Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Upton Tea Imports, Baker Street

A bit of Lapsang Souchong is blended with Keemun and Darjeeling, yielding a mildly smoky tea. Perfect for an afternoon uplift. Another special (whole-leaf) blend from our London source of fine teas.
Origin: England

This is my first Upton tea. I received this as a gift sample from a friend. I opened the small plastic bag and sniffed. It smells quite smoky in the packet. Next, I took out a spoonful to examine. The leaf pieces are small and mostly dark with some orange leaf in the mix.

I steeped this for 3 minutes in my press using boiling water. The wet leaf plumped nicely into healthy Ahmad sized pieces. For those who don’t compare the leaf to their favorite inexpensive grocery store tea, this means the leaf is slightly larger than Twinings leaf. Oops. I’m still doing it. The wet leaf smells of smoke and burnt cocoa with a touch of sweetness. It smells promising.

I did not have the product description before writing down the following tasting notes. I am pretty happy to see I got this one correct. The sip tastes far less smoky than it smells. Even better, you can taste the tea underneath the smoke. This tastes like a Keemun but there is a wine like flavor mixed in there with it that reminds me of Darjeeling. This is really nice and balanced. It has good depth and complexity. This is an interesting cup.

Now looking at the description, I don’t get the whole leaf comment as this is small cut pieces. Regardless, the flavor is top notch.

A year ago I wouldn’t have given this tea the time of day because of my fear of the smoke. That is a shame. Fear robs you from all kinds of enjoyment in life. Let your guard down. Live! You might be surprised what wonderful experiences are waiting for you.