I just opened the sample pack I bought from Upton exactly a year ago, and it smelled fresh, but perhaps it’s unfair to review it his state. I am not knowledgeable about Keemuns at this stage in my “tea career,” but I do like strong black tea. I wanted something that would be substantial but not heavy this early September morning, which still has some of summer’s warmth. The instructions on the packet said to brew the tea for 3 to 5 minutes, so I brewed it for 3’45", and felt that it was pretty nice but perhaps could have used a longer brewtime. I also felt that the flavors in this tea were not balanced and palpable until the brewed tea had cooled down to 115F. Then it was a smooth, richly flavored but medium-to-light textured cup of tea, highly enjoyable, and I was able to note all the flavors in my list below. The one flavor I would add is “old iron pot,” because the tea had a background note that almost felt like it had been brewed at an old fire pit in a room carpeted with grass mats. A little too dusty for my taste, but I enjoyed it all the same.

Flavors: Cocoa, Corn Husk, Dark Wood, Dry Grass, Forest Floor, Nut Fruits, Red Wine, Rose, Tobacco

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 45 sec 2 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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A highly domesticated creature living in the outer boroughs of New York City.

Dad worked for Lipton, but we drank Swee-Touch-Nee instead. Later found out that “Swee-Touch-Nee” is a rough transliteration of the Russian word for flowery: цветочной.

I am a foodie first and a tea drinker second. But one informs the other, of course.

My tea preferences vary according to season and weather. I know just what to do with a raw cold wet dark winter day: East Frisian with milk! On the other end of my taste range is Tazo’s Cucumber White, which when chilled is a good antidote for humid summer weather. Middle ground: Frances Bissell’s Special Blend Ceylon; Upton’s Mincing Lane Black Tea Blend; Scottish Breakfast. My favorite smoky tea is Upton’s Baker Street Black Tea Blend.

I am still exploring and learning about tea. Think of me as an advanced beginner.


Brooklyn, NYC



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