Alas, poor Upton Organic Yunnan FOP Select. If I had this tea in a restaurant, I’d be delighted with it, just grateful that they served me a decent tea instead of the tannic bagged crap that’s usually served after dinner, even at good restaurants.


But, unfortunately for Organic Yunnan FOP Select, above-average doesn’t quite cut in a world of overachievers. I’ve tasted Rishi’s Organic Ancient Tree Golden Yunnan. And, FOP Select, you’re no Rishi Golden Yunnan.

I’ve tasted Ito En’s Yunnan Golden Tips. And, FOP Select, you’re no Ito En Golden Tips either. Why, I’ve even tasted FOP Select’s brother, Upton Season’s Pick Yunnan TGFOP. And you’re not that either.

Yeah, FOP Select, you’ve got that great smooth full-bodied Yunnan finish, without that smoky quality that makes some Yunnans taste like Keemun wannabees. But where’s the malt, man? Where’s the caramel quality that comes from the tips — the buds — in the tea? Where are the qualities that make Yunnans taste like Yunnans?

FOP Select, you’re O.K., but your nothing special. You’re a C+ student in a class of A scholars. You’re the journeyman utility infielder who occasionally sees some action as a pinch hitter, but who will never start a game, let alone make “the Hall.” Yeah, they’ll come out for your retirement party, say nice things about you while you’re handed your gold watch, but your portrait will never hang in the executive dining room, the dining room in which, by the way, they serve only really fine teas (yeah, in my dreams).

FOP Select, you’re a swell tea, a tea that would delight any restaurant-goer who’s resigned himself to the fact that while upscale restaurants will serve only the best coffees, they’ll serve whatever crappy tea their distributer hands them. But, alas, in my kitchen, I get to do the tea buying and I’m afraid, FOP Select, you not only lack the pesticides and artificial fertilizers I avoid in my tea, but you also lack the taste I seek. We’ll let you know if we have any openings.

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East Side Rob is chief marketing officer for a philanthropy, where he spends a lot of time working late, contemplating a saner life, and drinking lots of — you guessed it — tea.


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