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Recent Tasting Notes
Wanted a strong yet refined cuppa the morning of my first Father’s Day – found my sample of this Assam and thought I would give it a go rather than my usual CTC breakfast offerings.
Brewed this up in my 6 cup Chatsford teapot – 6 grams infused for 10 minutes before the first pour, on up to an hour+ for the final. A small touch of milk in a bone china cup, topped off by the tea throughout.
Floral and sweetly spicy aromatics – biscuity malt with a faint “baked goods” note on the palate – comparing some without milk, there isn’t much complexity to bury here, so no need to feel guilty for adulterating it. Not too tannic, not at all brisk, this survives a lengthy infusion without developing excessive bitterness, but the flavor doesn’t really intensify over time either.
Maybe this grade of Assam is the Goldilocks of tea for many, but I prefer either the potency and intense malt of cheaper offerings or the refinement of top-shelf leaves to the anodyne middle-of-the-road quality on display here.
I’ll try doubling the leaves next time (12 grams) to see if I can coax any more character out of the cup…will revisit this review at that time.
120 ruyi yixing
Dry Leaves: long black twists
Dry aroma: tobacco
Wet Leaves: army green narrow leaves long stems
Wet aroma: horse hay twigs sweat mild smoke
Tea aroma: horse hay
Liquor: dark caramel
Throatiness: cold smoke, dissipates quickly but leaves the impression of something slimey
Quenchless: round like glass marbles on the roof of the mouth & cheek pouches, slow descent against back of throat, warm marble in the belly
Chaqi: energy to the triceps
INFs 50s, 3, 5min
7min (circular agitation @2min)
Smoke. Huigan. Gauchos. Maté.
Coldbrew! 1.5 tsp leaf, 500 mL cold water, 5 minutes (it is a very fine tea, so it steeped fast)
Vaguely fruity (raspberry, Asian pear, generic fruity flavours) with a moderate but unremarkable base. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t noteworthy. Base tastes like a generic black, but it is difficult to tell. Smooth, a bit of sweet berry, but not something I need to buy. I still have the other 2 tsp of this sample from someone to use up, I might try it out hot and see how that goes.
Flavors: Berry, Fruity, Raspberry, Smooth, Tannin
I think this was it—I never actually look at the catalog numbers and when I searched for “Upton Yunnan” I was presented with a distressingly large number of options.
At any rate, the sample pack of whatever Yunnan I ordered has been tasty. “Peppery” seems to be the standard one-flip-flop-fits-all adjective for Yunnan tea, and it does fit this one as well. As it cooled, it reminded me more of the burlap-feed-bag graininess of a Keemun. Tasty.
This is actually TC26, which appears to be the same as TC27, so:
Brewed in my black, Korean infuser cup – so as usual, I didn’t note the color (a rich copper or russet I assume).
The dry leaves are fine, even, black, platinum-tipped wires.
Very sweet (fruity) and floral aromatics, even before I add water; doing so actually seems to diminish the complexity of the liquor’s aroma (which is a very gentle version of the flavor), although the leaves take on some vegetal and honey notes.
Rich, deep, remarkably persistent cocoa-powder notes with softer hints of pipe tobacco and malt on the palate. Mild bitterness throughout. Medium-dry finish. Hints of light roast coffee at times in the after-taste – would take milk well, but this is certainly a refined self-drinker on its own.
Soft yet lively body, mild astringency to balance the sweetness.
Delicious (but a bit potent caffeine-wise) afternoon tea – doubt you’ll find a better low-land Ceylon than from this estate – comparable to some high-grade Keemun teas, albeit significantly more affordable.
(Upton carries several Mao Feng varieties. I’m rolling with this one…hope it’s correct.)
Beautiful long, twisty leaves. Reminds me of a quality Assam; cocoa and wheat toast.
Something this good deserves a lengthy and more luscious write-up, but my eyes will not open and this is the best I can muster :)
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Flavors: Green Beans
This is a good Darjeeling to drink straight. It requires no milk.
I prepared this as Upton recommends: 1sp per cup at 212F for 3 minutes. I made a small pot of 3 cups.
It has a classic Darjeeling orange liquor with a citrusy nose. Less muscatel in aroma, but with some muscately and light wood flavor. There is only mild astringency in the finish.
Update 1. Made a pot at 195, 3 teaspoons, 3-cup pot. 3-4 minutes steeping. Good with or without milk. Not as full-bodied as some other Darjeelings I’ve reviewed of late. Astringency
of the long, pleasant variety. Lingering aromatics in the mouth long after you’ve gone about your day.
Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Muscatel, Oak wood
Beautiful orange brew is clear and bright. The liquor has a lovely aroma of dried orange peel. Flavor is strong Darjeeling with hints of foxy muscatel, dried orange essence and a long astringent end.
I brewed this per Upton’s instructions at 1 tsp per cup at around 208F. I made a 3-cup pot. The flavor profile mellowed a few minutes after I removed the leaves. It’s good to let it cool and settle down. Still, it’s somewhat too astringent for my taste to drink straight.
Drinking in the English style with a bit of milk (MIL please) mellows and rounds this out, allowing the lighter floral and fruit qualities to rise : it’s a great steep if you enjoy it in this way.
Brewing at 190 degrees changes everything. It becomes a beautiful liqueur with floral and fruit notes, best enjoyed without milk. I couldn’t get enough of the aroma. This could easily become a favorite special tea.
Flavors: Astringent, Honey, Malt, Muscatel, Orange
I really wanted to like this. It smelled so good in the pouch, had so many ingredients that I love…
Turns out, put together, they just become a busy mess. What flavor there is is quite confused; the closest I can compare it to is a badly done german gingerbread-dipped-in-german-chocolate cookie, but one that is old enough that most of the flavor has faded.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Dark Chocolate, Raisins
I actually don’t like lavender too much as a scent, though I do like it as a flavor. I was worried about that this time, since opening the packet unleashed a massive slap in the face of scent. Once brewed, though, it mellowed out to a lovely floral earl grey with a bit more natural sweetness than most.
The smell of the vanilla is definitely there when dry but once it’s brewed most of that is gone. I didn’t get the bergamont at all. It’s a smooth, non-offensive drink but it doesn’t really have enough of anything setting it apart to make it worth a repeat purchase.