Upton Tea Imports

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Recent Tasting Notes

82

Fruity, tart, citrusy; a nice uncaffeinated change of pace.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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81

Similar in flavor to Teavana’s Indonesian Gold. Just a solid mid bodied black tea. Perfect for a cup in the morning.

Flavors: Malty, Nutty, Wet Earth

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100

Our go-to for morning tea with milk. This is a nice strong black tea blend, but a bit more rounded in flavor than a CTC Assam.

We tend to steep it pretty close to instructions: 1 Tablespoon per 18-oz teapot, 4 minutes. Do not oversteep (more than 5 minutes).

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML

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71

I am somewhat disappointed with this tea. I typically enjoy black/red teas very much, but Ceylon Kandy Silver Tip is an exception. Having tried to enjoy this tea multiple times, I admit my pursuit was not worthwhile.

Once the leaves were wet and hot, they exuded an indulgent, malty, mushroomy aroma. The first steep was acceptable: thick, full-bodied, and cozy with earthy flavors similar to the aromas. But each subsequent infusion became more bitter and dry, with an ever-increasing soaplike prickle on the back of the tongue. The maltiness and earth notes slowly waned throughout while the unpleasant sharpness heightened. The tannins in this tea seemed extremely sensitive and would dominate the tasting experience no matter how gentle my preparation was.

This tea was far better than nothing, but I would not intentionally return to it.

Flavors: Bitter, Earth, Malt, Mushrooms, Squash, Tannic, Yeasty

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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76

Sipdown that I never reviewed. The best oolong I had from Upton, though I won’t order from them again. This was nice grandpa style at work, but the fact I took it to work in the first place means I wasn’t much impressed. Still — drinkable and I did have a brief pleasure-pause moment with this one.

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82

This black (or rather, red) tea is hearty and entrancing. The dry leaf smells of dark chocolate, toasted wood, and cooked sugar (like dark caramel or toffee). I found the wet leaf aroma depends mainly on the water temperature. Boiling water draws a pungent fragrance delightfully suggestive of soy sauce. Slightly cooler water (approx. 95°C) yields earthier, woodier notes.

I have prepared this tea in both Western and gongfu styles. Western-style preparation gives a mahogany brew with prominent notes of smoke and balsamic vinegar. With this tea, I obtain four solid infusions with Western brewing parameters (1 tsp leaf per 6 oz boiling water). The first two steeps are robust and mildly astringent, while the last two tend to be more subtle and earthy with mustier forest flavors.

Gongfu brewing produces fuller smoke and dried fruit notes in the first 2-3 infusions. Later steeps unfold into toasted nuts and woodchips with hints of dark chocolate. 75 mL of boiling water with 5g of leaf provided 9-11 substantial infusions with brewing times of 10, 15, 21, 28, 38, 53 seconds, etc.

This is one of my favorite teas to enjoy after an evening meal. Additionally, it blends very well with cream and would probably make an excellent bubble tea base.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Dark Chocolate, Oak, Raisins, Smoke, Soy Sauce, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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83

This black (or rather, red) tea is hearty and entrancing. The dry leaf smells of dark chocolate, toasted wood, and cooked sugar (like dark caramel or toffee). I found the wet leaf aroma depends mainly on the water temperature. Boiling water draws a pungent fragrance delightfully suggestive of soy sauce. Slightly cooler water (approx. 95°C) yields earthier, woodier notes.

I have prepared this tea in both Western and gongfu styles. Western-style preparation gives a mahogany brew with prominent notes of smoke and balsamic vinegar. With this tea, I obtain four solid infusions with Western brewing parameters (1 tsp leaf per 6 oz boiling water). The first two steeps are robust and mildly astringent, while the last two tend to be more subtle and earthy with mustier forest flavors.

Gongfu brewing produces fuller smoke and dried fruit notes in the first 2-3 infusions. Later steeps unfold into toasted nuts and woodchips with hints of dark chocolate. 75 mL of boiling water with 5g of leaf provided 9-11 substantial infusions with brewing times of 10, 15, 21, 28, 38, 53 seconds, etc.

This is one of my favorite teas to enjoy after an evening meal. Additionally, it blends very well with cream and would probably make an excellent bubble tea base.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Dark Chocolate, Oak, Raisins, Smoke, Soy Sauce, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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80

This was an unexpected tasting packet that came with an order I made ages ago, and it sat on my shelf, unnoticed for a while. I grabbed it for a quick trip since it was sealed and could be trusted not to spew leaves inside my backpack, and brewed it up when I figured I had time to brew a different pot if I didn’t like it.

Pleasant surprise – I liked it quite a bit! I don’t usually go for smoky teas, so it was lovely to find one where the smoke was there as a pleasant accent instead of being the entire point. It also had a nose of slightly caramel scent to me.

Like most of my teas, I did not brew at 212F/100C – much too easy to stew at that temperature – but instead at 185F or so. Dash of milk, and I’m good to go.

Our tea cabinet is too full right now, but hopefully sometime soon we’ll get space and I can pick up more of this one.

Flavors: Caramel, Smoke, Tea

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83
2023 Ode To Tea – Part II – C

I almost used the Cherry Bakewell tea earlier for ‘C’ but that was for another prompt and IMO would be cheating. Since I have a billion ‘C’ teas, I found another for the alphabet challenge. This was a solid black tea!
2023 sipdowns: 59

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83

This was from Meowster a while ago — thanks! I have almost finished with the leaves but have not yet written a note. The leaves are smallish and most remind me of keemun — the flavor is like keemun too. All those keemun qualities. It’s a rich, satisfying cup. Overall, a Good Black Tea. It might even be a better tea that I have tried from Upton? But I have only had a handful of Upton teas. Always meant to order from them, but other orders are usually happening instead.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // 24 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3-4 minute steep

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79

Beautiful smell to the leaves, but the flavor is not quite as complex as I would like.

Low astringency.

I feel like this tea would probably be amenable to cold brewing, but I do not care to order more to try it honestly.

Dry leaf: chocolate, malt.
Wet leaf: same.
Flavors: honey, sweet, hazelnut, bitter.

Flavors: Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut, Honey, Malt

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77

Not a bad tea. My first TGY. I have tried the sample twice and dont feel like the tea tasted the same each time, but perhaps that is just my memory.

Dry leaf: smoky, floral.
Wet leaf: malty, smoky.
Taste: floral, smoky, bitter.

Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Malt, Smoke

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83

Smooth tea with a bit of bitterness starting at the third infusion. Very nice smell and flavor throughout. Medium-thick mouthfeel to first infusion.

Dry leaf: Floral.
Wet leaf: Earth, floral, wood.
Flavor: Floral, honey, citrus.

Flavors: Citrus, Earth, Flowers, Honey, Wood

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72

This has been my favorite tea from Upton so far. I wasn’t expecting much based on the smell of the dry leaves — very similar to the China Oolong Se Chung I had right before it. A little cardboardy and stale, if I’m honest.

But woooo… first steep was a little longer than is typical for me — maybe 15-20 seconds (how I so frequently forget to pour the tea after pouring the water is one of life’s great mysteries). But WOW, it was perfect straightaway. Cocoa right out front, with grandpa’s smoky basement fireplace right behind. Then Christmas plum pudding across the room — dark spicy dough, raisins, brandy. It was every piece of memory from that paneled Ohio basement that I could hope for.

The charcoal roast is VERY prominent, and while I appreciate a roast that disappears into the melange, this one held a really special gift and I wouldn’t want one less iota of smoke and dank than it brought me.

This explosion of nostalgia and complexity didn’t last terribly long — even by my second pour (which I think would normally have been my third, in terms of steep time) it was starting to fade. Still — some nice little cups that trickled out, and I look forward to drinking this one again. Happy to have found it.

Flavors: Allspice, Brandy, Cocoa, Dried Fruit, Fireplace, Molasses, Raisins, Wet Rocks

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60

Toted this along when I got sent out from my usual assignment at work and didn’t have the luxury of my little cabinet to choose from all day. Brewed grandpa style several times throughout the day… and night, much to my chagrin. Sadly, I can’t recommend repeating my technique. Every first steep was astringent and nothing else, and subsequent fills were somewhere between boring and tasteless. I’ll limit this one to proper western steeps from now on, I think.

Flavors: Astringent

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60

I dunno… I think these Upton teas are mostly stale or just not very good. Every time I look at them, I have no memories of any distinction between them. I wanted an easy western brew after dinner last night, and this tasted like Lipton tried something new (sure, let’s say oolong). It’s fine to drink, not repulsive, but there’s one note and it’s not terribly interesting. I’ll take these to work… a pined-over, ugh-finally sip always tastes better than it has any right to, I think.

Lowering my rating, as I think I was trying too hard to throw it a bone.

Flavors: Cardboard, Dry Leaves

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60

My second Upton tea. This is so different from other oolongs I’ve had; there is a sort of flat and familiar feel to it. I don’t necessarily mean this in a bad way — there is something comforting there — in the way my grandparents’ weakly-brewed Folgers coffee was comforting. Simple, predictable, reliable. It actually reminded me a LOT of Eden Organic’s Hojicha, which I used to drink all the time and had quite forgotten about until I took a sip of this today.

The note that struck me most was a distinctly dry-leaves-and-twigs taste, versus the wet-leaves taste that I feel is a lot more common in the teas I’ve been drinking lately. The third and fourth steeps opened up to more astringency. This is big, dry, crackly autumn days; radiator heat and static electricity hair.

I moved on to the roasted version immediately after, so I’ll get that note knocked out now, too.

Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Dry Leaves, Twigs

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76

My first order from Upton’s. Interested to see how I feel about the teas. They seem perhaps a bit less fussy in terms of descriptions, and I like fussy… but that’s just a first impression. This first order (just a Darjeeling and their oolong sampler) will probably dictate whether I order from them again or not. This was a late-night impulse buy when I realized my What-Cha order was stuck in the British post due to some nefarious cyber activity. The stateside quick shipping from Upton is definitely appealing.

The first couple steeps of this Darjeeling were all peach pit — light wood with some nice stone fruit stuck around the edges. A glorious whiff of cotton candy at the bottom of the second cup. Some tanginess.

I picked up some camphor in the third or fourth steep, which is where the fruit started dropping off as well. I don’t love that menthol/camphor thing that some teas have, I’m learning. It can be interesting, but makes my stomach feel empty and sort of bashes everything else out of the way. Tanginess stuck around with some tannins throughout further steeps — reminded me of a refreshing and simple iced tea profile.

Darjeeling was one of the first tea types I realized I enjoyed way back when. I may brew the last few grams of this western style and see how all these layers sit on top of one another. Probably not a reorder for me, but an enjoyable session here.

Flavors: Camphor, Peach, Tangy, Tannic, Woody

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75

The coconut aroma is quite strong, but the flavor is very subtle, and somewhat overwhelmed by the rather grassy taste of the green. Unlike many green teas, I find that I’m OK with this one in the winter, although I don’t usually keep it in the house. I wish I could make it slightly more coconutty, but it’s perfectly serviceable as is.

Flavors: Coconut, Grass

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74

Steeped up a whole pot of this to watch the world cup this morning, and then did a second steep for extra time. Was a good tea to drink for a serious and competitive game with hints of copper and malt, with just a little astringency at the end to let you know this is an Awesome tea. My favorite Upton assam is their ctc which brews up super quick without being bitter. This one comes in as a close second and I’d add this to a purchase.

Flavors: Astringent, Malty, Metallic

Nattie

Ah, a fellow football-watcher! There aren’t many of us in these parts.

Michelle

Hope you enjoyed the game too with a cuppa.

Nattie

I did indeed. (:

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