Upton Tea Imports
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Recent Tasting Notes
Another black tea for me this morning! :D This one came from KiwiDelight. I haven’t had many broken-leaf teas, so I’m not sure what to expect here aside from strength of flavor. The leaves are very broken and dark chocolate brown in color. They smell of malt and wood with a slight sweetness. I followed Kiwi’s instructions and did a 1 minute steep.
The brewed aroma is rather sweet and strong with lots of malt and wood. Oops, I accidentally dipped my nose in it… XD The taste is pretty much the same as the aroma. It has a strong woody presence, and the sweetness really marries well with it (sounds weird, but it’s good). There’s some malt in the background, and a slight bit of astringency. Overall, a simple tea but a nice one.
Flavors: Astringent, Malt, Sweet, Wood
Woo, it’s been a while since I’ve had Bai Hao! The lovely Blodeuyn was kind enough to sent me not one, but two different ones, and I am eternally grateful! I picked this one to try first for no particular reason. The leaves have the usual ramshackle appearance, a variety of shapes and sizes in different shades of brown with some silver highlights. Dry scent is sweet honey with autumn leaves and unlit tobacco. I steeped mine for 3.5 minutes at 185 degrees.
Mm, the brewed aroma has super strong honey notes along with the leaves and tobacco from the dry leaf. There are also sweet dried fruits, I would say fig and date. Yum yum, I forgot how good these teas are! It’s funny how I’m so indifferent about almost all types of oolong, yet this particular type is one of my favorite teas period. This tea is lovely and sweet honey paired with tobacco and autumn leaves, along with an amazing dried fig flavor that makes my mouth very happy. I would also say there’s molasses and maybe some raisin here. So good! :D
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Fig, Grain, Honey, Molasses, Raisins, Sweet, Tobacco
I wasn’t expecting much from this tea as I had given up on super high quality from this vendor. And while this is nothing special, it’s also not bad.
It’s light with a light smokiness. Barely there smokey. I get a bit of tobacco and sweet prunes. Astringency is there waiting for a moment of forgetfulness to ruin your cup. It’s not really my style, but it’s not offensive either. I’m quite liking the sweetness actually.
Slightly odd raspberry aroma; a bit medicine-y. Good flavor, again not a strong fruity flavor, but hints of raspberry lingered. Cream did not overwhelm, and added a creaminess that made this a good dessert tea. Definitely not to be oversteeped; be careful with steeping time.
Flavors: Fruity, Raspberry
This tea has a deep cherry aroma – a very dense, deep wild cherry aroma, almost woodsy. Once brewed, the cherry flavor is light and subtle, almost an aftertaste that linger. The addition of cream and sugar add tasting notes of cherry vanilla. Initially the aroma reminded me of cough syrup, but I rather enjoyed the cherry aroma after smelling it a few more times, focusing on its depth.
Flavors: Cherry, Fruity, Wood
There’s been a lot of discussion about Darjeeling teas this week, so I decided to hunt through my stash for some Darjeelings. This is a sample I bought last Fall but hadn’t opened yet.
The tea changed character significantly during my tasting. It started out rather “closed-in,” hinting of power and depth but with little flavor in the mouth. The aroma and flavor had notes of cherry along with herbal flavors. As the tea cooled it became fuller, with the herbal flavors dominating. Good, long finish was occasionally slightly bitter, but overall a positive experience. After about 10 minutes, the tea was lukewarm, but very full and pleasant with a very powerful finish.
I enjoyed this tea. It wasn’t dramatic, but was a pleasant way to spend a few minutes in the morning. I decided to punt on the recommendation: the tea was very good, but I know of many other equally fine teas a lower prices.
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
I have not missed waking up at 6 am every morning, but my kids go back to school today which means I go back to my early-to-bed-early-to-rise schedule. sigh Summer, I miss you already.
Well, if i have to be awake then this is a great tea to have in my cup. This one came to me from Dinosara via a swap on Ravelry. I’m surprised I haven’t logged it before because my bag is almost empty. The is wonderfully sweet and smokey. The LS is lighty done, so even though there is smoke it doesn’t overwhelm the Darjeeling or the Keemun . I like the floral note here, and I think both the Darkeeling and the Keemun lend a wine-y asspect to the tea that is so good.
I’ll definitely pick up more of this once my little pouch is empty, but I still have a little of this one left. That means this isn’t a sipdown, but it is still progress. Yummy, yummy progress.
September Sipdowns: 6
I bought this thinking it would make for a nice, brisk black tea in the morning. It’s far too astringent for my taste. I brewed it 3-4 minutes, and still bitter with no other notes to make it drinkable for me. It is bland, like the other reviewer mentioned.
“The aroma of the dry leaves was fruity and to me almost a white peppery scent. After brewing, the flavors were so awesome. I felt as though I was drinking champagne with nuts saute in butter. A very buttery taste on each sip. Loved every cup and wanted to steep more. AWESOME!”
Flavors: Butter, Champagne, Fruity, Pepper
Brewed in a shudei kyusu. Steeping times: 1 min, 1 min, 2 min, 2min
The delicate dry leaf aroma smells of seaweed and snow peas, while the wet leaf aroma is more punchy, with notes of squash, pumpkin, and zucchini. Dark green leaf bits drift in the electric green liquor. The first infusion is thin, very sweet and gentle, light on the tongue and stomach. Fruity aftertaste, cherries or mango. The infusions thereafter are richer, having a thicker texture and yielding bold vegetal flavors similar to those in the wet leaf aroma. Aftertaste is hay-like, freshly cut and dewy grass.
This is my first shincha, so I have no idea as to how it compared with others, but I think it is delicious. It was a change from the usual Japanese greens I’ve had.
I enjoyed this breakfast blend. There is a smokiness from the yunnan that threatens to overtake it at times but in the end feels well balanced by the other teas in the blend. It is definitely a tea you want to make sure you don’t oversteep.
Tea #1 from the (Mostly) Unflavored TTB.
So since I’m under a self ban from going/walking anywhere (I strained a thigh muscle at work the other day when a dolly stacked with boxes overbalanced and tried to squash me, then made my calf hurt when I limped on it all day at work the next day) I’m laid up with my leg on a heating pad (Which hopefully will help even though it’s the day after it happened). I figured I’ll try to get through some of the teas I pulled (which is a big pile) and grabbed this one first.
Lately I’ve been getting more into Keemuns in general where I used to be more into Yunnans. Yay for liking new things and blah for phasing out of things I used to like.
So this is smooth with just a faint bit of smoke/wood within the sip. Very pleasant. It’s also just a bit sweet by itself with just a slight edge of something possibly bitter (though a smidge of truvia took care of that). Honestly this was a very nice tea even without the bit of truvia and I think I could drink this one either way. It even stands up nicely sitting on my cup warmer for the last hour while I’ve been Rifting on D3 with my Mom. Though it has gotten the slightest bit astringent during. But nothing that I’m not willing to drink through since the tea is still tasty.
Now I’m not sure I’d make an order specifically for it, but if I was already ordering from Upton I’d likely toss this into my cart. It depends on the state of my cupboard at that time.
But a very nice tea indeed.
This Oolong reminds me of the very first Oolong I ever tasted. Sweet, peach-like, earthy, nutty with a nice roasted note, and buttery. Later infusions allowed for the peach notes to emerge stronger and the flavor was smoother. Less earthy as I continued to steep. Some citrus notes also began to emerge in the later infusions.
Overall, a really pleasant Oolong.
I’ve had this in a sample size for almost a year, almost forgot about it, then found it a couple days ago and tried it. The thing I like about this chai is I can actually taste the base tea in it ,and not just spice. As for the spices, they are balanced pretty well. I made one of my better chai lattes thus far with this.
This sample came from KiwiDelight. I’m sorry I took so long to try it, Kiwi! I didn’t mean to! :P I wasn’t a huge fan of the other gyokuro I tried, so I kind of avoided this one. But now that I’m trying to sip a bunch of teas down, all bets are off! The leaves are very dark green and look similar to sencha, maybe a little thinner. Dry scent is spinach and slightly sweet. I did a 2 minute steep at 175 degrees, just because I said so. Lol.
This is actually quite tasty. Gyokuro kind of seems like a more concentrated version of sencha to me. It’s very intense spinach flavor with some sweetness, but there’s something about it that seems almost savory as well. It’s smooth and buttery, and reminds me of pureed butternut squash. Not something I would keep stocked, because I think I prefer sencha, but I’m glad I tried it!
Flavors: Butter, Butternut Squash, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal
I kept a tsp of this back from the Educational TTB2 and am finally getting around to trying it. The only other Keemun I can remember trying is Teavivre’s Organic Superfine Fragrant Keemun. This is waaay different, and I have to say that I prefer the Teavivre one. I’m not getting any of the chocolate notes I got with that one, although the earthiness is comparable. I am, however, getting full on mushroom from this tea. I’ve never had a tea with mushroom notes, but I actually kinda like it. Also, thankfully the smoke beast is absent.
Disclaimer about this note: This tea may have been brewed weird. I don’t know the temperature of the water because when I went to make it, I discovered that my kettle that I keep at work was gone. Not cool. I kept it in the common area for everyone to use and now it’s missing. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS. Anyway, so the water temp may have been off so I won’t rate it.
The most impressive thing about this tea is how the leaves transform from flaky and smelling of hay when dry to a bright green with bread dough odor when wet. The pale yellow brew has a bit of citrus and a bit of hay, but not much finish at all. Overall, it’s not wowing me, but worth another cup. I did a Western steep per Upton’s suggestion; not sure if shorter, more concentrated steeps in a gaiwan would make a difference.
Flavors: Citrus, Hay
I came across this tea as I was sorting through my stash. It’s nice. Top notes of smoke, these are the flavors that cross my palate first but they aren’t overwhelming, and soon they make way for notes of chocolate and caramel.
I find this tea to be much more to my liking than a stronger smoky tea like a lapsang. The amount of smoke here is nice – not too strong, but not too wimpy either. It gives this tea character.
I like this.