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Alex Zorach

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Member since Sep. 1st, 2009. Reviewed 1429 teas.

Reviews of Teas & Herbal Teas from China

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Picture of Organic Wuyuan Ruikang Hairpoint

Organic Wuyuan Ruikang Hairpoint from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Green Tea – Region: Wuyuan, Jiangxi, China

83 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 5/5
Mar. 7th, 2010

Upton seems to excel at inexpensive, organic Chinese green teas, and this one is no exception. The thin, wiry leaves have an interesting appearance both before and after brewing.

Aroma is very grassy and a little bit vegetal, with some dark floral tones almost more suggestive of a black tea. Grassier, sweeter, and...

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Picture of Organic Imperial Bai Hao Oolong

Organic Imperial Bai Hao Oolong from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Oriental Beauty – Region: China

47 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
Mar. 4th, 2010

I found this tea to be weak in aroma and flavor. The aroma is slightly earthy but lighter than typical for a bai hao oolong, with light floral and vegetal tones, a hint of spice, and a suggestion of fruitiness. I think it's a stretch to call the aroma "complex" because it's so weak. The color of the cup is surprisin...

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Picture of Chun Mee (Moon Palace)

Chun Mee (Moon Palace) from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Chun Mee – Region: China

80 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 5/5
Mar. 2nd, 2010

This tea got my attention with the first sip--another chun mee of unusual quality, like rodents of unusual size. Similar to ZG42 (Chun mee dao ming) in how inexpensive it is relative to its quality, but very different in character.

The aroma is very complex: significantly grassier than any other Chun Mee I've tried...

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Picture of Green Pu-Erh Tuo Cha

Green Pu-Erh Tuo Cha from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Raw (Sheng) Pu-erh – Region: Yunnan, China

80 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Mar. 1st, 2010

Very smoky, but in an exceedingly mellow way, totally unlike gunpowder or lapsang souchong. This tea has a remarkable smoothness to it, unlike any other green tea I've tried, and if it weren't for the smokiness I'd be tempted to describe it as creamy. Cool and clean tasting, yet without bitterness. Full-bodied, and ...

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Picture of Roasted Oolong

Roasted Oolong from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Tie Guan Yin – Region: China

77 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 5/5
Feb. 25th, 2010

Aroma is mellow and smooth, with a pleasant woody quality. Stronger in flavor than Upton's similarly-priced non-roasted Tie Guan Yin's. I found this tea to be subtle; it grew on me, and I enjoyed the last cup I made from the sample significantly more than the first. Oddly, I find that much of the flavor sinks to the...

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Picture of Season's Pick Organic White Fannings

Season's Pick Organic White Fannings from Upton Tea Imports

Style: White Tea – Region: China

57 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 4/5
Feb. 25th, 2010

I find Upton's description of this tea to be very accurate, and I like their brewing instructions.

On the dark end for a white tea, but lighter than some shou mei's. Surprisingly aromatic for fannings! The aroma is bold and earthy, slightly crisp and fresh, and, as Upton describes, there are some nutty tones in th...

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Picture of Lichee Black Tea

Lichee Black Tea from Foojoy

Style: Lychee Black Tea – Region: China

60 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 5/5
Feb. 20th, 2010

Pleasantly fruity, yet with a black tea that has some presence. The aroma suggests sweetness but this tea can get quite bitter. Not the most complex tea but it is well-balanced and enjoyable.

As with Foojoy's other teas, this one is unparalleled among teabag teas of this price. I recommend a brief (1-2 min.) infu...

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Picture of Organic Pai Mu Tan

Organic Pai Mu Tan from Upton Tea Imports

Style: White Peony Tea – Region: China

50 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 1/5 Value: 2/5
Feb. 16th, 2010

This particular pai mu tan smells more like an actual peony than any others I've tried.. The aroma is actually fairly powerful, although when you sip the cup it is a bit bland...this tea doesn't have much flavor. There is a very mild, unpleasant sourness to this tea too. Smooth, but I don't notice any sweetness at a...

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Picture of Orange Sencha

Orange Sencha from Two Leaves and a Bud

Style: Fruit Green Tea – Region: China

27 / 100 Aroma: 2/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 1/5
Feb. 11th, 2010

Aroma mostly of orange peel, overwhelming the green tea. The orange in the aroma is not particularly fruity, and has a dry quality to it. Although the tea presence is weak, I find that it blends well with the orange, but produces a tea that has an imbalanced aroma, coming across more like a cleaning solution than a t...

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Picture of Yunnan Green Supreme Organic

Yunnan Green Supreme Organic from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Green Tea – Region: Yunnan, China

73 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Feb. 2nd, 2010

This tea has a pungent aroma unlike any other green tea I've sampled before. It reminds me of a hoppy beer like an India Pale Ale, and the bitterness in the tea is similar to that of a strong IPA. The aroma is more like a typical black tea than a green tea to me--I would probably guess incorrectly that it was black t...

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Picture of Fen Huan Dan Cong

Fen Huan Dan Cong from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Dancong Oolong – Region: China

73 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 4/5
Dec. 25th, 2009

Very complex. This one is much less fruity and floral than the other feng huang dancong I've tried (from Adagio), but it still has a faint suggestion of fruit...the aroma is cooler, and more skunky, woody, and perhaps earthy. Yet there is a similar light, peppery quality in the aroma. This tea also becomes astringen...

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Picture of Organic China Lapsang Souchong

Organic China Lapsang Souchong from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Lapsang Souchong – Region: China

50 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Dec. 20th, 2009

It's hard for me to evaluate this tea because I am not much of a fan of Lapsang Souchong...but this is among the smoothest of the ones I've tried so far. Perhaps I'd develop a taste for it if I drank it more often.

Very strong smoky aroma, more like a sausage or fireplace than a tea. Flavor is extremely smooth and...

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Picture of Dragon Well (Anhui)

Dragon Well (Anhui) from Rishi Tea

Style: Dragon Well (Long Jing) – Region: Anhui, China

73 / 100 Aroma: 7/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Dec. 17th, 2009

This was a very gentle green tea. Delicate aroma with a hint of toastiness; less grassiness than other dragonwells I've tried. This particular tea is extremely smooth and low in both bitterness and astringency even when I brewed it with water hotter than recommended...I also found it can be brewed much longer than Ri...

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Picture of Lungching Green Tea

Lungching Green Tea from Foojoy

Style: Dragon Well (Long Jing) – Region: China

67 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 5/5
Dec. 8th, 2009

While this pales in comparison to loose dragon well teas that I've tried, it's definitely true to the style. The low price and simple packaging of the teabags are deceptive...this tea retains a lot of complexity. It brews a rich golden color and is quite aromatic. If you let it brew a long time, it acquires some ast...

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Picture of Chinese Oolong

Chinese Oolong from Bigelow Tea

Style: Oolong Tea – Region: China

40 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 2/5
Dec. 8th, 2009

A darker oolong, somewhat nondescript. No objectionable qualities but overall weak and not very interesting. Not much of the complexity that I expect. I think this one lags behind the quality of Bigelow's flavored teas.

In tea bags of a similar price range, I think Ten Ren offers better oolongs, and they have sev...

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Picture of Dragon Pearl Jasmine

Dragon Pearl Jasmine from Harney and Sons

Style: Jasmine Pearls – Region: Fujian, China

63 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Nov. 28th, 2009

Complex aroma, less floral than most Jasmines and than I had expected. I liked this tea but I'm not sure I perceived it the same way it is described...it tasted a little bit peppery to me...the base tea reminded me somewhat of a white peony and somewhat of a pouchong. This tea is gentle if you brew it briefly but can...

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Picture of White Peony (Bai Mu Dan)

White Peony (Bai Mu Dan) from Two Leaves and a Bud

Style: White Peony Tea – Region: Fujian, China

70 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Nov. 28th, 2009

A rich, full-bodied tea, brews a dark orange color and is fairly bitter. The aroma is fairly complex. There are some pleasant vegetal tones too. Pleasant aftertaste too.

I really like this tea; it's one of the few white peony teas that I've tried that has been bold and full-bodied enough for me. It's almost a li...

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Picture of China Breakfast

China Breakfast from Rishi Tea

Style: Yunnan Red – Region: Yunnan, China

70 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 3/5
Nov. 3rd, 2009

Wow. I love the aroma of this tea...it is much more vegetal than most black teas, clean and fresh, and yet warm too. Smooth and yet relatively full-bodied, but thin relative to some breakfast teas. No astringency.

I do notice the peppery tones characteristic of a dian hong. The aroma is pleasingly complex. Ther...

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Picture of Dancong Aria

Dancong Aria from Adagio Teas

Style: Dancong Oolong – Region: China

67 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 3/5
Oct. 27th, 2009

Aroma very complex with a lot of things going on. The dark leaves surprisingly brew a light amber liquor that is very clear. Initially a strong fruity aroma like dried apricot, some vegetal tones. Upon drinking, a bit peppery. Very smooth and clean. No bitterness, rather sweet, but with some astringency. A bit th...

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Picture of China Pu-Erh Leaf

China Pu-Erh Leaf from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Pu-erh Tea – Region: Yunnan, China

53 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 4/5
Oct. 20th, 2009

This is not my favorite loose-leaf ripened pu-erh. It's palatable and noticeably better than random ones I've sampled. The aroma is dusty, not terribly rich or complex. Pretty smooth flavor. Enjoyable. I prefer ZH26.

And of course, I really strongly prefer Sheng Pu-erh. I do not think Pu-erh is Upton's strong ...

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Picture of Pu-erh Loose Jia Ji

Pu-erh Loose Jia Ji from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Pu-erh Tea – Region: China

47 / 100 Aroma: 4/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 2/5
Oct. 20th, 2009

Perhaps I'm not a "discerning pu-erh enthusiast" but I failed to appreciate this one any more than Upton's basic loose pu-erh, and it's about twice the price. The aroma is somehow lighter and less rich and earthy. It does have a clean aftertaste as described, but it's less intensely aromatic. I prefer ZH26 and altho...

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Picture of Organic Pu-Erh

Organic Pu-Erh from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Pu-erh Tea – Region: China

57 / 100 Aroma: 5/10 Flavor: 4/5 Value: 3/5
Oct. 20th, 2009

I find this pu-erh to have a richer and warmer earthy aroma as compared to both ZH20 and ZH65. Very smooth but with some nice complexity. While you can make multiple infusions with this tea, later infusions lose some of the complexity...I usually make only one very long infusion.

In the end though? I don't really...

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Picture of Special Grade Shou Mei White Tea

Special Grade Shou Mei White Tea from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Shou Mei White Tea – Region: China

77 / 100 Aroma: 8/10 Flavor: 5/5 Value: 3/5
Oct. 14th, 2009

Deep reddish brown color, and very clear. More delicate than typical for a Shou Mei, but still fairly rich and full. Very smooth flavor; no bitterness, and a clean, cool aftertaste.

Unlike Upton's other Shou Mei's for which I found the brewing instructions to be right on, this one I like to brew differently. I br...

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Picture of First Grade Shou Mei White Tea

First Grade Shou Mei White Tea from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Shou Mei White Tea – Region: Fujian, China

60 / 100 Aroma: 6/10 Flavor: 2/5 Value: 4/5
Oct. 14th, 2009

Brownish leaves with some silvery and green mixed in. Light aroma of fall leaves and honey with some vegetal tones. Some astringency and a noticeably unpleasant sourness, although no bitterness.

Of Upton's 3 Shou Mei teas of similar price (see ZW62, ZW23), this is the one I like least. This one is much more simil...

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Picture of Shou Mei Classic

Shou Mei Classic from Upton Tea Imports

Style: Shou Mei White Tea – Region: Fujian, China

80 / 100 Aroma: 9/10 Flavor: 3/5 Value: 5/5
Oct. 14th, 2009

Of Upton three Shou Mei's of similar price, this is my favorite. Leaves greener as Shou Mei goes. Aroma is fresh, clean and vegetal, perhaps even a bit grassy. Very rich aroma; this is the most aromatic of any Shou Mei that I've sampled. Less sweet than most white teas. My only complaint is a fair amount of astrin...

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