Upton Tea Imports

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Recent Tasting Notes

65

Nothing special. It doesn’t have any of the chocolatey hints you’d normally get in a Yunnan, just a generic “black tea” taste. Just something I’d drink when I don’t want to use any of my Black Snail or a flavored tea.

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84

Very even, short, finely twisted wiry strands of tea – since I’m using my black Korean strainer cup, these are the only appearance remarks I’ll bother with for now.

The aroma of the dry leaf has a pronounced sweetness suggesting orange blossoms, vanilla, and rosewater. There are some subtler spice notes as well, hinting at pipe tobacco or even nutmeg. Unique and inviting.

Aromas largely dissipate in the infusion, though their signature remains coherent.

The flavor is very smooth, faintly malty; clean, yet rich. Arguably the platonic ideal of a Medarata Ceylon, where you get a wonderful natural balance between the nuance of Udarata teas and the strength of Pahatha teas. Slightly tannic woodsy finish.

Fairly creamy mouth-feel, this would likely take a splash of milk, and isn’t subject to excessive bitterness when brewed for longer than recommended. In my strainer cup, it yields at least two solid re-infusions when I increased the brew time by a minute each time.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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75

Nutty taste with some spiciness to it. A pleasant morning tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Malty taste without anything else of note. I have always wanted to try Japanese non-green teas, so at least I’ve got that done.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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83

Brewed in my Korean infuser cup, roughly following the directions from Upton.

Auburn liquor has a delicate fall aroma, though I struggle to pick out individual scents. The flavors are likewise subdued – with vague river-stone and floral notes – though the finish is distinctly nutty, bringing to mind walnuts, apricot pits, almonds, or pecans. Muscatel presence throughout reminds you this is indeed a Darjeeling. Velvety mouth-feel, with just enough astringency to dry out the finish (though I’m not sure I’d call this a “brisk” tea).

While this has the delicacy I’d expect from a first flush, it is interesting to note how different in appearance it is, not only to other AV-2 clonal teas, but even to previous incarnations of Castleton Moonlight (e.g. the 2014 first flush, available from JAS-eTea, which is substantially greener).

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Made at work, boiled water in microwave. 8 oz water, 1 tsp of tea, 3.5 min brew.

At first I really enjoyed this tea. Had a malty, cocoa-ish vanilla thing going on. Tasted comforting, which is what I’m looking for in tea! Then it started to either become kind of astringent tasting, or I started picking up on the mineral flavor that’s listed as one of it’s flavors on its Steepster page. I don’t think I’m capable of telling the difference between those yet.

Second steep I boiled water in the microwave again, then brewed for 4.5 minutes. I’m getting more of the astringent flavor.

I don’t want to count this tea out because I liked it so much at first taste, and my work set up is pretty crappy. I think I’ll bring it home and use with better water boiled in an actual kettle and see how that goes!

Flavors: Astringent, Cocoa, Malt, Mineral, Vanilla

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Rufus

Try steeping it less for the first time (2 1/2-3 minutes) and go longer from there. Black teas are tricky, I’ve discovered, so I usually start with a shorter steeping time, and slowly increase the time with every steep afterwards. I hope that it tastes better when you’re able to boil the water more properly!

azurephoenix

I’m getting the idea that you and I sorta like the same kind of tea for work… I just picked up some Golden Spiral Dian Hong from King Tea Bay on ebay that is hitting my sweet spot. PM me your mailing addy and I’ll send ya a sample. It’s really nice and re-steeps well. :D

ekm0924

Thanks for the tip Rufus!

Azurephoenix — I will PM you :)

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I’ve had this the last several mornings. I like it, but nothing about it leaps out to me. Yesterday I used 1.5 tsp with a 4 min steep and felt like it ended up a bit astringent. Today I used 1 tsp with a 4 min steep and was much happier with it. For a second steep I did 5 min, which I think I would increase to 5.5 or 6 min next time.

Flavors: Malt

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Hmm, I don’t think I like this one. It’s very smokey for me and that’s not really my thing.

Flavors: Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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60

I have been trying to find a loose-leaf version of Constant Comment that isn’t ACTUALLY Constant Comment.

This isn’t it, but it’s close.

It’s a little too heavy on the orange, tipping into the range where I can taste that it’s been added in artificially. It’s also missing the blend of spices I prefer, hitting clove and mostly leaving out nutmeg or cinnamon. Milk definitely helps with this one but it’s not one I’ll be getting again.

Flavors: Clove, Orange

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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85

I have enjoyed Earl Grey for years. For ages, I would take it ‘british’, with ample sugar and cream. Once I started traveling more often, I started seeking a way to keep the soft creme notes in the tea without having to actually keep dairy around since it was getting very wasteful.

This tea is, by far, the best way to enjoy that same sort of flavor without needing creamer of any type.

Flavors: Bergamot, Cream, Vanilla

Preparation
3 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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66

Upton included a free sample of this with an order that was given to me as a Christmas gift. As others who have reviewed it have noted, the strong scent and dark color of this tea left me surprised at its mild flavor. For me, that was a good thing—I’m not a big fan of strong black teas. Nonetheless, although it was enjoyable enough, there was nothing about this tea that would compel me to want to buy it. In the past, I have been able to significantly improve my ratings of some black teas by adjusting steeping time and/or temperature. In this particular case, I feel like I hit a decent balance in the first steeping, and there’s probably not much I can do to extract more flavor without making the result overly astringent.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 5 tsp 24 OZ / 709 ML

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100

A favorite, go-to tea. Brewed strong with milk and sugar.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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95

Lovely greenish-yellow infusion, bears repeated steepings becoming buttery by about the third steeping.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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33

Meh. Nice enough flavor but not very strong. Doesn’t hold up well to milk.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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100

I sometimes add a bit of Assam along with it. Towards the end of the package I sometimes need to supplement with additional cardamon pods. A great favorite. I brew it with sugar in the pot and add milk generously.

Flavors: Cardamon, Chocolate

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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90

Makes a nice cup plain or with milk and sugar.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp

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I made this twice this morning. The first time I messed it up big time. Too much tea, too long of a steep, regular ole tap water (I had just woken up and was stupid). It was extremely bitter. D’oh. Re-made according to Upton’s directions and liked it quite a bit. I still picked up on a slightly bitter aftertaste, but I felt that it actually became less bitter as it cooled, which sounds like it might be unusual?

Made with Crystal Geyser water in a Bodum Tea for One. Added half and half.

Flavors: Malt

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Rufus

I think everyone makes the common mistake of leaving a tea for too long, or using bad water. I once left an oolong tea sit for 30 minutes before remembering that I had started it. It was horrid. Now, I usually will stand by the tea while it steeps, just to be safe.

Rasseru

Tea does get sweeter when it cools – I like making lots of mine at 80-90c and letting them cool to at least 70c (five minutes?) before I drink as I like sweet tea, but no sugar.

ekm0924

I like it sweeter but with no sugar as well. Do you know why it gets sweeter as it cools?

Rasseru

it might just be our taste buds? – tasting something thats hot in temp kinda has less flavour doesnt it

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Really enjoying this. I made it the other day at work and felt it was meh, but today I actually took the temperature of the water coming out of our ‘boiling’ water spigot and discovered it’s only getting up to 160 degrees. So I stuck my mug in the microwave to get to around 212, which took much longer than I would have thought. I think I will get a cheap kettle for work.

Edit: I made this in the For Life tea infuser that came in my Whispering Pines set and lots of bits got into the actual tea. Should I not make a non-leafy tea like this in an infuser? What do people use for making this kind of tea?

Rufus

I would use two things: 1. Gaiwan (if you have one) for home, but be sure to use it over a sink or a tea tray. 2. An adagio tea maker. They’re $18 on Amazon, which is a nice price. Both will allow for the leaves to expand during the steep time, and you’ll get more flavor that way.

Rufus

Correction: Due to the inability to read correctly, the Gaiwan wouldn’t work for a smaller leaf; however, the tea maker is just fine.

ekm0924

Hi Rufus, is this the tea maker you’re talking about? It looks awesome.
http://www.adagio.com/teaware/ingenuiTEA_teapot.html

I was also thinking a fine mesh infuser might work better. That’s what I have at home — I have the Bodum Tea for One set. At work I just have the For Life. Seems like the Bodum one would be better for the smaller leaf tea.

Rufus

Yes, that’s the one. It works well with smaller and larger tea leaves. I find that it helps bring out the flavor more. I use it for my Broken Assam tea by New Mexico Tea Company or with any other small tea leaves. It seems to work well with not having the leaves come through the filter; however, Bodum infusers are great, too!

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50

I abuse tea… I have to come to grips with that. Especially work tea, so work tea has special requirements that need to be meet.

1. Must be hardy and not get astringent with over brewing – a common occurrence
2. Must be drinkable hot all the way to room temp/cold (as it cools in the cup)

So first off.. I over brewed this while emailing. oops? It’s not too bitter, yay! Chocolate, tobacco, nice solid cup with a brightness to it… unfortunately, as it cooled, the brightness turned sour. I will have to taste this again when I can be fair and pay more attn to the brew times, but unfortunately for work this one won’t do. I’ll stick with my Upton Hunan Mao Feng which was restocked after I picked up this sample.

Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Sour, Tobacco

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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