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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!

Idulgashinna Estate OP1 Green Organic
TC38: With its sweet fruity flavor profile and smooth, bright character, this is one of my favorite green teas. It’s the perfect choice for anyone starting their green tea journey as it’s not as vegetal as other green teas.

Putharjhora Estate Silver Spring SFTGFOP1 Dooars
TO61: This tea is cultivated in a region just south of Darjeeling. As a first flush picking, it shares the same sweet tropical notes and cornsilk nuances, making it a great choice for first flush Darjeeling lovers looking to expand their explorations. The freshness of spring in your cup!

James Taylor Breakfast Blend
TB11: This is the quintessential black tea from Ceylon, bright and lively, perfect for a morning eye-opener. History in your cup!
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.

Rama Tulsi
BH106: I love the sweet anise notes, contrasted with the sharp black pepper and bittersweet cocoa hints. I enjoy relaxing with this caffeine-free treat in the evenings.

Vietnamese Eastern Beauty Oolong
TV44: I savor the fragrance of ripe stone fruit and honey whenever I prepare a cup of this tea. This is a cuppa for when I have time to linger.

Golden Kenya GFBOP
TK25: This is top of the list of my breakfast time rotation. The rosy floral sweetness and the crisp, brisk character awaken my senses and I’m ready for the day.
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.

Whisky Barrel Smoked Japanese Black Tea Cherry Wood
TJ103: This tea is perfect if you enjoy a peated Scotch whisky. It has a nice balance of smokey flavor and a hint of cherry wood. The smoke flavor is not overwhelming as some lapsang souchong teas. I enjoy sipping this tea late in the afternoon while I read a good book.

Colombian Bold Breakfast Blend Organic
TSA8: I recommend this tea to anyone who enjoys breakfast blends. Even though Columbian teas are new to the market, you will not be disappointed with this tea. The hints of baking chocolate and toasty notes make it different from the other breakfast blends, and is excellent hot or cold tea. This tea also holds up well with some milk or cream.
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.

Chai Spice Black Tea
NT33: The flavor of the spices as well as the aroma of this tea gives me a nice lift in the afternoon. I sometimes drink this tea iced and add evaporated milk.

Season’s Pick Japanese Sencha Organic
TJ00: This is the tea that I wake up with every morning. It has a nice but mild vegetal flavor and subtle sweetness.

China Pu-Erh Tuo Cha
ZH30 -Strong, dark with a slightly smoky and musty flavor. This tea has a heavy mouth feel and has a taste that is unlike most other teas. This is the tea that I prefer to drink on a weekend afternoon when I have time to savor a strong flavorful tea.
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.

Jungpana Estate First Flush (2023 DJ-4) FTGFOP1 Darjeeling
TD222: This is my favorite first flush Darjeeling of the 2023 season. The delightfully floral aroma, reminiscent of honeysuckle, lifts my mood

Bulang Mountain Shou Pu-Erh Cake
ZH101: There is something warming about the dark, earthy flavor of this aged Pu-Erh that reminds me of cinnamon and the smell of leather. It’s a very special tea so I reserve it for chilly, rainy days.

Kagoshima Kabuse Sencha
TJ79: I am in love with this Japanese green tea. It is so green, like drinking the essence of life. It smells like spring and takes me back to my trip to Japan. Sip it hot or iced for the ultimate refreshing beverage.
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.

Honey Oolong
ZO77: The honey flavor, along with the smooth finish, makes this one of my go-to teas. From first thing in the morning to afternoon, it is a tea I enjoy all day.

Peach Sky Black Tea
NT98: The black tea flavor goes well with the peachy aroma and flavor. This tea is great iced and is refreshing on those hot summer afternoons.
My great love of tea started very young with my mom who always believed in tea for common ailments; in our house, chamomile with some honey could fix just about anything. As I got older, I soon learned that there was a whole world outside of chamomile and plain black tea. Once I discovered the expansive culture of loose leaf tea, I was mesmerized, I was changed and became unequivocally certain that this was my calling in life. I have been drinking many a tea ever since. I love traveling through tea and I believe tea can unify the world one cup at a time. Joining Upton Tea has been a dream come true. I’m honored to be part of a team whose passion for tea is matched to my own and I’m excited to share some of my favorites with you.

Competition Temomi Shincha
TJ99: Japanese green teas are my personal favorite as I love the vegetal taste. This tea is elegant, and the flavor is delicate and meant to be savored. It has all the embodiment of umami. The leaves are traditionally hand rolled, and it is beautiful to watch. I not only enjoy this tea for its unsurpassable flavor but respect its origins as well.

Four Season Spring Dong Pian Oolong
TT77: This tea is astounding, it is the perfect spring season in a cup of tea. It is smooth, with notes of lilac scenting the air. It has a buzzing honey sweetness that becomes even more pronounced as the tea cools. It makes the season sparkle with dewy hints of melon throughout the cup. If you feel like having a serene cup of tea in a proper cottage garden, this tea is pure bliss. I love it and look forward to a venture into the rose garden with this tea on weekends.

Yunnan Golden Buds Organic
ZY106: This tea is truly a treasure, the cup is well-rounded, and the flavors have depth. This is my weekend go-to. I love the smoothness of this tea and, working hard, this tea plays hard. Its flavor has multiple layers, from cherry to cocoa and maltiness, and it’s a smooth cup. Yunnan never disappoints, Perfect for the start of the weekend or a vacation.
Tea was a beverage not frequently offered in my household growing up. I knew tea to be crushed particles in a bag attached to a string and staple, which was quite often passed up for something more culturally acceptable, such as a cappuccino. It wasn’t until many years later, after a long day of hustle and bustle, that I had my first tea-mind experience. After a delicious Moroccan feast, my guests and I had the privilege of witnessing and enjoying a traditional Moroccan tea ceremony. The ornate teapot poured at notable height, and alas, in my cup was a warm, foamy cup of green tea. Intrigued by the deliberate technique, I sipped this intoxicating beverage and suddenly felt centered and at peace. Little did I know that it was the start of a tea journey that would soon take me all around the world.

Magnolia Blossom Oolong
ZM65: This flavorful cup does not disappoint. It has a beautiful, soothing aroma of floral blossoms, yet is rich and light without astringency. I highly recommend this as an afternoon tea must-have, but, truthfully, it is so delicious and can be enjoyed at any time of day.

Gen-Mai Cha
TJ21: This toasty and savory tea is as rich in history as it is in your cup. Literally meaning “brown rice tea”, the popped brown rice is mixed with Japanese sencha combining the fresh grassy flavor of tea to the warm, nutty aroma of roasted rice. It’s hearty flavor provides a wonderful place-holder in between meals.

Balasun Estate First Flush FTGFOP1 (2023 DJ-7) Darjeeling
TD224: Having cupped hundreds of first flush Darjeeling teas this season, this Balasun is my favorite. I found this tea to be particularly fruity, but well-balanced with floral notes. It epitomizes the goal of all Darjeeling teas: springtime in a cup. It’s so wonderful that I continue to return to this tea almost daily!
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