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Staff Favorites

We're passionate about tea and love every opportunity to share that passion with our customers. Below is a list of our favorite teas, along with our cupping notes and a little bit about ourselves and our tea experiences. Enjoy!
Since the early 70s, I have always loved to drink breakfast style teas with milk, no sugar. When I first came to Upton Tea in 1995 and started to discover the depth and variety of fine loose leaf tea, I found myself drawn to the teas I could drink plain - the refined Darjeelings, the spicy Oolongs, the clean greens and the delicate whites. I still enjoy a rich black tea for breakfast most of the time and then move on to lighter bodied teas for the rest of the day. I do love the taste of tea but it is the aroma that I find uplifting and inspiring!

Liza Hill Estate First Flush SFTGFOP1 (2020 DJ-3) Organic Darjeeling
TD132: Every spring, I look forward to the arrival of the first flush Darjeelings with much anticipation! This selection is my current favorite. With its honeyed tropical fruit flavor, it is like sipping the nectar of the gods. A cup of this lovely tea is very rejuvenating and quite delicious.

Colombian Wiry Green Tea Organic
TSA3: My current favorite green tea, this tea is lovely with a silky smooth mouth feel. Hints of cocoa and honey complement a light fruitiness. There's no vegetal flavor at all so it's a great choice for tea lovers looking for a green tea with less of that quality.

New Zealand Oolong
TZ01: All I can say is wow, wow and wow! With its aromatic floral character, this tea amazed me at first sip! This was my first time enjoying a cup of tea that was grown in New Zealand and I look forward to drinking many more cups. Outstanding.
I confess to starting out with strong coffee from the time I was old enough to drink it. The occasional cuppa served well as a comfort beverage. It was not until 2002 and at the insistence of converted family members that I began to make the transition to loose tea. Made easier, I suspect, by the aid of some good Pu-Ehr and Assam teas. Today I still favor the strong cups but have vastly expanded my range thanks to the education I've received over the years from fellow staff members and Upton customers.

Somerset Estate BOP Ceylon
TC57: The richness and velvet smoothness of this cup make it my favorite morning cup. The complex range of the aroma and flavor notes evoke fond memories of my amazing visit to Sri Lanka.

Japanese Matcha Gen-Mai Cha Premium Organic
TJ28: I enjoy the warm toastiness that the brown rice adds to the smooth Sencha base. The dusting Of Matcha tea enhances the sweet vegetal notes and provides extra depth of flavor. It is the perfect tea to follow a meal.

Naturally Flavored Rooibos Candied Almond
BA25: The prominent marzipan notes in the aroma and the cup make this my favorite sweet treat. The warming citrus and vanilla notes of the Rooibos blend perfectly, layered among the sweetness. The bonus is the fact that it's caffeine free, so I can drink it throughout the day, into the evening.
My budding adoration for tea started when I ran a café in my late teens and early 20s. Joining Upton Tea I realized the world of tea was endless. From the Himalayas to the tea fields of Japan to the gardens of Sri Lanka and beyond, there is so much to try and learn. You can taste the terroir in the steeped leaves and I find the aromas to be enthralling. The hard work and dedication it takes to create each and every kind of tea amazes me. To me a cup of tea is a cup of joy.
Sharing tea is probably my favorite part of my job. We see thousands of samples a year, each one of our teas is handpicked to share with the world. My go-to is usually China tea, you can't go wrong with dark, earthy Yunnan or sweet, smooth Yin Zhen white tea. I also enjoy a nice floral Taiwanese oolong to brighten my day. My main focus at Upton is to bring you the best teas the world has to offer and continue the tea journey.
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

Yunnan Black Snail
ZY07: When anyone asks what is my favorite tea I say ZY07! Rich and robust yet smooth and earthy with hints of cocoa. It is delightful and easily approachable for anyone new to tea. I enjoy this hot, iced, with or without dairy – you really cannot go wrong.

Organic Ginger Carrot Beetroot Herbal Blend
BH11: I'm obsessed with this herbal infusion. The first time I tried it I knew I had to bring it in to share with the valued customers. The combination of the savory carrot, earthy beetroot and that ginger spice is perfect. I have never tried an infusion quite like this.

Sheng Cha Pu-Erh Organic
ZH10: I still consider myself new to the world of Pu-Erh, it is its own entity. I go back and forth if I prefer Sheng or Shou – today its Sheng! I love the brightness, the astringency and the unique fruit notes. A must try experience to any tea connoisseur or novice.
I started drinking tea with my wife after we were married 25 years ago. The first teas I enjoyed were Irish-style breakfast blends that I enjoyed with a little milk. Over time, I discovered Oolong, Ceylon and Pu-Erh teas. Now that I'm at Upton Tea, I've expanded my enjoyment to all loose-leaf teas. My current favorite is the Formosa Oolongs and first flush Darjeelings. I enjoy their complex character and the earthy, citrus notes often found in Oolong teas, as well as the freshness.

Formosa Oolong Choicest
TT18: This is my go to tea. It is not a complex tea but it does offer a variety of flavors that makes the tea very enjoyable. I especially enjoy the citrus notes. I will often drink an entire pot of this tea on a Sunday morning.

Season's Pick Assam GFOP Organic
TA07: This full flavor Assam tea with a hint of cocoa is a very good tea at an outstanding price. I particularly enjoy this tea in the early fall.
My introduction into the world of tea started in my thirties as an interest in drinking green tea for its health benefits. This meant drinking plain tasting grocery store tea. After receiving a mug infuser as a present from my mother and doing research online, I started to learn about loose leaf tea and discovered Upton Tea Imports (I was a customer of Upton Tea long before I became an employee). My early tea favorites were the vegetal Japanese Sencha and the Chinese gunpowder teas, which I still enjoy. After a few years of sampling many different teas, I discovered how much I enjoy very robust, dark, earthy, or toasty teas, which for me means Pu-Erh, Oolongs and Lapsang Souchong. My favorite tea experience is sitting down on a cold autumn or winter Saturday afternoon and enjoying multiple cups of Pu-Erh or Oolong teas while reading.

China Pu-Erh Tuo Cha Size 1
ZH30: This hearty tea is not for those who enjoy a light, subtle brew. One small bird's nest (tuo cha) yields a robust, dark, earthy brew with a hint of smokiness in the aftertaste. Pu-Erh, with its strong flavor, dark appearance and full-bodied mouth feel, really warms me up on a cold day and stimulates my mental energy.

Japanese Sencha
TJ10: Sencha is my first choice when I want a tea that is very different than the Oolongs and Pu-Erhs that I drink most of the time. I enjoy the smooth, vegetal flavor that also has a slight hints of nuts.

Lapsang Souchong
ZS20: This tea shocks my taste buds on every sip. There is no other tea that is comparable to Lapsang Souchong. The tea leaves are smoked over pine wood fires, which gives Lapasang Souchong its unique burnt wood flavor and scent. In fact, this is one tea that tastes exactly as you would expect from the aroma. The strong smokiness of this tea seems to linger pleasantly for a long time after every sip. Surprisingly, this tea has a dark golden appearance instead of the black color that I would have expected from the black leaves. I find Lapsang Souchong to be simultaneously comforting and slightly stimulating while creating a pleasant feeling of warmth.
My relationship with tea began when I started sixth grade. Deemed too young for coffee by my mother, I drank grocery store black tea with cream and sugar every morning. As much as I enjoyed my routine, it was not until years later when I began to branch out and try loose leaf teas that I truly fell in love. I started with Japanese greens and traditional breakfast blends, but my colleagues at Upton Tea have coaxed me out of my comfort zone and now I enjoy an eclectic variety of teas from around the world. I firmly believe that a good cup of tea, regardless of origin, strength or variety, can turn your whole day around.

Fujian Oolong Supreme
ZO90: The first time I tried this tea, it left a lasting impression. Light and sweet with notes of fruit, honey and toastiness, I wrote the word “dreamy!” next to its name in my catalog, and I look forward to mornings where this is brewed in the office.

Organic Competition Grade Matcha
TJ93: The bright green hue of this high grade Matcha is mesmerizing. Its sweet vegetal flavor lingers pleasantly after I finish my cup. I savor every sip of this tea whenever I drink it, and I find its effect energizing and invigorating.
Working at Upton Tea Imports for the past 18 years has given me the opportunity to explore and learn about the many different teas from around the world. Being that I like an occasional cup of coffee, the teas I am drawn to are the darker, full-bodied teas.

Cacao Kisses Colombian Black Tea
TSA5: This is my absolute favorite tea. I love its cocoa flavor and richness.

Keemun Mao Feng Organic
ZK68: I love this tea for its hints of cocoa.