Sometimes you just gotta be lucky! Just like Ning-Ning and I, when we met Mr. Cho at the last COTECA in Hamburg (a trade fair for coffee, tea and cocoa), a pleasant, super-friendly and extraordinary Korean teamaster, who runs a tea farm at Jiri Mountain, in the south of the Republic of Korea in the sixth generation. My first big trip was to Korea, and so this Korean booth not only provoked a lot of curiosity in me but also nostalgic feelings. So I grabbed Ning-Ning’s arm and pulled her quickly towards the stand. Mr. Cho welcomed us very kindly with an invitation to a tea tasting. We were very happy, took a seat and let us present a selection of Mr. Cho’s teas. It was extremely interesting and included various green teas (Sejak, Daejak, Wu Jeon) and various herbal teas, also Korean Matcha and black tea powder. Ning-Ning and I decided to try the green and the black teas as well as the the powder teas.
The way Mr. Cho prepared his tea told us a whole lot about him and the tea. He knew his tea in and out, knew exactly at what pace he had to take which step and was simply calmness itself. One actually got the impression that, like an artist, he used something valuable to shape something even more precious with his hands. The high expectations so awakened in us were not disappointed. The teas tasted fantastic! The Daejak was fresh, sweet, full-bodied and had something of Sesame Nori. The Balhyocha just knocked us out with its distinctive soft and sweet cocoa-notes, it was soooo gooood! Ning-Ning and I were so happy, we praised the teas across all the dimensions and ordered a whole assortment of samples. Mr. Cho was also pleased that we liked his teas and was ready to pack the samples that we wanted to taste at home. The only problem was that he could not find a bag to pack us the teas. No problem, we will find a bag somewhere and we are in no hurry, we said. After a few laps around the fair, we returned with a bag to Mr. Cho’s booth and we noticed with surprise that Mr. Cho was already waiting for us with a self-made bag including carrying handle! “Self-made Korean style” Mr. Cho told us smiling with the bag in his hand.
Mr. Cho is a hands-on person who takes care of cultivation, harvesting, processing, packaging design, marketing and simply everything from start to sale and beyond, with a lot of passion. We are very glad to have found a partner and supplier of first class Korean teas for our shop in Mr. Cho and to be able to offer two of his teas in our shop: Big Raccoon and Jiri Horse. They belong to my personal favourites and we will surely order more from Mr. Cho in the future.
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