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upton tea review

Original Earl Grey (TE10)/Upton Tea Imports -VariaTEA

Photo Credit: Upton Tea

I don’t really like strong bergamot flavor. Every now and then I’ll reach for an Earl Grey Cream or a flavored Earl Grey but a straight Earl Grey has never been my thing. However, a friend was kind enough to share a sample of Upton Tea Imports’ Original Earl Grey (TE10) and so I figured it was at least worth a try. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t going to try and make the best of it so I found a London Fog recipe online and got to prepping.

I steeped 3 perfect teaspoons in 8 ounces of boiling water for 4 minutes per the company’s steeping parameters. I used the 3/4 of cup of leftover coconut milk in my fridge, topped with some 1% milk to get to 1 cup. I frothed the milk with 2 teaspoons of honey and one removed from the heat I added 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract. This got poured over the steeped tea.

This is a super creamy latte with a whole lot of coconut and vanilla flavor. Coconut milk is always very rich but to me it is always a touch heavy and seems ever-so-slightly savory (for lack of a better word and maybe because I associate it with thai food more than anything else). I am glad I diluted it down with the 1% milk as well. The honey comes through as a nice balance to the coconut and vanilla, adding some sweetness but not as much as I expected, which is preferable for my tastes.

Of course, how could I talk about a London Fog without mentioning the earl grey itself. I actually am happily sipping away at this one because the bergamot is very nicely balanced. It adds a freshness and a nice citrus flavor but one that is more suited to the cool fall weather. Whereas lemon and lime are typically bright and zingy and make for a nice and refreshing tea in the spring and summer, London Fogs are more cozy. This definitely fits that description.

Unfortunately given all the other ingredients I can’t definitively say that this tea is good or bad but as a base for a London Fog, this tea is perfect. It’s got enough bergamot flavor to push through everything else in the mug without being too harsh or overbearing. Furthermore, from what I can taste, I would say this is good quality given the base is not bitter or astringent either. I still have a fair amount of leaf left in the sample but with this new recipe, courtesy of the Nourishing Gourmet .  I am sure I will make quick work of it.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Upton Tea Imports

Description

China Black tea base with bergamot flavor. Produced for the British market, this tea has less bergamot than some American counterparts.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

China Keemun First Grade/Upton Tea Imports -Ashmanra-

I received a gift of this tea in the mail from a fellow tea lover. Tea people are THE BEST! And Keemun is one of my favorite tea types, so let’s get down to business!

The package says First Grade China Keemun but the website puts it the other way around as China Keemun First Grade. This is an entry level Keemun with an astonishingly low price, so if you are not overly picky and want a daily drinker, this would be very economical.

The aroma of the dry leaves is very nostalgic for me. It smells just like the tea section of A Southern Season, harkening back to my earliest explorations of tea. This smells like TEA. The aroma is bracing and rich, and very comforting to me.

I erred on the side of caution and made this more like they would in China with a slightly lower temperature and a short three minute first steep, followed by a four minute re-steep.

Wow. I can not imagine taking this to five minutes with boiling water unless you are adding milk and sugar. Strong stuff.

I am getting no cocoa at all, no chocolate. The overwhelming impression is tobacco and wood.
There is a touch of wine or muscatel, like a darjeeling. There is a definite natural smokey flavor, not like lapsang but rather the light smoke often found in daily drinker Chinese black tea.

The aroma had so many layers and was so rich that I really thought the tea was going to blow me away. But it isn’t quite my favorite profile. I enjoyed it without milk or sugar with my breakfast, but this wouldn’t do double duty for me as an afternoon tea or a dessert accompaniment.

What I think it WILL do very well is sweet iced tea. It has the heft and smoothness to carry it off.

UPDATE: I made it as a sweet tea and let it chill overnight because we all know iced tea tastes best after it has had time to meld.

The taste really surprised me. I thought it would be a really classic iced black tea flavor but somehow the fruity aspect really amped up, to the point that it almost tastes like a flavored tea! Interesting!

Not a favorite Keemun type for me, but glad to have tried it. If you like winey Keemuns and are looking for a super economical price point, this is worth checking out.

 


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Upton Tea Imports

Description

With its rich flavor profile and smooth mouth feel, this standard grade Keemun represents a great value for a China black tea. Hints of wine and a suggestion of smoke round out the earthy, full-bodied cup.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Mist Valley Estate TGBOP1/Upton Tea

I usually drink black tea from China, but today I am making a little excursion to Nepalese black tea! My expectation is that it will taste more similar to tea from India than from China, and I was correct. It even had a tiny darjeeling vibe!

This is a high-grown tea from an estate that has been in operation since 1989 and has been processing their own tea since 2004. They are currently converting their operations to all organic, so I am looking forward to trying it again in the future!

This is indeed a broken orange pekoe with shades ranging from golden tan to deep brown. In the photo online it shows a lot of green like a darjeeling but my own sample is more tan and almost a cream color mixed with the darker leaves.

I kept the steep on the short side (two minutes) in case this was more reminiscent of an Assam, a tea that is tasty but wreaks havoc on my tender tummy, but I must say it was very well-behaved and perfectly drinkable without additions.

Being high-grown, I thought it might be a bit on the astringent side, but it is only pleasantly brisk. It has a truly classic black tea aroma and taste, mild but not wimpy, lightly brisk but not tart and puckery, and I would call it all around a good basic black tea. It is not overly complex drinking it western style as I am, but at this price I do not expect complex tea. It was a very good accompaniment to my lunch.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Upton Tea

Description

In hues ranging from light to dark brown, the small, neatly made leaves of this Nepal black tea offering are sprinkled with silver tips. The golden amber liquor is fragrant with a light, fresh aroma. The flavor is rich with floral notes and a sweet, lingering finish.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!