Upton Tea Imports

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Recent Tasting Notes

90

A strong, black tea—a blend of Assam and Yunnan. There is an earthy, malty, and spicy flavor to it, most likely malt from the Assam and earthy and spicy from the Yunnan leaves. But the two varieties of tea blend well together and each add their own flavors to the mix. It’s interesting that I can taste both the Assam and the Yunnan as separate flavors within the tea as I concentrate of its flavor. Overall a very enjoyable, strong tea that I am glad I purchased!

Flavors: Earth, Malt, Spicy

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec 6 g 16 OZ / 473 ML
gmathis

Been quite a wile, but I remember liking this one!

teepland

gmathis: Just read your tasting note on this tea — glad you found it appealing as well!

gmathis

Good grief…I just looked back, too. Ten years? (Confound it, I’m getting old!)

teepland

Ha! I just appreciate all the years of advice and recommendations you’ve posted on here, gmathis! :)

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95

A sample I received with a recent order from Upton. I’ve never had Colombian tea before, so I was interested in trying it.

I can’t remember having a tea blend that is as smooth and creamy as this one! I can taste hints of cocoa and honey in the liquor, but they are just slight enough to be there. Otherwise, it is a truly remarkable, smooth black tea with almost no astringency. I’ll definitely purchase more of this in a future order!

Flavors: Cocoa, Creamy, Honey, Smooth

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 30 sec 6 g 16 OZ / 473 ML
gmathis

Definitely making a note!

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65

This Nepali tea sample is courtesy of Meowster’s 2018 cupboard destash. Thanks Meowster!

Steeped 3.5g in 500ml 205F water for 3 minutes. The brewed tea smells of cinnamon raisin bread, warm cherry compote, and a hint of lemon citrus. The smell is more impressive than the taste, but I suspect age hasn’t done this tea any favors. It’s coming off a bit abrasive, with a bit of a malty/bready base with a hint of cinnamon spice and a very strong citrus taste. Near the end of the sip I can just slightly taste a cherry note and a hint of florality, but it fades quickly under the bitter/astringent edge. A bitterness is left on my tongue in the aftertaste.

Probably my least favorite of the Nepali teas I’ve tried this month. I may try playing around with water temperature for my next two cups and see if that doesn’t tame it a little more. But perhaps age has just let the beast out with this one.

Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Bitter, Cherry, Cinnamon, Citrus, Floral, Lemon, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 17 OZ / 500 ML
gmathis

In theory, it sounds wonderful—I don’t remember seeing it the last time I perused an Upton catalog.

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70

I finished all my Nepal Tea samplers, but my “trip” to Nepal this month isn’t quite over yet, as I found a few other samples of Nepali tea in my stash. This one came from Meowster’s cupboard destash many a summer ago. Thanks Meowster!

Steeped 2.5g in 195F water for 3 minutes. The brewed aroma is very floral, with a strong sweet spices scent (like cinnamon) thrown in. Perhaps a hint of toasted bread slathered in marmalade, as well. The flavor hasn’t held up as well in this very old tea as the aroma, as I’m not really tasting any of those things. It mostly tastes of dry autumn leaves, with a hint of cinnamon spice and graham biscuit. There is a subtle apricot note, as well. I can’t help but feel there was probably a lot more notes in this fresh.

But it is servicable morning black tea, despite the age.

Flavors: Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Floral, Graham Cracker, Spices, Stonefruit

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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70

My friend Todd has been visiting, so I haven’t had a chance yet to review a few new teas we had over the weekend.

This tea I took down to a small trail/park along Rock Creek with my shiboridashi. I received it in a cupboard destash from Meowster back in the day (thank you!) There was just enough leaf to fill it and we had a lazy afternoon session in the (blistering) heat listening to the birds and the creek. The tea and companionship was nice; the extremely hot weather, not so much!

There was about 4.5g for the 100ml shiboridashi. None of the steeps were timed and poured when it felt sufficient enough. The water thermos I brought got us through seven infusions.

The first steep smelt very malty with a sweeter orange marmalade undertone. The tea tasted malty, fruity (pithy orange), and floral (orange blossom). The second infusion was the only one that stood out to me as a bit bitter/tannic, with less fruity and floral notes and a stronger impression of wheat, rye, and malt. The third and fourth infusions brought forth a stronger florality, this time leaning subtly rosy. The orange reappeared in the flavor, along with that slight rosy flavor, with the malt more of an undertone. The remaining steeps remained more on the malty/bready side, though very smooth now. There were subtle spice notes, notably a touch of cinnamon and, in the very last steep, licorice.

Not a particularly complex darjeeling, but it is also getting on in age at this point. I didn’t get any of the darj muscat from this brew, but still found it faired well enough for an afternoon tea.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Floral, Fruity, Jam, Licorice, Malt, Orange, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Rose, Rye, Smooth, Spices, Tannic, Wheat

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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90

Lovely aroma of coconut both in the loose leaves and after brewing, but the coconut taste isn’t overwhelming. The tea tastes like green tea with a lingering aftertaste of coconut. It’s very nice!

Flavors: Butterscotch, Coconut

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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95

Brewed 9 grams of dried tea leaves in 20 ounces of near-boiling natural spring water for 4 minutes.

Dried tea leaves were broken with very little stems. Very light and tippy. More green in tone than I expected.

Resulting liquor is light and golden—much lighter than I expected.

The flavor has strong floral and fruity notes with tropical fruits, cherries, and a slight hint of grapes and raisins most identifiable. Astringent.

This tea is absolutely wonderful! Light, but with a wonderfully full mouthfeel. I am enjoying this on a slow morning, but it would be better as an afternoon or evening tea, I think. I will gladly order more of this in the future.

Flavors: Astringent, Cherry, Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Raisins, Tropical

Preparation
9 g 20 OZ / 591 ML

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75

Brewed 9 grams of dried tea leaves in 20 ounces of near-boiling natural spring water for 4 minutes.

Dried tea leaves were broken and had some stems.

Resulting liquor is a smooth reddish-brown, like copper.

Flavor has a slight astringency, with hints of molasses and raisin. Enjoyable and refreshing, but definitely not a favorite for me.

Flavors: Astringent, Molasses, Raisins

Preparation
9 g 20 OZ / 591 ML
Sierge Krьstъ

This is the one I wanted to get but caught with another vendor dealing with brexit muse, just wanted to tick off high from Malawi thylo dark

derk

Oh my gosh, that sounds like a caffeine overdose for me. Do you enjoy African black teas, teepland?

teepland

derk: honestly, this was the first single-estate African tea that I’ve had. I’m definitely interested in trying more!

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74

This cup brews up nice and smooth, I taste mostly the Yunnan in the blend. Maybe there is a hint of metallic caramel aftertaste from the Assam (now called Awesome in my head thanks to a recent tasting note from AJ, lol). The flavors are sweeter and nutty as it cools, this seems like a good candidate for iced tea or an afternoon pick me up. My typical Yunnan/Awesome on the fly mix has more of a bite to it from the Assam so this very smooth tea is a bit bland in comparison.
I enjoyed the cup, but its not something I need in my cupboard.

Flavors: Caramel, Nutty, Smooth

gmathis

I think I’ve tried this one in the past. I need to drink up my junk stock on ice this summer so I can have an excuse to re-visit the Upton catalog again!

AJRimmer

Ha it’s in my head every time, so I’m glad I’m not alone now! :P

tea-sipper

Yeah, Awesome tea will be in my head every time I look at “assam” now. Thanks Aj! haha. Upton has been on my list of places to order from for forever now… maybe someday!

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68

I got a sample of this Darjeeling BOP Blend in a recent Upton order and this is the closest entry I found so here is my tea note.
This very small leaf expanded a lot in the pot and contributed to the bitterness in the cup. That being said there is a nice nutty flavor at the end of each sip. It is less bitter as it cools, and the last cup from the pot wasn’t bitter at all, it was quite smooth.
Second steep was again bitter and not nutty. Not sure I need a darjeeling that is so finicky to brew.

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82

A sweet fruity blend from Michelle. There are large dried cranberries mixed in with the black tea, I counted two in my one teaspoon alone, and as soon as the water hit the leaves the sweetest aroma came floating up to greet me. It’s as sweet as candy. I expected some tartness from the cranberries but found none. This was really a lovely cup.

Flavors: Candy, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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68

Thank you, Michelle, for sharing this one with me! This steeped up dark and strong – I knew it would be a good choice for breakfast. And it is a good tea, but I wouldn’t say it’s a new favorite. There wasn’t any sort of wow factor with that first sip, but I have enjoyed sipping on it throughout the day today.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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83

Got a sample of this and I’m glad I did. Dry leaf smells like chocolate malt. The first steep is roasty, nutty, with a tinge of tobacco and a bit of chocolate malt as it cools. A bit astringent when its hotter, but sweeter and smoother as it cools off. Its interesting enough to be a tea I could reach for when I’m bored of my daily drinkers, but not so fancy that I put it in the back of my cupboard for saving. The second steep seems a bit weaker, but is still quite nutty and malty. My dad quite liked this one and I dare say it rivals the Imperial Lapsang he likes so much from Upton.

Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Nutty, Tobacco

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72

A free sample received with a recent order, enough for a full pot. I was a bit leery of the small leaves when brewing for 4 minutes, but its not bitter. A nutty taste with a slight astringent bite to it. The second steeping is rather weak, not sure I’ll have more than one cup from this second brew pot. Life is too short to drink weak tea.
Not a bad tea, not very interesting either, nothing I need in my cupboard.

Flavors: Nutty

Shae

How much do you normally use when you brew a pot?

Michelle

My dad has a fancy Upton tea scale that does it by the cup. 2.25 g per 6 oz cup. The pot we use is 34 oz full to the top, I think I measured a little more than 5 cups on the scale and didn’t fill it quite to the top.
That’s probably more info than you needed to know, my dad is a retired chemist so we are very precise when brewing in his kitchen. I’m pretty lax when brewing in mine :)

Shae

Not at all! I was curious. I like to see what everyone else is doing.

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71

The first few tries to brew this ended up a bit weak, so I have used plenty of leaf to brew a pot today. There is a bit of astringent bitterness on the first sip, more so when it hasn’t cooled. I typical like piping hot tea, but this one it seems better to let it cool significantly. Dark chocolate and caramel notes linger when sipping a cooler cup. This is a decent example of Yunnan, but it seems a bit finicky to brew, so I won’t be restocking in my cupboard.

Flavors: Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Honey

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75

An Ode to Tea challenge – K

Had this a few days ago!  Another old tea – no note yet.  Thanks very much Meowster!   I don’t think I’ve ever had this type of tea before, from Korakundah Estate?  At least not knowingly. This is a BOP leaf (broken orange pekoe) so not the best quality of tea leaf.  But I’m not picky!  I agree entirely with Mastress Alita’s recent note (and only note for this tea from anyone so far.)  It’s funny we are both just NOW trying this tea from Meowster, but honestly, without the push of M A’s note, I probably wouldn’t have tried this yet.  It fits for ‘K’ though!  The flavor most reminds me of a Ceylon type of flavor if it was just slightly more complex.    The leaves are very tiny and choppy.  Not too dark, not too weak.  Malty, bready.  But I’m finding it hard to think of descriptors for these flavors!    But that’s a Ceylon type for me anyway. It’s a solid daily drinker.  I thought I let it steep too long on the second cup, but the flavor was fine. 
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for full mug // 21 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 3 minutes after boiling // 3-4 minute steep

Mastress Alita

I’m notorious for waiting years to get to swaps/teabox samples/cupboard sales… and pretty much all my other tea, too. sad

tea-sipper

I try to have any tea at least once as soon as I get it, to try it as fresh as I can! That doesn’t always happen though. Luckily I haven’t received much new tea in the last few months, especially to try to get to these stragglers.

Mastress Alita

I’ve stopped doing that since I figure if I keep the package air-sealed, it’ll have less flavor deterioration overall by the time I get around to it…

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69

This tea is just ok, the almond and vanilla work well together and there isn’t an artificial taste. I might try it next with a bit of sweetener to see if that brings out flavors. It’s quite smooth, can’t really distinguish the black base underneath the almond and vanilla. The second steep is much weaker than the first, not really worth drinking.

Flavors: Almond, Vanilla

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77

Nice smooth green tea. I’m not the biggest Green tea fan, but this is a nice tea. Not sharp or bitter at all.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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74

A nice smooth example of Yunnan without bitterness. I got a sample size in a recent order and brewed it a bit strong this morning. The second steeping is a bit weaker, but still has a nice dark chocolate aftertaste. Not a bad cup, but not my favorite Yunnan either. Don’t think I need this in my cupboard, but would be interested in blending it with a bit of Assam.

Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Nutty

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70

L is for… Lapsang Souchong Imperial.

Another gift from Michelle. I asked Michelle if she could send a bit of this one since I’ve had it on my wishlist to try, no doubt due to a fantastic note I read here on Steepster some time ago. I really enjoy smoked Lapsang Souchong, ever since I tried my very first one. I think it was a bagged Twinings. It tasted like bacon and I loved it.

This one smells very smoky right out of the bag – definitely campfire smoke. After steeping, I get more dirt/earth scent coming from the steeper. The flavor is lighter than I expected, but I followed the online instructions and used less leaf than I would have normally. Next time, I’ll try steeping with more. There is plenty left for me to play around with. Thanks, Michelle!

Flavors: Campfire, Dirt, Earth, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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74

Pulled this to replace a recent sipdown and serve as my Ode to Tea K entry! This tea was provided to me way back in 2018 from Meowster during a cupboard clearout, thank you!

Brewed 2.8g in 350ml 195F water with a 3 minute steep. Didn’t have any time to drink before work so I had to throw the tea in a thermos and jet off, and it is hard to smell much that far down the container (I didn’t even have time to brew a full thermos…) The only thing I can say for certain is “bready” until I’m able to make this tea at home, in a cup, with the proper time to drink it…

An hour later of my thermos sitting on my desk with the cap off and this is finally cool enough to drink (these Contigos don’t mess around). I’m getting a bit of malt, a wheat/rye baked bread, spices, a hint of smoke, and an indistant citrus note that leaves the tiniest tang at the end of the sip. Some sips are slightly grapey, others aren’t.

I have no idea how old this tea could possibly be by now (it could’ve already been quite old by the time Meowster de-stashed it, and I’ve added another three years onto that…) but this is perfectly servicable as a first-of-the-morning-hot-caffeine-infusion, despite the age.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Citrus, Malt, Muscatel, Rye, Smoke, Spices, Wheat

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
tea-sipper

I almost had this one a couple days ago, also from Meowster. I’ll keep it in mind for ‘K’.

Mastress Alita

I’m still working on the sipdown and drinking a cup right now (daily drinker until it’s gone!) For an Indian tea, it is reminding me a lot of the subtle smokiness of a Keemun.

tea-sipper

Looking forward to (finally, sigh) trying it!

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67
drank ZP101 by Upton Tea Imports
73 tasting notes

Medium Bodied tea, Medium broken leaf size, nothing too special to say about this one.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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64

I love coconut. This tea, while perfectly adequate, is insufficiently coconutty for my preferences. (Alas. My quest for the perfect – available! – coconut tea continues.) There is definitely some coconut in there; I could taste it. But it wasn’t sufficiently full-mouth-feel for me.

Like most Upton Teas, I had no problems with this one, and like most Upton Teas, it was sufficiently indistinguishable from other teas that I probably won’t buy it again. Nothing wrong with it, just not right for me. The quest continues.

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