October 25, 2018

Upton Tea Imports - New Zealand Oolong + Tindharia First Flush Darjeeling


Upton Tea Imports was the first tea seller from which I ordered teas. I used to read the catalogues front to back. It was a pleasure to see the packages on my stoop. I placed orders with the company between 2007 and 2009, at least according to my blog records. I didn't stop ordering from Upton for any particular reason, certainly not because of a poor experience with their teas. I was delighted to hear from them this year. I chose two teas, New Zealand Gordonton Estate Oolong and Tindharia Estate First Flush FTGFOP1 (EX-1) Organic Darjeeling, both of which I review here, and received a gift of Pre-Chingming Silver Sprout Green Tea.

I chose the oolong and Darjeeling for specific reasons. I did not drink enough first flush Darjeelings last year. I told myself if I was given the opportunity to drink a first flush this year, I should take it. Upton Tea Imports offers many first flushes so it was a difficult to choose only one but in the end, the Tindharia was most appealing. As for the oolong, I wanted to drink an oolong with which I had little experience. I had drunk only drunk a New Zealand rolled oolong one other time to my knowledge.

Related - Tea Tasting with Yoon Hee Kim of Tea Classics


Each tea was prepared per the instructions provided by Upton Tea Imports. The parameters for the oolong are 1t/6oz/3m/190F and for the Darjeeling are 1t/6oz/3m/212F.

New Zealand Gordonton Estate Oolong

Before steeping this oolong, I worried that 1 teaspoon wouldn't yield a flavorful cup of tea. The first infusion was light in color and in the flavor: pale yellow with a slight butteriness and a hint of flowers. The dried leaves had promising scents so I steeped a second cup using the same tea leaves and 195F water for 4 minutes. The tea had an improved body with olive oil taste and texture. There were floral notes mid tongue and everything lingered. There was a subtle roast flavor when aerated. As the tea cooled, I detected a slight dryness and a cherry tartness on the roof of my mouth.


Tindharia Estate First Flush FTGFOP1 (EX-1) Organic Darjeeling

The dry leaves of this Darjeeling smelled herbaceous, sweet, floral, and woody. When rinsed, a stone-fruit pit bitterness wafted from the teapot. The light brown liquor yielded herbaceous notes first followed by maple candy sweetness. Both lingered. The medium-bodied tea had a pleasant astringency layered with apricot jam on the roof of my mouth. The maple note declined as the tea cooled but the liquor was still sweet and left a slight hairiness at the back of my throat. I infused the leaves a second time and although the cup was less intense, it had more balance among the flavors.


The Takeaway

Use more leaves when infusing the oolong. Also, consider a higher water temperature. I was happy with the Darjeeling, but keep a close eye on the steep time. The Darjeeling my favorite of the two teas. Finally, I would encourage tea companies to provide steeping parameters for Western and non-western infusion styles.

The New Zealand Oolong and Tindharia First Flush Darjeeling were provided by Upton Tea Imports.

2 comments :

  1. Wonderful tea review and it makes me want to crack open my Darjeeling teas to compare. It's as if I could taste the teas you reviewed, thank you and wonderful job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Notes on Tea11/3/18, 8:11 PM

      Gabie, thank you for your generous comment!

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