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This evening while watching basketball I drank a China Competition Grade Top Tie-Guan-Yin, a personal favorite oolong of mine – but then again all oolongs are personal favorites. I can honestly say that I have not had a oolong that I did not enjoy. This tea comes from Upton Tea Imports.

I received two grams or .1 ounces, which was just barely enough to make eight ounces of tea. I could have easily added another half teaspoon of tea to my infuser.

Description from Upton’s website:
This handmade specialty Oolong is the finest Tie-Guan-Yin we have seen in recent years. The liquor is smooth and sweet, with a complex, orchid-like aroma.

In looking at their website, Upton only sells this tea in two grams and 10 grams. I feel very fortunate to have been able to experience this tea. The floral aftertaste is very apparent and extremely delightful.

The liquor, as you can see, is a pleasant yellow-green, which was very clean.

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I have been on hiatus from this lovely place for several months, and I am happy to say that I have decided to return. My love for tea has been re-inspired by a visit to my favorite tea cafe in Harvard Square with a friend a couple of weeks ago.

While visiting the aforementioned cafe, I enjoyed a personal favorite oolong tea Ti Kuan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy). My tea-drinking companion had a pot of darjeeling, which I can attest is quite delightful from this establishment.

In other news, the nice people at Mighty Leaf have continued to send me tea to review – despite my failings as a blogger of tea. Below you will find a picture of a thermos – or brew mug as they call it – and some samples I received from them. As I sip my tea, I can say that the thermos keeps the tea extremely hot. Today I am enjoying their Green Tea Tropical tea, which as the name suggests is a green tea blended with tropical fruits. Mighty Leaf recommends this tea as a good introduction to the world of green tea to those of you who are a little hesitant to try this type of tea. I highly recommend this tea.

For those of you reluctant to try loose tea, Mighty Leaf’s biodegradable tea pouches are the perfect solution. They provide a convenient, no-hassle way to enjoy tea, and many of their tea pouches can now be found at your local grocery store.

Here is a video showcasing how to use the brew mug. While I found it is very intuitive, I must admit that the video really does an adequate job of explaining the product.

If you have a brew mug or have tried Mighty Leaf’s tea, please let me know your thoughts.

Mighty Leaf Tea

Evening tea: rishi tea’s organic wuyi oolong tea

According to the packaging, there are “sweet notes of raisins, honeysuckle, and roasted sugar.”

I tried this without any sweetener, but found the tea to be too mild. I had used two tablespoons despite being directed to only use one, but I still did not find the flavor to be very strong. I am used to very bold oolong teas, so this came as some surprise to me.

I added my beloved wildflower honey from the Essex County Beekeepers Association, and had a completely different drinking experience. I thought at first that the taste of honey would not complement an oolong, but I can attest quite on the contrary.

Late night tea 4.26.08:

floral tie-guan-yin from Upton Tea Imports

This comes from a 6 gram sample I purchased from Upton. My order was a little green tea and oolong heavy, but I am learning the nuances in these two types of tea. This tea felt so luxurious. It tasted as if I was sipping on flower petals. While some of you might not find this appealing, please be rest assured that was an incomparable experience. I can tell that this tea drinking is going to really cost me a lot of money.

Dinner tea:

green oolong from Dado Tea (50 Church Street, Cambridge)

I thought it was about time I tried a green oolong. This was a much milder flavor that what I have experienced with other oolongs; however, I am not overly familiar with floral oolongs. The leaves were full like the body of this tea. Dado offers premium quality tea at excellent prices ($2.25-2.50/16 oz.). Now that it is warming up here in New England, I will have to start experimenting with their iced teas, but I will be staying away from their iced chai. While their hot chai is top notch, the iced chai tastes too water laden.

Everyday tea:

orchid oolong by Mighty Leaf Tea

I have been sipping on this tea since I received it in the mail on Friday, so it is hard to say when I would have it. It seems to be good for breakfast, afternoon, and late evening consumption. It is pure coconut goodness. I am having a hard time deciding how it would compare to other orchid oolong teas insofar as this is my first experience with a orchid oolong, but if they are half as good as this one, I would definitely be pleased. I could not recommend this tea more. The tea pouch it comes in is biodegradable and very elegant. Jason said he would add milk and some shredded coconut, but I think it is perfect just the way it is. Thanks, Alexis!

Late night tea:

roasted oolong from Upton Tea Imports (Hopkinton, MA)

Description from catalog:
A classic, medium-oxidized Tie-Guan-Yin, processed in the traditional style, but finished with a process of curing, with a slow firing in bamboo baskets over a charcoal fire. The result is a tea with smooth, rich and inviting character.

This was my first test of my new samples of Upton, and it did not disappoint. This was a very smooth cuppa tea drunk from the new tea cup I purchased from Teavana over the week. (Sorry my camera is dead.) The brewing temperature for this tea was 190 degrees, and it was steeped for 3-4 minutes. It came out a golden brown color, which was easily detected in my new green cup. There was very little dust at the bottom of my cup unlike the genmaicha from Tealuxe and rooibos tropica from Teavana I have been drinking, which was an added treat. I am very pleased with the quality of the tea. While my tap water leaves much to be desired, the oolong had a nice, robust flavor with a hint of nuttiness.

Lunch tea:

tung ting jade oolong from Teavana (Prudential Center, Boston)

Description according to Teavana catalog:
The best of Taiwanese semi-fermented teas, this jade colored Oolong is grown on the Tung Ting Mountain slopes. Gentle and remarkably smooth in flavor, with a flowery undertone. Good for multiple infusions.

This one was not for me. Two sips and it went into the trash. It had a strong taste of cinnamon, but in a dental hygienic way.

I learned today that Teavana’s samples change out once a month and that two (of four) of them are constantly showcased. A little disappointing to be perfectly honest. Now I won’t be visiting them once a week to try out a different tea. I think I will stick to making my purchases through Upton Tea Imports.

Lunch tea:

dark oolong from Dado Tea (50 Church Street, Cambridge)

Dark golden brown in color. Again I did not find that this tea was very aromatic quite like the ti kuan yin from Dado, but nevertheless a wonderful cup of tea. I really enjoy the unique flavor of an oolong.

My package from Upton Tea Imports arrived today. I ordered the following:

15g sample: Green Dew Gunpowder
12g sample: Pi Lo Chun (Green Snail Spring)
15g sample: China Jasmine
15g sample: Roasted Oolong
12g sample: Tie-Guan-Yin Oolong Special Grade
15g sample: No.1 Tippy Orthodox GFOP Darjeeling
6g sample: Floral Tie-Guan-Yin Superior Grade
15g sample: China Green Young Hyson
15g sample: Lung-Ching (Long-Jing) Dragon Well
15g sample: Bond Street English Breakfast Blend (for Jason)
Tea Thermometer

It came in a day. I am really excited to test these samples.