Upton Tea Imports
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Recent Tasting Notes
I may need to try another cup of this one, before I write up a full tasting note… Today, the flavors seemed a little overwhelming, kind of sweet and artificial? I’m not sure. I don’t usually mind artificial flavors, so that seems odd. My taste buds were still waking up, so that could have been a factor. I noticed a lot of cinnamon (which tasted like cinnamon candies to me, and not like the plain spice, maybe because of the clove?). I tasted orange too, but it struck me as kind of syrupy. That said, this was still a tasty cup! It reminded me of Cinnamon Heart from David’sTEA, which I enjoy when I’m in the mood for it. I also like that they added vanilla. It made for a smoother tea, especially considering that this is a spice blend. I’ll have to try this one again!
Side note: This is my 50th tasting note. Hurray! :)
Whoa! I was not expecting this tea to have such a distinct lime scent. To me, it smells exactly like key lime pie, both the dry leaf and after it’s steeped. I’ve had Earl Greys with vanilla before, but I don’t remember them smelling quite like this. (I went and sniffed my sample of Adagio’s Earl Grey Moonlight, just to be sure… Yup, that one smells more like a traditional Earl Grey, with a very faint note of vanilla.) Maybe it’s an effect of the “cream flavor” Upton mentions on their site? It’s a delicious smell, though, so I’m not complaining!
Taste-wise, this is more what I expected… A bright black tea with mild astringency (Ceylon?), coupled with the crisp citrus of bergamot, and softened by cream/vanilla. I don’t find the cream flavor dominant, but it’s certainly present. It smooths out the citrus, and gives this tea a sweet aftertaste. (I also detect a bit of that “key lime” note in the aftertaste. Interesting!) Not my favorite Earl Grey with vanilla, but a pleasant blend worth sampling. If you like both Earl Grey and key lime pie, I would definitely recommend it!
I don’t know anything about pu-erh, but I like this one. The first few times I brewed according to the package: 5-7m, 212F. This made a dark, coffee-like cup that smelled like leaves and dirt in the fall, but in a good way. Even brewed this long, it wasn’t bitter or astringent.
Now I’m trying short steeps at lower temperature and it’s much better. Still the same basic earthy taste, much lighter though.
Flavors: Dirt, Wet Earth
This is one where my experience of the tea and the description don’t match at all, but I still really like it. Upton describes this with words like buttery, winey, and walnut. Nope, didn’t pick up on any of that. To me, it was classic smooth oolong with a lovely subtle sweetness. Not hit-you-over-the-head honey or shocking sugar, more like the sweetness you’d get from sucking on clover blossoms. I’ll be drinking this when curled up on my couch on weekend mornings.
This is a really long overdue backlog, I just came across my notes on this one and didn’t log it here. On the one occasion that i had this tea, I oversteeped it a tad and it was a little bitter. (Don’t oversteep it!) But, beyond the bitterness I could taste a robust, rich flavor with a fruity, wine-like note. This is one of those wine-y type Assam teas rather than a malty Assam. I did get some notes of malt but it’s not quite as malty as other Assam teas I’ve had.
A good Assam that would have been better if I hadn’t oversteeped it, I think. For that reason, I won’t rate it.
Of all the Upton black teas I sampled, this one stood out. It brews to be crystal clear, makes for an amazing iced tea. Refreshing, brisk, no bitter, lush. I actually bought it with the intentions of making Hong Kong milk tea, but brought it to work to drink up. This is my first Uva Ceylon, I am very interested in what else the area provides.
Lewis & Clark Traveling Teabox – Tea #4
A solid Moroccan mint! Very minty… almost so minty I can’t taste the smoky gunpowder but it is always a great combination. There are some refreshing and sweet qualities too. This is one of the better I’ve tried. I should have saved this one for a headache!
Steep #1 // 30 min after boiling // 4 min
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.