Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: small, dark with scattered golden tips
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: very dark, almost black
Upton Tea Imports has been around for as long as I can remember. Even in the days before I started this blog, my friends would gush about their Quarterly Newsletter that also functions as a catalog. It’s still one of my favorite things to receive in the mail. They are often associated with Darjeeling and Assam teas but the breadth of the selection often surprises. They even carry Colombian teas!
For those wondering, FOP in this tea’s name standings for Flowery Orange Pekoe. Black tea from China’s Yunnan Province is often called Dian Hong. Super tippy versions with lots of bling have become popular, especially with aesthetic focused western drinkers. As much as I love those, there is something to be said for an old school breakfast tea style Yunnan that packs a bit more punch. This one that kind of tea.
The dry leaf was small and fairly dark in color with some scattered golden tips. They had a pleasant earthy aroma with notes of malt. Although somewhat broken, it was not more than you expect to see in an FOP graded tea. Upton’s brewing recommendations were fully boiling water with an infusion time of 3 to 5 minutes. I opted to use my cupping set to prepare this tea rather than brewing it gongfu style. The broken leaf style lends itself a bit better to this method. Plus, I need to practice using them more. I can be such a clutz when pouring with a cupping set.
Yunnan FOP Select brewed up a dark shade of reddish amber. The taste was brisk but not overly bitter. There was some astringency but just enough to make it refreshing. It had a natural sweetness accompanied by an intriguing spicy note and just a bit of dark cacao. Upton’s tasting notes of white pepper and cassia are spot on. A subtle smokiness in the finish rounded out the cup with a somewhat dry finish.
If you enjoy golden monkey style black teas, this is definitely one that I would recommend trying because the flavor notes are similar. I do not usually add milk to my teas but one of the reviews on Upton’s site mentioned that it held up well. As I finished writing this review I noticed that it currently out of stock. Thankfully Upton Tea Importers has a feature on their website where you can ask to be notified when it becomes available.
Have you ever tried Yunnan FOP Select? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!