Country of Origin: Sri Lanka
Leaf Appearance: dark, tightly packed in green rind
Steep time: 3 minutes
Water Temperature: 190 degrees
Preparation Method: glass tea infuser
Liquor: pale gold
It’s been really fun rediscovering Upton Tea Imports over the course of these last few months. They’ve been in the specialty tea game since 1989. This makes them the same age as my younger sister and a bit of a pseudo-millennial, like myself, but they’ve been around longer than most of the tea companies you’ll find in the U.S. these days. I have a lot of fond memories of persuing their Tea Quarterly when I was just starting to explore the world of tea. Even though they have a modern website, it is endearingly old-timey that you can still get tea via mail order.
The dry leaf of this tea was beautiful to look at, calling to find the moonlight whites of Yunnan that I love so much. Being from Sri Lanka, the style was a bit different but the soft, silvery tops and dark undersides were very similar. The liquor brewed up a pale gold with lots of trichomes floating about in my cup. I tried this using their western brewing directions which was very nice but I definitely preferred it gongfu style in my shibordashi. This is a pretty flexible tea so I would definitely recommend experimenting to find your own preferences.
The taste was very mild and sweet with no astringency or bitterness whatsoever. Notes of honey and vanilla danced around a grounded vegetal quality that reminded me of crisp edamame. This is a tea that I would definitely recommend drinking unfiltered. All of those trichomes really affect the texture of the tea. The mouthfeel was wonderfully thick and soft and you won’t want to miss out on any of that. When gongfu’ing, I found myself really stretching out the infusion times on later infusions to really concentrate the inherent sweetness.
Have you tried this tea? I’d love to hear your tasting notes in the comments below!