No. 1 Tippy Orthodox GFOP Darjeeling (TD50)

Tea type
Black Tea
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Earth, Floral, Muscatel, Vegetal, Fruity, Nutty, Berry, Grapes, Red Wine
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Edit tea info Last updated by Donna A
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 6 g 22 oz / 665 ml

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From Upton Tea Imports

An exceptional golden tip Darjeeling blend. First introduced at Upton Tea Importers in 1990, it continues to be their most popular Darjeeling.

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18 Tasting Notes

863 tasting notes

2 heaping tsp. leaf to 500ml. in my Breville.

Last time I had this I steeped it at 3:30 and thought that the taste could be developed a bit more. So tonight I went with an extra 30 seconds, taking it up to 4 minutes, which is my usual steep time for black teas.

I think that this time the flavor of the tea came through even when hot – with the trade-off being that there was more astringency too.

Bottom line: I think it’s a more of an everyday black tea – the taste and smell are wonderful but there’s nothing overly complex about it.

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Jim Marks

That seems really long for a Darjeeling. I wonder why it needs such a long steep.


I followed Upton’s parameters and my own preferences for a black tea when making this. Do Darjeelings normally require shortened times, despite technically being a black tea?

Jim Marks

In my experience, Darjeeling teas are quite delicate and tend to fare better at 2 minutes, or there abouts. You’re correct, of course, Upton does recommend a longer steep for this particular leaf. I was just wondering (aloud) why that would be. Especially for a tea that Upton claims is so popular and which you found to be rather flat even when steeped sufficiently.

Maybe it is just a bad year for this leaf…


Upton seems to recommend ridiculously long steep times as well. I’ve had some greens they recommended a five minute steep for. Let me tell you, nope. They were much better at shorter steeps.

Jim Marks

I’ve been learning recently that, for most but not all teas, a 5-30 second steep with more generous amounts of leaf, not only produces a better first cup, it allows one to produce many, many cups.

Maybe I’ll get a sample of this the next time I order my benchmark lapsang and pu-erh from Upton and do a whole series of steeps at different lengths.


@Camiah: You’re right – sometimes Upton can be a little too generous on their steeping time. I’ve noticed definite improvement before in some of their teas by cutting a minute or two off total steeping, so that is something I will try with this tea as well when I make it again.

@Jim: I don’t think it’s a bad year for the leaf – I did have it cold brewed once and the nuances of the flavors were present then, which leads me to suspect that shorter exposure to the heated water will help the tea immensely. I will aim for about a 2:30 steep time and see what happens then.

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3254 tasting notes

I enjoyed a pot of this tea with my breakfast this morning. I’m still getting to know darjeelings. This is bold, a little floral IMO, but also kind of earthy & gutsy, if that makes sense to anybody, LOL.
This is a sample from the first package Sil sent to me, & it was a generous sample. I still have enough to drink it one more time. Thanks Sil! You Rock!


Yay for tea drinking!

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8150 tasting notes

So i have to say that I’m really glad that this darjeeling is a decent cup of tea. I was a little worried that I was not going to love them, since the first few that i’ve tried, I haven’t liked. This one though, is a pretty tasty cup! It’s not my favourite black tea but this is still an enjoyable cup. I’d love a bit more robustness from this but the tea is smooth and tasty.

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658 tasting notes

I love the format of Upton’s samplers, and grabbed the black tea one as I would like to get more familiar with my straight blacks.

This Darjeeling was really pleasant before breakfast today. It was nice and smooth but with a little bit of a bite. It’s flavourful but relatively light.

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10 tasting notes

I had some of this in the morning and am working from memory, so I might come back and update this when I drink it again.
The leaves looked pretty good – not very broken, brownish-greenish.
Astringency was minimal and the tea is nice and round and mellow. The mouthfeel is moderate.

There’s definitely some of that typical floral flavor I expect from a Darjeeling. There are also more mellow malty notes. I presume the more mellow, robust notes are coming from the second flush leaves. There’s a hint of this brothy taste that I notice in some Chinese blacks and Japanese greens that I don’t care for. It really bothers my girlfriend, but it’s not the end of the world in my view. Overall, I prefer a first flush Darjeeling, but this is good too.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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8 tasting notes

Nice tea, I think I may try to steep a little longer at maybe 90c next time as this was a bit more bitter and astringent than I liked.

Flavors: Earth, Floral, Muscatel, Vegetal

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 6 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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30 tasting notes

I think I finally found the right preparation for this tea. Unfortunately, my sense of smell is severely compromised due to sinus issues at the moment, so I still can’t fully appreciate this tea. From what I can tell, the flavor is much better-developed than in my first tasting, but the astringency of the second tasting has been avoided.

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

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9 tasting notes

I found this tea to be smooth, yet very delicate for a black tea. I definitely used too little leaf… I will try to adjust that the next time I prepare it. I definitely pick up on the fruity and floral notes. Overall it is a very drinkable tea, but lacks anything of particular note to be memorable.

Flavors: Berry, Grapes, Muscatel, Red Wine

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 34 OZ / 1000 ML

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9 tasting notes

Not sublime, but very nice mid-afternoon with a slice of pound cake or a bread-and-butter sandwich made with whole meal bread. It needs a bit more than 1 tsp per 8 ounces of water I think. I wouldn’t steep for more than 5 minutes in order to avoid it turning bitter. A lovely color in the cup.

Flavors: Floral

Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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20 tasting notes

No. 1 Tippy Orthodox GFOP Darjeeling. What the hell does that mean?

First, “Tippy”: tips, or buds, are the small unopened leaves of the tea plant – they are considered higher quality than the larger leaves of the plant and thus may be more expensive.

Next, “Orthodox”: recognizing how the tea is picked – either ‘orthodox’ (by hand) or ‘crush-tear-curl/CTC’ (by machine).

Third, “GFOP”: meaning Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. -FOP signifies the highest grade of orthodox tea. The prefix Golden may be swapped with Tippy, Finest Tippy, etc. and usually depends on where the tea was grown.

Lastly, “Darjeeling”: simply a designation that the tea was grown in the Darjeeling district in Northern India. Darjeeling teas are usually, not always, black teas and may be categorized by their ‘flush’, which is determined by when in the year the tea was harvested.

Having said this, the tea pours an amber base with a golden gradient around the rim of the mug – a typical black tea coloring. The tea’s distinctive vegetal aroma reminds the taster of a time before the distractions and responsibilities of technology, a time when we took up our plows and returned to find a pot of this delicate, leafy tea on the woodstove next to the neatly stacked pile of logs from the prior day’s work.

Upon the first sip, the tea glides over the tongue, careful not to injure the tastebuds, and then leaks down the back of the throat. Akin to the popular Samuari chai blend at Teavana, the gentleness of this tea may appeal to a broad range of palates and may be comfortably used as an everyday breakfast tea. Lastly, the tea finishes just as neatly as it enters, providing a satisfying wetting to the mouth, and leaves the taster reaching for his next sip.

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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