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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.

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.

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.

Lunch tea:

china oolong from Tealuxe (0 Brattle Street, Cambridge)

Another oolong that eludes all description, and I mean this in the best possible way. It is such a wonderful afternoon tea. This type of tea is fast becoming my favorite. Tealuxe also offers Ti Quan Yin, but I wanted to compare different oolongs. Tomorrow I might visit Dado for their dark oolong. I went to Cardullo’s today to check on their orchid oolong from Golden Moon, but the asking price was $25 for 4.5 ounces. Not horrible, but a little too pricey for my wallet right now.

Pre-dinner and dinner tea:

Ti Kuan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) from Dado Tea (50 Church Street, Cambridge)

I didn’t find this tea to be very aromatic. It was certainly hard to make out the flavor from smelling it. The leaves were black and fine, but the flavor was bold and smooth. It had a lasting aftertaste that was a mix of sweet, as in fruity, and nutty. I will definitely try other oolongs after this experience. It left me wanting more.

There was a SNAFU at Tealuxe today. I asked for traditional gyokuro and walked away with genmaicha, which I love, but was really hoping to try something different today for lunch. The worker was apologetic, and I said that no harm was done, but I just wanted to make sure that, being a new tea drinker, I knew the difference between gyokuro and genmaicha. Maybe I came off sounding like a jerk, when in reality, I just wanted to educate myself.