Big Raccoon Korean Daejak green tea is a tea I regret I have never tried in my extremely long tea drinking career. Short description? When long jing is filled with umami.
Maybe one needs to try Chinese and Japanese teas first, to fully understand Daejak green tea. And how good it is! Yesterday was a big day for me. I finally tried the first Korean green tea in my life. Ever. Yes, I haven’t had a chance to try any of them so far. German, Indonesian, Georgian, Malawi, Vietnamese, etc. etc. But Korean, not even once.
I have to thank Teabento for giving me the opportunity to try this little gem.
Name: Big Raccoon
Tea Vendor: Teabento (Germany)
Type: Korean green tea
Big Raccoon Has Finally Been Caught
I was afraid to open a bag at first, as I had no idea what to expect from Korean teas. I opened a bag and the wonderful nutty scent filled my nose. So amazing, full and intense. Leaves look very interesting as well. Long and elegantly messy, quite broken, matte pale grassy green with a few yellowish leaves. This tea comes from Hadong in Korea and it is hand-picked and handmade. And this is another big plus. I knew I will like it. There is rarely any hand-picked and handmade tea that was not made with lots of passion, love and knowledge. And if stored properly, you are bound to have an amazing drinking experience. Big Raccoon is currently on sale and 50 grams costs 11.90 EUR or 14.20 USD. There is a smaller 25 grams package available as well.
Time to Bathe the Big Raccoon
I tried it in two ways – as suggested by Teabento and based on my own preferences. Instructions say 200ml of water, 4 grams of tea, 80-85 degrees and 90, 30, 120 second steepings. Later I added a bit more leaves and less water, on the border of 85 degrees. And I liked it as well. Big Raccoon is incredibly nutty. Seems almost like the whole scent is being transferred from leaves to the liquor. Almost as you can feel whole essence draining out of leaves with each steeping, until all is gone. Liquor is rarely that full of scent. Color is yellow, like a little sun, that is, if you brew it with more leaves like I did. Otherwise, it’s a bit more pale. In both cases, the result is very very similar, except the intensity of bitterness and sweetness.
The first cup is the best. It amazingly full, toasty, grainy and sweet with characteristic seaweed umami flavor. Lighter than your typical umami, but still present. A wonderful unique mix. And oh, there is the sweetness! Second brew is much lighter, a bit more sharp and vegetal. Big Raccoon has a slight astringency lingering in the background that doesn’t want to appear, but gives a wonderful feeling. It’s a bit drying in the end.
Draining it out
With the Big Raccoon I have the impression leaves are releasing every single drop of flavor and scent. Like washing the dished with detergent, until all clean. OK, a really bad comparison. Used leaves are almost scentless, in a fresh way. Like the whole purpose of the leaves is to drain everything you can from them for a pure green joy. These leaves are at your service.
I prefer it with a bit more leaves though. Big Raccoon is like the school example of what a green tea should be – bitter and sweet. But, in a nice, refined and desirable way.