42 Tasting Notes
So this is the first black blend that I’ve tried from Upton. I like Vanilla and enjoy Assam, so though this would be just right. I like it, but in the end it was just okay for me. The leaves are dark and medium sized with small bits of vanilla. The smell is a lovely mix of chocolate and vanilla with the hint of Assam spiciness. I think this might be a good afternoon tea on a cool day. When I drink the beverage with milk and sugar, I really don’t like it; it makes the vanilla too sweet and loses some of the tea flavor. Drank it bare on a second steep. The vanilla though nice and mild seems a bitter superficial and the tea a bit astringent. Its nice, but didn’t quite live up to the expectations of a deep bourbon-like vanilla and good Assam.
This is a lovely black brew with twisty little dark leaves. When I smell the brewed leaves a hint of spiced orange and apricot come through. I think this is very comparable to a golden monkey or similar Fujian black tea though this is from Anhui. Its not as deep as my favorite Keemun or as complex as my favorite Darjeeling, but still quite tasty. There is a whiff of smokiness that is worked with the sweet honey notes and a bit of astringency at the front of the notes.
This is definitely a lovely Keemun. I don’t like it quite as much as the Mao Feng Imperial as I don’t find it quite as bold in flavor and taste, but its nice nonetheless. It is a slightly more tender and malty Keemun with a whiff of high quality Darjeeling mouth feel. The smell of the dried leaves is robust and aged with a hint of deep red wine. Brewed it is very smooth with a nutty caramel smell and a bit of cocoa and spice on tasting.
This is an interesting Darjeeling. I gently brewed three minutes and it seemed a bit mild for me. I will try brewing a bit longer and cooler next time. It doesn’t seem as complex as other 2nd Flush Darjeelings I’ve had, which disappointed me a little bit; however, its still a tasty middle of the road Darjeeling. I think I prefer a recent Thurbo estate more than this. This tea is sort of a tea equivalent of a Sauvignon Blanc; smooth and mild with touches of crispness and floral notes. There is a bit of vanilla and tropical fruit on the nose and a terribly smooth mouth feel with no astringency.
This one was surprisingly just above average for me. A smooth and tasty cup to be sure, but I’ve had better Yunnan and Fujian teas than this one. The leaves are huge with quite a few golden tips. It has a nice dose of cacao and maltiness in the flavor with a lingering bit of honey on the palate. It is definitely quite smooth and I’ve enjoyed drinking it, but nothing makes it really stand out for me from any other high quality Chinese black tea. I would say the most exceptional thing about this leaf is that it stands up to quite a few brewings. I was still getting a lovely mild tea flavor even on a fourth brew.
This is my first experience with a Kenyan tea. I like it, but it didn’t knock my socks off. It tastes very much like a standard bagged blend to me. Very similar to some Ceylons I’ve had. At first I didn’t notice the astringency, but it seems to build a bit as you drink it. I get hints of apple as described and a bit of vanilla, but not as flavor forward as I’d like. The leaves brew up a red color and a chestnut colored cup. I used a bit less than the 1+ tsp suggested and it tasted just about right. Its nice enough. The brewed leaves have a wonderful caramel smell, but it doesn’t quite make it into the cup.
I think I figured out the key with this one. It tastes noticeably better with lemon and honey and I think it would be quite good iced. The honey really milds up the astringency quite a bit.
This is a really lovely mint tea. You simultaneously get the refreshing mint with the smoky earthy green tea. Its extremely smooth and great hot or cool. I think it would be perfect on a hot summer day. I drank it when I wasn’t feeling too hot and the hint of mint was perfect for an upset tummy. I tsp of turbinado sugar is perfect with this cup. I tried to do a second brewing with the leaves and it turned a bit bitter without as much tea heft . . . I just caught the mint.
The smell of the dried leaves is rich like tobacco and leather with a hint of musk, just lovely! This smell should be bottled as a men’s cologne. The directions say 1+ tsp and I like my tea a bit stronger, so I put in just about 1 and a half. When I brewed it, it tasted a bit strong so I added a tsp of sugar and it was perfect. If I was drinking it bare, I might use more like 1 tsp and 1 1/2 if adding sugar or milk. The taste is a wonderful mixture of vanilla and cocoa with the faintest hint of astringency in the middle of the tongue. There are very nice toasty and earthy notes with a hint of currant and brandy. I am drinking it with my breakfast of blueberry bagel and it goes perfectly. This is my first experience with a pure Keemun and I really am enjoying this cup.
Upping my rating a bit! It tastes wonderful brewed stronger or weaker and you still get all the notes and different flavors. I don’t know how I made it this long in my life without ever having had a good Keemun. Just lovely!
This is a very nice tea and fruit blend. I bought it on a whim on vacation last Fall because I was feeling sick and needed to rest with a cup of hot tea. The only ingredients listed on the container is sencha and hibiscus. You can simultaneously taste the sweetness of the hibiscus and the earthy green of the tea. Neither flavor overwhelms or is bitter. The tea brews up a lovely pink color and tastes equally nice with more or less brewing. I really like brewing up a whole pot of this on a cold winter day and curling up with a book. There are good sized sencha leaves and bits of hibiscus. I liked this so much that I wanted to buy another container when I found that they don’t sell this blend anymore.
So the taste of this one surprised me a little bit. I have the teavana golden monkey that I adore and this one is a bit different. I won’t compare except to note that the Upton golden monkey’s leaves are much smaller but with a similar golden tipped look. When I smell this one, I get caramel and sweetness and as I drink it I find there is an explosion of dried fruit with hints of pear and fig on the palate, though less fruity than I’d imagined. Next there is a bit of tannic astringency rounded in the front of the tongue and on the roof of the mouth, but offset with an interesting earthiness. I really am fond of the taste of this complex cup and I find there might be a taste I’m missing, but in general I am intrigued with the different mouth feel of this one.