218 Tasting Notes


The dry leaves are visually pleasing: they are large and gnarly. The smell is sweet -reminiscent of the field of wild flowers in the spring – and spicy.

The liquor is very fragrant: fall leaves, burned leaves, spices, sandal wood, honey. The smell is quite distinct and uplifting.

The taste is mild but complex. There is some woodiness and sourness, plus malt, floral and honey notes and lots of other, harder to identify things. It also has a lingering and pleasant aftertaste.

It was a sampler and I will certainly order it again and in larger quantity. A keeper.

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Not a bad Keemun but quite unremarkable. The aroma is so-so, the sour notes predominate in the taste. Upton has much better Keemuns that cost just a bit more, such as China Keemun Mao Feng or Hao -Ya B Superfine Keemun. Will not buy again.

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drank Dragonwell by Wegmans
218 tasting notes

Just a generic green tea: a generic pleasant smell, the taste of umami and grass. Will not buy again.

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Inoffensive, good for blending or some mindless drinking but does not stand out in any way. So far it was my impression of all Nilgiri teas I had tried.

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drank Houjicha by Wegmans
218 tasting notes

This tea is probably produced by roasting kukicha: quite a few of stems and stalks are plainly visible. Nevertheless, it is a pleasant unassuming tea. The aroma has the notes of spices, vanilla and baked bread. The taste is less complex but comforting: sweetness and roastiness on top of a customary kukicha/bancha taste.

It is perfect for a before-the-bed cup of tea, with a low caffeine content coming as an added bonus.

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The good news is that it is a better balanced tea than many souchongs: the smokiness is not excessive and does not overpower the taste of the tea itself, which clearly comes through. The bad news is that that tea is not of a good quality and the taste is quite blah. Will not buy again.

Update: actually I changed my opinion after the second session. I guess I was conditioned by super-smokey souchongs to expect the bomb of a taste.Here you can actually taste the tea itself and the tea is not bad: large leaves, pleasant taste. The tea also has a nice lingering aftertaste. So, as a result I am increasing the rating from 63 to 78.

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The best “non-tea” tea I ever tried. The taste is much richer and less medicinal than any pure rooibos I tried. It is also tastes much more natural and less contrived than any rooibos-based mix. I will certainly buy it again. Highly recommended.

P.S. Don’t forget to steep it for a while – no less than 5 minutes.

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A solid but unremarkable daily drinker. The aroma is pleasant but not very strong. The taste is not particularly long lasting and rather uncomplicated: dry autumn leaves, some sweetness. It is OK for a daily drinker or with milk/sugar and is very affordable but there are way better teas at Upton if you are ready to pay just a little bit more.

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I like to drink teas to recreate a specific mood, or just to take a break at work. The world of tea is so endless, patiently waiting for exploration and rewarding you in many ways big and small.

I am looking forward to years of playing with tea leaves, gaiwans, cups, and YouTube videos.

My ratings:

90 or more – a very good/excellent tea, I can see myself ordering it again.

80-89 – it is a good tea, I enjoyed it but not enough to reorder.

70-79 – an OK, drinkable tea but there are certainly much better options even in the same class/type.

60-69 – this tea has such major flaws that you have to force yourself to finish what you ordered.

<60 – truly horrible teas that must be avoided at all costs.



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