Sunday, December 27, 2015
My first cup of tea came at the end of a night's work when, vague memory tells me, the cool New England air, the convenience of Dunkin Donuts, and an experimental mood led me to order a cup. I imagined it would be unpleasant, so I assented to sugar. The girl scrunched up her eyebrow when I asked for three. That hot syrup hit close enough to the mark that I brought the drink, with rapidly lessened sweetening, into my beverage routine.
At the supermarket, I managed to skip past Lipton, Tetley, Nestea, and Red Rose, instead going for Bigelow then Twinings on a friend's recommendation. Not long after, out west, I found Stash at the grocery store and discovered Market Spice's loose-leaf array. From this point, I sought tea shops for stocking up and had pretty good luck overall, but a move back east into a semirural area meant mail order would become the new order.
SpecialTeas' style, selection, and price made me a regular. I supplemented my SpecialTeas favorites, for a couple of years, with selections from Portsmouth Tea Company scooped straight from the warehouse barrel. Then that shop made a couple of missteps (leading to its demise) and SpecialTeas got absorbed by Teavana (a company for which I had already gained an aversion), so I was forced to seek out a new online source. I landed at Upton Tea Imports and have stuck there since. Gifts and random finds keep variety on the shelf.
Upton says I've ordered these. I use ***** for the best. Four stars is threshold for "would order again."
DJ70: Tindharia Estate 2nd Flush Darjeeling GFTGFOP1 (November 2016)
TA04: Season's Pick Assam FTGFOP Organic (July 2011)
TA07: Season's Pick Assam GFOP Organic (December 2015) ****
TA20: Tippy Orthodox FBOP Assam (November 2016 +) **** Good for breakfast
TA28: Mangalam Estate Assam FTGFOP (September 2017)
TA40: Tippy Orthodox GFOP Assam (April 2017) **** Anytime no nonsense
TB02: Leadenhall Street Blend (June 2016 +) **** Full and earthy
TB05: Mincing Lane Breakfast Blend *** Assam and Yunnan
TB10: Bond Street English Breakfast Blend
TB12: CTC Irish Breakfast Blend (April 2017) **** Sure, why not?
TB14: Scottish Breakfast Blend
TB20: River Shannon Breakfast Blend **** Reliable day-starter
TB51: East Frisian BOP
TB52: East Frisian TGFOP (November 2016) *** Adequate, not exemplary
TB75: Baker Street Afternoon Blend (annual) ***** Smoky but balanced
TE01: Season's Pick Earl Grey Crème Vanilla (May 2015) *** Vanilla overpowers bergamot
TE10: Original Earl Grey
TE11: Extra Bergamot English Earl Grey
TE19: Devonshire Earl Grey (June 2016) **** Straightforward
TE57: New England Harvest Blend ***
TI69: Jolotigo Estate Java Orthodox BT (December 2015) *** Meh bonus sample
ZK11: China Keemun First Grade
ZK21: Premium Keemun FOP
ZK97: Keemun Mao Feng (September 2017)
ZK98: China Keemun Mao Feng
ZP22: Panyang Congou Select
ZP76: China Panyang Congou (June 2016) ****
ZP78: China Congou Wu-Yi Golden Monkey *****
ZY24: Yunnan Black Mao Feng (April 2017)
Well, well, well... lookee here
assam birds ceili challenge chill cool crazy curiosity experienced hawaii insects keemun misc miscellany music offerings perennial tea room politics portsmouth tea company possessed puerto rico punkinfiddle through the years qrp rarities review satrupa seen sports sstv from space swl tea thanksgiving travel upton tea imports vhf/uhf w1aqd qsls wanted wish granted wish list