Upton Tea Imports

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Recent Tasting Notes

73

It is a decent Ceylon-type Kenyan tea. The aroma is clean, with woodsy and floral notes. The taste is brisk but not bitter: grass, green wood, flowers, biscuit, some hint of sweetness. But mostly green wood, to be honest: I had to strain to pick up other notes.

It is a solid, inexpensive choice for those who craves for a brisk jolt of caffeine in the morning but dislikes Assams. Also, this tea takes milk extremely well and is good for resteeping.

Now for negatives: it looks more BOP than OP to me and the taste is not interesting. Just passable. I think there are more enjoyable choices for a brisk morning tea.

Flavors: Grass, Green Wood, Sweet

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50

I got this tea as a sample size. When you steep it, it smells heavily of soy sauce, and when drunk it still has that “umami” flavor. It has a dark cup but a nice smooth texture

Flavors: Seaweed, Soy sauce, Umami

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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73

This is my go-to Earl Grey but it’s not my favorite. I find that it’s really bitter, almost oily, and it doesn’t have that mild floral flavor that some Earl Greys have. It needs a copious amount of milk to make it something palatable, and somehow adding sugar just makes it more bitter, but it brings out some of the vanilla.

The upside to this tea is that it’s cheap.

Flavors: Floral

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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83

Sunday’s green tea tasting project — a never before opened sample tin of this.

I have to say, the snails are adorable. In the tin, they smell like sweet peas. The steeped tea may have picked up a bit of my last black tea, because it has a fruity smell. Strawberry, really, which doesn’t make a lot of sense because the last black tea’s fruit was apple. In any case, the tea is a pale peachy yellow with some tiny suspended particles.

I’m tasting a bit of fruitiness as well, but mostly it’s a mellow, sweet green. The sweet pea smell of the dry leaf has echoes in the steeped tea. I can’t wait to try it again with a cleaner Breville. :-)

Flavors: Peas, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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88

There are no fewer than three entries for this tea, and yet I’m not entirely sure the sample I’ve just cracked open is in fact any of them. It’s got the same number, but it’s called Japanese Sencha Special Grade. I’m loathe to create yet another entry, so I’ll park mine here.

Continuing with the project to taste green teas I haven’t tasted before on weekends, this one is a juicy, grass/hay smelling one in the tin. It’s been a while since I’ve had sencha (at least a month, I think) and the smell is very appealing. It has an earthy quality to it, but also a slightly spicy quality.

The tea is a light-medium golden yellow, with some particulate matter in the liquor. But the floaters are much finer than in some senchas. They hang suspended in the water, in a way that is actually pretty interesting to look at — it’s sort of calming to look at and wonder how that’s happening.

The steeped tea’s aroma is also what I’d describe as juicy, as it it’s taste. I don’t get an overly vegetal flavor or aroma — to the extent there’s any vegetalness to it, I get artichoke rather than spinach. But I also get a vaguely nutty scent, a bit like sunflower seeds.

It’s also not what I’d describe as overly grassy, which is often the distinguishing factor for me between Japanese green teas and Chinese green teas. I tend to think of Japanese greens as grassy and Chinese greens as vegetal. This one is defying the norm.

It does have a seaweed, edamame/soy quality to it too, which I associate with Japanese greens.

I don’t find it bitter. It has just the right amount of down turn in the finish.

I find it more complex than some other senchas and so more enjoyable.

Flavors: Artichoke, Earth, Grass, Hay, Nutty, Seaweed, Soybean, Spicy

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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55

I drank this for the first time Sunday, but couldn’t post a note about it due to stuck feed syndrome. So I took some notes and now this is, as they say, a backlog.

This tea has big, curly leaves, like an oolong, but they’re a dark, chocolate brown. In the sample tin, they small like seaweed with a tinge of smoke.

After steeping, the tea’s aroma reminds me of miso soup but not as heavy. It’s tangy and savory. The tea is a light yellow-gold and clear.

I found this to be a light bodied, rather innocuous green tea. It was neither sweet nor bitter. I didn’t find it to be highly flavorful, but it isn’t without flavor. It’s a sort of a middle of the road generic green tea.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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82

A nice Lapsang, smoky and flavorful, but not too smokey (for me!).

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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83

This is a sample tin I decided to crack open.

I’m surprised it has had such a lukewarm reaction here. I find it interesting and tasty.

The dry leaves have a touch of something almost smoky in the aroma, and yet it’s also got a remarkable sweetness. It’s juicy smelling. Like sweet grass that’s just been mown. There are also floral and fruity notes, which makes it pretty complex as green teas go. I thought I might be imagining the fruit notes until I read someone else’s tasting note as it seemed unlikely a single green tea could have all of this going on. But I’m now convinced I’m not imagining it.

The liquor is a clear, medium-light gold, surprisingly dark for a green tea. The steeped tea smells like sweet grass with a slightly earthy/smoky note. I detect a touch of this morning’s cinnamon tea in the flavor (it must have survived the washing), but because the dry tea had a sweetness to the aroma I’m betting it’s not just the residuals that give it the sweetness.

It has a touch of bitterness in the finish, but not unpleasantly so. There’s a freshness in the aftertaste that feels clean and cool.

I’m looking forward to trying this again without the cinnamon memory as I think there’s a lot here to appreciate. I’m just not sure I’m fully appreciating it yet.

Flavors: Earth, Floral, Fruity, Smoke, Sweet, warm grass

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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92

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec

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83

sample from picking up some brew baskets with Upton’s sale…i haven’t yet found anywhere that sells them cheaper plus they were on sale! Even with the exchange it’s a steal. This is a nice one…malty, slightly sweet, no astringency and even as it cools it still a tasty cup. Nice to try it :)

Lexie Aleah

The cheapest place that I have found them is Ikea.

Sil

Lexie I likely wasn’t specific. Was talking about finum infusers….I’m picky. Those aren’t at ikea (at least not in Canada) but good to know.

Lexie Aleah

The ikea near me has that type or at least they used to.

Sil

cool!

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93

What a delicious start to the weekend! I received a nice sized sample of this tea from Upton a few months back, and it was the perfect “something different” in my first few cups this morning. A wonderful convergence of malt and sweetness, the long, dark leaves with their golden tips produced a deep amber cup with just a hint of chocolate as it lingers.

Steeped for 4:45 just short of a boil.

Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Sweet

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88

I had that tea for a while and every time when I was drinking I really liked it. Which is a bit strange, since 1). most of Upton’s Keemuns are decidedly not very good and 2). this particular Keemun does not conform with the requirements of the breed at all.

This tea has none of typical for Keemuns bite and the taste of cherries. Instead there is malt, malt, malt anda bit of smoke and roast, both in the aroma and flavor. That’s it it is not complex at all. But somehow it is really charming and attractive in its simplicity. I like it a lot, especially sipping it from a travel mug on long car or train rides. Every little sip delivers the same strong maltiness and roast like a clockwork. This tea is also incredibly forgiving to the water temperature and steeping time.

China Keemun Mao Feng is like a very good and experienced role player on a team: it cannot do many things and wow the crowds but a few things that it can – it does them very well and reliably. And every tea cupboard needs not only stars but also trusted role players.

Flavors: Malt, Roasted, Smoke

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When you’re willing to try something again, the second time may turn out to be the charm. That was the case with this tea. Maybe my expectations were off, or perhaps it was the method, but whatever it was, I was not thrilled with my first tasting. Not so this time around! Our good friend ashmanra offered some tips, and I just enjoyed two perfectly steeped cups of a tea I had previously written off.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 45 sec
ashmanra

Hooray! Darjeeling tea is very particular, but worth it.

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90

An Upton sample, added to an order I placed many moons ago, in a never opened packet. I’m not sure this is really the same tea as depicted here. It’s Sungma Estate second flush SFTGFOP1, but it’s Upton-assigned code is DJ-83. Close enough?

Typical grape-earth smell in the dry leaf. Interesting medium-coppery-ambery color.

Puzzling aroma. It’s gingerbread? A pastry-like smell that I’ve never smelled in a darjeeling.

The flavor is not at all darjeeling-like. No pungency, no sharp wine notes, no piquant astringency. A smooth, sweet, fruity-pastry flavor.

Pretty awesome.

Flavors: Earth, Ginger, Grapes, Pastries

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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75

Sipdown no. 10 of 2018 (no. 366 total). A sample.

This is a backlog from yesterday while the site was down. Nothing to add to my previous magnum opus on this one.

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75

Continuing on the quest to get through some lapsangs, I decided to crack open this sample.

This is a backlog from two days ago while the site was down.

The aroma of the dry tea in the packet is more resiny than smokey. It’s a charred wood aroma. The smoke is balanced with a woody smell.

The liquor is medium copper colored and clear.

How I feel about this tea is quite similar to how I felt about another Black Dragon. When I was a kid growing up in Houston, there was an amusement park called Astroworld across from the Astrodome. It later became a Six Flags and I have no idea whether it’s still there now, but be that as it may, when it first opened everyone was excited about one ride in particular called the Black Dragon. There’s a photo of it in the link below.

https://thebuzzmagazines.com/sites/default/files/article-photos/2015/10/amusement4_nov15.jpg

As a kid, I was scared of the ride. Well, more apprehensive than scared. When I was very small I was prone to motion sickness and I’d gotten sick at an amusement park once. Since I hate vomiting more than anything in the world, I was always apprehensive of anything that might make me sick — and I worried that the Black Dragon ride would make me sick. I grew out of the motion sickness (except on boats) and eventually became very into roller coasters. But I digress.

It was the anticipation that made me apprehensive, but once I got on the actual ride, it wasn’t scary and it didn’t make me sick. It was just kind of fun.

It’s the same with this tea. I was apprehensive about it. I thought it would be tarry and ashy and too much for me. But it wasn’t. It’s not a sweet finish Lapsang like the Kusmi. It has a sour note at the end of the sip, but one that isn’t unpleasant in its sourness.

Nor is it too ashy. It’s not even horribly smoky. It’s like sucking on a piece of charred green wood, which weirdly, it turns out, isn’t a bad thing. It’s like sitting next to a fireplace rather than a campfire. There’s no smoked meat taste, and no bothersome saltiness.

It’s a nice Lapsang, but given my current ambivalence toward them, I am going to try to get through what I have before I make any decisions about whether to reorder any of them.

Flavors: Char, Fireplace, Resin, Smoke, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

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15

It was bitter, astringent, and generally crappy. I was really surprised; this was way worse than any other tea I’ve had in a long time. Upton usually does a good job with teas; I suspect this was just either a bad batch or a mistake on my part.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

A good morning Assam. Sweet undertones.

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Nice flavor but fairly bitter. Better with milk and sugar.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85

Tea has a strong coconut scent before brewing, with hints of jasmine. Too floral for my taste, but while brewing it smelled more complex and the black tea came through. Tea is pale golden and still has a strong creamy coconut scent. Flavor is light but full bodied.

Flavors: Coconut, Floral

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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3 tsp of tea in brown ceramic teapot. Drank with cream. Brews very pale. Mild flavor, needed less cream than expected.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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80

Sweet flowery aroma, pleasant flavor.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85

Wonderful pick-me-up with a splash of milk. Brewed the lazy way with 1 tsp (not weighted) of tea in a basket right in my m-f-teatime mug. Lots of bits left in the cup, paper filter would be been better. There is some astringency that builds up but it is tolerable.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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