Yunnan Golden Tips Imperial (ZY85)

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Black Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Jim Marks
Average preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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From Upton Tea Imports

After a year of disappointment sourcing top Yunnan teas, we are delighted to have procured this small lot of choice tea. Composed almost entirely of select tips, this classic Yunnan yields a flavorful cup with soft body, sweet and spicy notes, and a subtle hint of smokiness.

Leaf Quantity: 2¼ g/cup
Water Temp: 212° (boiling)
Steep Time: 5 min.

About Upton Tea Imports View company

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5 Tasting Notes

911 tasting notes

The Final Sipdown: Day 8
Decupboarding Total: 16

I’ve had a number of Upton samples lately and think I’ve just gotten it in my head that Upton teas don’t sparkle for me. I’ve tried too many samples for me to have coincidentally only picked bad teas. There have been a few teas that are quite good but still nothing that has changed my developing view of the overall lack of wonder Upton provides.

This one is one of the few tasty teas. The dry leaf has a very malty smell to it – it’s surprisingly strong. The tea tastes smooth and malty and has a bit of dry hay note. It’s very tasty and I like it. It reminds me a ton of Teavana’s Golden Monkey and so which would be a great tea… if I hadn’t tried Teas Etc’s Golden Monkey.

Still, it’s strong and bold but smooth and sweet with perhaps a bit of a peppery tingle that’s left on the end of my tongue. It’s not overly nuanced and I’m not detecting any milkiness to it, but there would be worse things to buy if you had to buy tea from Upton.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

I agree w/your upton assessment. I have never had anything truly outstanding from Upton’s either..


Such a shame, too. Some of their descriptions sound so wonderful but I don’t know if they just have too many teas to keep fresh stock in all of them or if they have to source in such large quantity that they miss out on the smaller, stellar growers or what. But yeah, don’t think I’ll be ordering from them again.


Poor Upton. I feel like I tried something of theirs that I enjoyed. I can’t remember what it was, though, which means it probably wasn’t as good as I’m thinking it was… I’ll have to look and see if it’s one you’ve tried. Once I figure out what the hell it was.


I sent you some of their St. Isaac blend, the only one of theirs that I wasn’t able to just get a sample size of. I think I’ve only had it with milk and sugar and it’s pretty good. But I’m thinking straight it wouldn’t be as fun because none of the Upton teas have been.

Jim Marks

Upton’s “black dragon” lapsang souchoung is the most well balanced tea of that category I have ever tried and their “Celestial Tribute” pu-erh is my benchmark for fermented pu-erh.

TeaGeschwedner definitely spoiled me on dazzling teas, but their prices make them tough to use as a daily cup vendor. My most recent Upton order contained over a kilogram of total tea by weight, much of it at sampler price points because Liz tried 8 different earl grays or something crazy, and the order was still less than $150 with shipping. A kilo of tea from TeaG would run you double that, easily, or more.

I tend to think of Upton as my “better than bulk bins at grocery stores, not over priced like Teavana, but more affordable than TeaG” vendor for daily cuppa stuff.

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325 tasting notes

This one is just a bit sweeter, I think, than the Golden Needles Imperial. The more I drink them, the more I think that the other is better as a stand alone and that this one really needs to be part of a blend. Unless you’re into sweet, then, give this a try by itself. It is surprisingly so for a completely untreated tea.

I did finally do it, a week or so ago. I blended the Wang pu-erh, the Black Dragon lapsang, the Choicest Formosa oolong and this Yunan Golden Tippy Imperial. It was AMAZING. But there was no way to make an entry about it. But wow, how brilliant it was.

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511 tasting notes

I don’t think this is the one I got current, mine looks more orangish to mr and the number ZY77 but the same name, Anyways WoW! this one is good very bold and strong not as bold as an Assam or a breakfast tea but it was plenty bold enough stand alone tea with slight hints of chestnut.this tea was begging for sugar and cream and i was in the mood for it, it was like chocolate goodness such a good tea, I want more just to drink with cream and sugar.

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