball. Good encouragement.

  2. Petr,

    Made some edits to the post on Tong E Cha that you and your readers may find interesting. Here:


    Love these Korean Tea posts! Take care Petr.


  3. Your blog it's very interesting: you make very beautiful teaware.
    I have a blog about tea ceremonies:
    I add a link to your blog because I think that many tea lovers reader caould be interesting on your work.
    Please if you like it, add also a link to my blog on your.
    Thank's and regards. Letizia