Upton Tea Imports

Edit Company

Recent Tasting Notes

90

This was a surprisingly good white tea! Far more body than I ever would have expected in a white tea with pronounce peach flavor. The aroma is a wonderful, gentle floral and fruit combination. So good! This is the first time I’ve ever come across a white tea I want to keep in stock at home.

Flavors: Apple, Peach

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

90

I’ve only tried 2 or 3 Tie-Guan-Yins and this one is by far my favorite. As long as you don’t oversteep this tea it has no bitterness though it does have a sort or astringent/dry finish that you’d experience with red wine. There is a pronounce woodsy caramel note to this tea, but I usually can’t steep it more than 4 or 5 times as the flavor has faded too much by then. Brewed in a 250cc Hei Liao YiXing teapot.

Flavors: Caramel, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

88

One of my first oolongs, this is a darkly roasted tieguanyin a very traditional and classic oolong but with a strong nutty kick. Perhaps not Upton’s highest grade of tieguanyin, and perhaps it wouldn’t satisfy some of the most pretentious tea masters of the world but for the incredibly cheap price and great taste this tea is absolutely worth it.

The pricing like all of Upton’s wares are incredible. I stocked up with as much as I could once it came back in season and have been making it gongfu whenever possible. Always left me satisfied.

Flavors: Nutty, Stonefruits

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

This is a backlog. I wrote down some notes on an index card the first time I tried it. I just found the card and thought that it would only be fair to include the notes. I steeped it in a Gaiwan. I didn’t write down quantity, temp or time. It was bitter the whole way throughout. There was a celery/cilantro/burnt flavor that I didn’t find desirable in the first steeps. When the flavor was pretty much dead there was some caramel and smoothness to it. Certainly less one dimensional sounding than my other tasting note. At the time I remember it not being complex, and not liking it, which is weird given what I wrote about it. Go figure.

CWarren

Do you ever find that Upton can be a real hit or miss? It’s been rare for me to be totally blown away by one of their teas. Glad to see you backlog. I’ve been tempted to do that too with old notes though my tastes have changed considerably since then.

Tea and Cheese Lover

I only got from them because there were some rave reviews about their Rooibos. The Rooibos wasn’t bad but Premium Steap’s (my local shop) was better for me. I figured I might as well get a bunch of samples while I was at it… Darjeelings (apparently they’re very strong there), some oddball black and green, and herbal. My experience is the same as yours so far. I haven’t been blown away by anything. I still samples left to try, so who knows, one of them may be great.

CWarren

Darjeeling is what everyone says they are best for but I’ve yet to purchase any from them. Be interested to read your impressions.

Whiteantlers

Upton has not impressed me with anything so far. I was on a ’builder’s tea’ kick not so long ago and got close to a dozen samples so I could get my fill of the malty brutes. Nothing was really bad, nothing was particularly good and a lot of things tasted very much the same. I think one gets lulled by the low prices of samples which usually range from $1 to $3.50 for an envelope that can afford quite a few steeps, should you have sufficient interest in going back to re-brewing your sample.

Tea and Cheese Lover

@CWarren: I’m very inexperienced with Darjeeling, so you’ll have to take my tasting notes on them with a grain of salt. Since my local shop is extremely consistent with quality, I’ll get a couple from there for comparison.
@Whiteantlers: Exactly what you said about the samples is what lured me in.

Whiteantlers

Me too, @Tea and Cheese Lover. I am hankering to put in an order with Premuium Steap. I was told the bricks and mortar store is closed but I have drooled over the website.

Tea and Cheese Lover

@Whiteantlers: Their old storefront is closed, but they have office space in Chinatown (13th between Race and Vine) which they have pretty much set up like the shop. WAY more selection available than they have online, especially with the harder to get teas.
“Our office location 211 N. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone 215-568-2920”
They’re generally there from 12-5 M-F. Call ahead, because there’s a good chance that they’re there longer hours on some days. It’s nice to be able to smell them in person and be guided by someone who knows the teas well. The owner is very straight to the point and knows her stuff. Very Philly!

Whiteantlers

Excellent! Nothing like being up close and personal with the product. I always love an excuse to hop on the #9 bus. I’ve read Yelp reviews saying the owner is not a hand holder or warm and cuddly, but neither am I, so I’m sure she’s a wonderful tea guide.

R.F. Hill

Looks like a need to take a trip to Philly!

Whiteantlers

Everyone needs to take a trip to Philly! :-D

R.F. Hill

I have week off in August, I might make an excuse to explore the city. I’ve been to Philadelphia once when I was younger. I think a historic place such as Philly would be good to write in. :)

Whiteantlers

That is probably one of the hottest and most humid months of the summer, but you can visit E.A. Poe’s house, Old City, great beer gardens and floating parks-well, I am biased. This is my home and I love nearly everything about it.

R.F. Hill

Sounds splendid! :)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

I got some samples from Upton and couldn’t resist a black Japanese tea, I never knew such a thing existed. I’m expecting some unique new flavors but no dice. It was a standard black, nothing special. I love tea, so I enjoyed it like I would just about any tea. It pretty much just had a “black tea” flavor. It would make a pretty good iced tea, too. I guess that would be malty. It’s not incredibly expensive but not a bargain either. For the price, there are other teas that are far more complex and interesting. If you can get it for cheap I would recommend it, but unless the yen crashes I doubt that will happen with any Japanese tea.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 45 sec 4 g 15 OZ / 443 ML
Whiteantlers

Thanks; you saved me from buying this. I had it earmarked for my next sample buy because it looked intriguing.

Tea and Cheese Lover

No problem. I think I have about 1 or 2 grams of it left if you’re curious and want to do a super mini steep.

Whiteantlers

Oh. Sure! I’ll PM you. Thanks.

CWarren

Yuuki Cha has some incredible Japanese Blacks. Organic Makurazaki Black Tea Hime Momiji is one of my favorites. I’m a big fan of all their teas to be honest. The oolongs are worth a try as well.

Whiteantlers

Thanks @CWarren. I have bookmarked them as well as the Hime Momiji.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

I’ll do a full tasting note of this later. Just a few thoughts. I got this as a sample from Upton when I was getting some herbals from them. I’ve never done too much with Darjeeling, was curious and they had a lot of them, so I got a few samples.
There was a definite grape must/wine flavor to it, a medium-high amount of bitterness, medium thickness body. Other flavors in there but I drank it a couple hours ago and didn’t get a work break until now, so I forgot them. I enjoyed it. I just steeped up a small amount. About 3g in a 110ml gaiwan and wasn’t filling it all the way for a lot of the steeps (8, I think) steeps lasting between 5 and 45 seconds, temp 180F.
The tea says FTGFOP1 but I couldn’t find one full leaf in there, so that designation shouldn’t be on there. FTGBOP would have been more appropriate. If it is the last of their stock and all that is left on the bottom is broken leaf that should be accounted for in the description. Maybe this is something that is normal with Darjeeling but I was certainly surprised by it. I only spent a few bucks on the sample, so not that big of a deal financially, but I’d really like to know what the tea is like full leaf. I’m guessing less bitterness, which would let more of the flavor shine through, different body, thinner? thicker?

I’d be curious to know what the more experienced Darjeeling drinkers think about the broken leaves?

Here’s a picture of what the leaves looked like.
https://www.instagram.com/p/BD0306hEX0G/?taken-by=thecheesenerd

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 70 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

90

A sad moment. I’m sipping down the last of my mist valley. Also, an embarrassing moment, since I discovered that I haven’t taken the time to write a review for Steepster.

This tea isn’t great, but is a very good, solid Darjeeling-style second flush tea from Nepal. It is resistant to oversteeping, so when I just dump some in a pot and then oversteep, it still comes out well. Classic Darjeeling taste with a bit of stone fruit.

gmathis

Just got my new Upton print catalog. Looking forward to poring over it soon!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

~100ml yixing
~7g (try 5g next time)

Smell of the dry tea in the warmed pot is so delicious, delightful. It’s summer. It’s sweet, nutty (odor of baked nutfruit bread wafting out a window?).

Chaqi is strong & bright, like getting hit with a tidal wave of freshwater.
Or a vigorous massage with tingly oil.

Mouthfeel makes the cheeks, then both sides lower, salivate.
Dries up the roof of the mouth, then the front half of the tongue.

The aroma is simultaneously light and rich; gushes up the back and out the nose.

Wet leaves look like freshest red leaf lettuce.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Muji porcelain teapot
2 heaped t
95-100º C;
steeped 3min

Green! ranging from white to ash green and various shades of brown. Plenty of thinly twist-rolled, hair covered leaves.

Amber liquor. Beuatiful brilliant clarity. Nutty sweet aroma. Easy to drink, light, spring fills mouth.

Multiple infusions (5m, 6m, etc) until sweet water

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

79

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Ash, Campfire, Citrus, Smoke

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

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

42

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Astringent, Citrus

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

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

86

Today, I drank the last of this that I had in my stash. I did 2 teaspoons in 500 mL water at 190 for 3:30, which is more tea than I normally use. This is a light oolong with good floral/grassy flavors, and it brews up to a light golden color. I like this one a lot, and will probably get some more at another point in time.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

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.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

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

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

75

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

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

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

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

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

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

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

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
R.F. Hill

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 :)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.