Upton Tea Imports

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Recent Tasting Notes

My favorite Assams taste like wheat toast. This does. Brevity rules.

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Muji Hakuji Porcelain Tea Pot – 360ml

Dry Leaves: Olive cocoa oblong & rolls, like a bowl of dried leaves & acorns
Dry aroma: Sour plum (酸梅)
Wet Leaves: Olive. Strong stemmed, beautiful archetype of Leaf.
Wet aroma: Sour plum. Dry garden. Wet twigs. Hot sun on wet ocean sand.
Liquor: Amber
Base: Mineral
Texture: creamy, fills the mouth like a hot air balloon
Throatiness: on and on like the duracell bunny
Quenchless: dries the tip of the tongue, dries the mouthroof, warms the throat
Chaqi: Frog’s eyes. Solar plexus as hot water balloon.

Brewing steps:
INFs by 1m
Blanched vegetables. Dry forest. Nutty snack. Sweetness of caramelized root.

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Decided to drink this earlier because I wanted a mug full of something to get through a meeting. Followed the steeping instructions that came with it…sort of. Steeped one pearl in probably close to 10 ounces of water.

Result was a liquor light in color that had the light flavor I would expect early in a white tea session. Vague sweetness and spices. Not enough to really stand out or be engaging, but enough to keep me going.

Came back to this one a day later and hit it with some boiling water to get through a meeting I got called into last minute. Just left the leaves in the mug the whole time. Stronger sweetness, nice spice and some of that syrupy mouthfeel action going on. Still not particularly impressive, but not bad!

Flavors: Spices, Sweet

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A nice assam, noticeable tannins that are just this side of too strong. It has the soft floral/honey on top of the usual toasty black tea flavors and is extra good with cream to balance the ‘dry’ factor.

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Tannin

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 34 OZ / 1000 ML

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Wanted to try a new oolong this morning and this ended up being the winner. I’ve never had an oolong from Japan before, so this was exciting. The leaves themselves also look completely unlike those of any oolong I’ve seen before. A blend of black and greenish leaves with wispy tan bits and stems.

Toss 6 grams of this into the gaiwan and steep without doing a wash. The roast is immediately apparent and quickly fills the nose. It’s got that salty thing going on, especially in the first sip. And it evolves into something floral and woody, with that distinct, creamy oolong sweetness rounding it out.

The next steep is too roasty, woody and sour. It tastes better cooled off than warm, when the sweetness comes through more. We give it one more steep, but ultimately this is not for us. It is not a bad tea at all, just not the flavor profile either of us prefers.

Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Roasted, Salt, Sweet, Wood

6 g

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A really solid breakfast blend. I take it with cream and sugar and it’s got a nice malty smoothness with a sort of floral undertone that doesn’t detract at all from it having that nice strong black tea ‘kick’ I want in a breakfast tea.

Flavors: Floral, Malt

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 41 OZ / 1200 ML

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Just too subtle for my tastes. I expected something heartier based on the descriptions and the teas included but despite pushing to the very edge of recommended steeping time, there just isn’t a lot of oomph here. If you like soft teas it might appeal to you but just not kicky enough for me.

Boiling 4 min, 45 sec 3 tsp 34 OZ / 1000 ML

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This is the second Assam I am sampling from the Upton sampler set. This tea has a really strong malt base which I appreciate. The aftertaste is a bit astringent. A full, rich, bold, intriguing tea, one I could return to indefinitely for its assertive nature. Even though it has a round, unassumingly smooth base, it’s nevertheless an unapologetic attention-seeker. Good with a little cream and sugar. This is what I think of when I think assam.

Flavors: Biting, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Malt, Smoke, Tart

2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Smells a lot stronger than it tastes. While there is definitely cinnamon, it’s not overpowering the way it can be in many ‘holiday’ teas. Very pleasantly mellow but couldn’t hold up to cream or milk.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 34 OZ / 1000 ML

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I had never tried Lapsang Souchong before I tried this tea. At first the smoky aroma was rather off-putting, but now I find that the smokiness is this tea’s best quality. Lapsang Souchong has quickly become my favorite tea. It tastes like the way a campfire in the middle of the woods feels. I sometimes take it with a bit of sugar, but even without it this tea is perfect. I plan on ordering more of this tea soon. Very strong, but oh so very good.

Oh, and prepare for EVERYTHING that comes in contact with this tea to smell like it.

Flavors: Campfire, Smoke, Wood

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I love Assam teas, even though I would have to rate myself as a novice as far as understanding how the tea is grown, cultivated, harvested, and packaged, etc. This is why ordering the four-pack Assam sampler from Upton Tea Imports was a wonderful choice for me. So far I really like the smooth, mellow, roundness of this tea. It is not quite as malty as some other Assams I have tasted, but nevertheless, it’s the sort of tea I can drink on an empty stomach in the morning without the tannins irritating my digestion. I use a coconut creamer from Trader Joes with a little bit of honey, or I drink plain. As a test, I drank straight the remainder in the teapot after it had steeped too long. It was still very palatable. I very much enjoy this friendly, unassuming tea.

Flavors: Malt

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Decided to try out some more of the Darjeeling samples we have today. I meant to go about taking notes on this the usual way, but it was so easy to drink that by the time I realized I hadn’t taken any I was nearly done with the first steep…

That being said, the first steep is smooth, full-bodied and the flavors are very balanced. The liquor has a deep, cocoa-y scent and just a hint of sweetness.

I attempted a resteep, but mostly got bitterness out of it, so I’ll finish up with this one for now.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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This is the first time I’ve had a Darjeeling and, I must say, I’m in a state of shock. First of all, I am having a hard time believing this is a black tea…the leaves are really green (and broken, of course)and the liquor quite light. It is very aromatic and flavorful. Definitely getting some evergreen and some bitterness that makes me think this really needs to be treated like a green.

I’m glad we have a bit more of this sample yet, as I’d like to give it a try another way.

Flavors: Vegetal

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I promised to drink a black tea that morning, so we dug into the samples from Upton and this was the one we were most likely to both enjoy.

The dry blend smells very nice, the spices seem fresh and strong, and the resulting cup doesn’t fail to deliver on that. The liquor comes out dark and strong without too much bitterness, but the tastes are concentrated enough that we do decide to add a splash of almond milk and a couple of drops of honey, which helps even it out nicely.

Overall, I think we were both able to enjoy it, but it wasn’t particularly memorable, so we’ll try some different ways of preparing it with what we’ve got left.

Flavors: Bitter, Spices

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 5 g 1 OZ / 16 ML

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ZO07: Season’s Pick Special Purchase Tie Guan Yin. by upton tea imports.


Ru Yao dragon teapot gongfucha.

Dry leaf: floral, musty, fruity.

Wet leaf: floral, fruity (peach).
(forgot to take pic: looks pretty usual)

1x short rinse.

Light steep; I taste/smell: slight -> floral, fruity (peach), honey, spices.

Medium steep; I taste/smell: slight bitterness (pleasant). light -> floral, fruity (peach/grapes), honey, spices.

Heavy steep; I taste/smell: medium
-> floral, fruity (peaches/grapes), honey, spices.

All in all a lovely tea! Nice tastes/aromas. Nice cha qi. I rate a 100

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Fruity, Grapes, Honey, Peach, Spices

185 °F / 85 °C 7 g 6 OZ / 165 ML

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Yunnan black snail.

Ru yao dragon teapot. Gongfucha.

Dry leaf: peppery.

Wet leaf: spicy, spices, peppery.

1x short rinse.

Light steep; I taste/smell; light
-> cream, earth, spicy, spices. Medium bitterness.

Medium steep; I taste/smell: light
-> cream, spiceyness. medium -> earth, spices. Medium to strong bitterness.

Heavy steep; I taste/smell: Medium -> spicyness, cream. Strong -> earth, spices, bitterness.

All in all a yummy tea! Nice cha qi. Nice taste on lighter steeps. I rate an 80 as I’m not much for black teas, save for lapsang souchong.

Flavors: Bitter, Cream, Earth, Spices, Spicy

190 °F / 87 °C 7 g 6 OZ / 165 ML

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This is take two. I have to say this tea seems better today. I did brew it at a lower temp (exact temp unknown since I’m at work). The black tea’s flavor is gentler in today’s brew and the rose while still not as strong as I’d like is more noticeable. I think my scoop had a few more rose buds as well today. Interestingly, when at it’s hottest, the flavors were well balanced. Then the black tea peppery flavor became dominant and as it cooled further, the rose became more dominant.

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I continue my search for a tea to replace my prior favorite that is becoming hard to get. This one gave me more hope initially. The leaves were wonderfully fragrant of rose and black tea with a great balance. After steeped, it became a bit more herb like and malty then rose scented. I can smell the rose but I feel like I have to search for it. On taste, it is certainly black tea. It does not feel gentle. It’s not my favorite black tea due to being a bit harsh but doable. The rose seems lost in the tea though. The main flavors are malty, peppery. There is a slight sweet aftertaste that may contain rose. I prefer a more in your face floral rose rather then sweet though. I will note that a lot of reviews note petals, my leaf though contained full buds. It was just packaged 10/31/2016. Perhaps that is a difference in this ones flavor to some of the other reviews that sounded like just what I had wanted. I’ll also note that initial steep time was 4 minutes and I steeped longer to try for more rose flavor and it failed.

Edit: as it cools, the rose flavor does improve. Still doesn’t match my prior though. I upped the rating for that. I just need to remember to let it cool some before drinking.

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Tasting this again today (still had some in the bag). And for some reason, it’s better today. Maybe it’s my mood, maybe it’s growing on me. Still not my favorite and the green is still a bit strong with the rose weak but there is something comforting here today that I can’t put my finger on.

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I got this tea to try to replace one that became hard to get. I will note it doesn’t match that so I may be harsher in my review though I’ll try not to. I found the sent was distinctly green with mild bitterness. I only got a hint of Rose scent. For flavor, it was greener then expected. Much more green then rose. There was less of a bitter aftertaste then with some green teas. I was underwhelmed with the Rose flavor. The aftertaste was mildly sweet.

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Drinking this one for breakfast with some milk. it is very bold a strong wonderful with milk, Perfect for breakfast. This one is an eye opener
I have 2 of these with 2 different product numbers of TK05 and TK07
I drank both and they are bother very much similar, with the exception that the TK07 was just a little bolder than the 05 with a slight almost coffee-like taste to, The 05 was a little smoother.
These seem to have a high caffeine content, I’m bouncing off the walls this morning lol
BOTH were tasty and Very strong, I probably wouldnt drink this one without cream or milk and most likely in the Mornings.
Damn good Morning tea :)

These are CTC teas so it dont take much leafe to make a strong cup, Also not a good resteep with these, they tend to give it all up at the first steep. I think i like it pretty good.

Thomas Edward(Toad)

After tasting both of these and they were both good, I decided to combine the left overs from each sample to make into one bag and make a single blend with them.
I Havent tried it yet but i’m sure it will be good :)


I’m sure the blend will be good too!

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I know this sample I got has to be older… something about Upton’s quality and storage makes it like liquid cardboard though…. not appealing :/


I’ve had aged oolongs that tasted like that. No fun.

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This tea smells smoky and sweet in a way that reminds me of when we cruised the campgrounds on Sunday as a kid, looking for campfires that hadn’t been put out all the way and restarting them. There’s something a little dry and pine straw about the aroma.

I was surprised at how much the tea comes through the smoke—dark, a little sweet, and malty. It gives a nice contrast between savory and sweet, like smoky molasses? There may be a hint of cocoa in there.

The smoke is on the lighter side, but still a little too strong for me. It comes out the nose like cigarette smoke and tickles the back of my throat.

Flavors: Malt, Smoke, Sweet, Tobacco


Smoky molasses is an interesting description. I hear you, I’m sensitive when it comes to smoke, so smoky teas on the lighter side even tend to be too much for me.


If you like a light, smoky molasses flavor that isn’t overpowering, try the pure gold Jin Jin mei from YS. It’s very nice!

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