Is Upton tea a normal shop?


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Is Upton tea a normal shop?

Postby eugene_b » Dec 26th, '10, 07:13

Hi folks!

I've recently found a new tea shop online however I am bit suspicious about them. Please tell me if you have had any good or bad experience with them.

The shop is
http://www.uptontea.com/shopcart/home.asp

The prices are great...but at the same time suspicious :) Some teas are 2-3 times cheaper than at my local retailer and teaspring (who IMHO already have rather low prices). Additionally all green teas don't have date of production. Like spring 2010, spring 2009, etc. Also no information about flush, they just sell "dragon well", I don't know whether it is 1st, 2nd, etc. flush. And lastly Pu-erhs are super suspicious. They don't even have age, they are selling "Ancient Pu-Erh Mini Tuo Cha". And I don't even start about province, leaves grade, etc.

So what is you opinion of this shop? I googled yesterday and found good reviews about them but at the same time all the above stuff is super suspicious.
Last edited by Chip on Dec 26th, '10, 10:17, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: I have moved this to Other Tea, however I left a "shadow" under TeaClass temporarily. This shadow will expire in 24 hours.
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

Postby eugene_b » Dec 26th, '10, 08:05

Opps, I think I accidentally posted in a wrong section. I am sorry for that, could you please move it to "TeaDay: Daily Cup, TeaPoll & Discussion Topic" (if that's the right section of course).
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

Postby JRS22 » Dec 26th, '10, 09:18

They're definitely a legitimate business with a paper catalogue as well as the web site. Also, when I've called with questions there's always someone available during their business hours. They carry a wide range of teas from many countries and, IMHO, they're not strong in all areas. I've bought a number of teas from them and some were outstanding, others so-so.

I called once about the issue you raised, of harvest year, flush, etc. The person I spoke to said that if the new batch is close enough to the previous batch then they just assign it the same item number, description etc. She was able to give me the harvest year for the items I was inquiring about.

If you search for Upton on Teachat you'll find some posts about specific teas. Since just about everything is available in sample sizes, you can experiment with their teas without much financial risk.
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

Postby Chip » Dec 26th, '10, 10:14

Too many greens and no harvest info for most of them makes them very bad boys. This is a topic oft discussed about this vendor. :mrgreen:
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

Postby eugene_b » Dec 26th, '10, 13:18

Thanks for the info! Well, I am still in doubt. I'll try to contact them on this matter but I think I'll be mainly buying from other vendors who reveal all the info about their teas. I have a slightly bad feeling when a vendor hides the info like that.

However there is still at least one tea which seems to be quite rare and which I was only able to find at Upton shop only. But I guess I'll open a separate thread to ask people about this tea.
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

Postby Chip » Dec 26th, '10, 13:29

eugene_b wrote:Thanks for the info! Well, I am still in doubt. I'll try to contact them on this matter but I think I'll be mainly buying from other vendors who reveal all the info about their teas. I have a slightly bad feeling when a vendor hides the info like that.

... been there, done that. Seriously. I talked to Frank Sanchez who was a top officer of Upton, and who also sent my emails to the ownership.

Frank Sanchez wrote:I regret that we are unable to meet your expectations within a time frame you deem acceptable.


:lol: That was in January 2007, almost 4 years ago, and they still have not addressed this. At the time he said they would do this (include harvest info on the site) with the site upgrade, neither the site upgrade nor the universal posting of harvest info has taken place after more than 3 years.

This was pivotal for me, as I simply moved on and have been extremely TeaHappy ever since. Fact, there are a LOT of vendors out there, no need to be loyal to a vendor who is archaic and nonresponsive to the needs of the customers.

... however, they do provide some harvest info for Indian black teas ...
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

Postby eugene_b » Dec 26th, '10, 13:59

Oh, well, I guess I am not buying from them. This all doesn't sound good. Thanks for your help!

Also I know this is going slightly offtopic but just a quick question: what do you think about teaspring (teaspring.com)? I mean the prices and quality.

The problem is that I am quite new to online vendors, so far I've been completely happy with my local vendor but I am leaving my country next year so I am exploring the online vendors now. I have had some communication with TeaSpring and they are very responsive, their site has detailed info, the few teas I purchased from them were great and the prices are the best I've found so far. But still that was a very small experiment only. I don't know what reputation they generally have. And I know almost nothing about other online shops. So chances are that somewhere on the web there is a similar great tea shop but with lower prices. Please advice.
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

Postby Chip » Dec 26th, '10, 14:56

TeaSpring is very good for Chinese greens! Plus they provide a lot of real info about the teas, as well as background. Oh, and harvest info!
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

Postby eugene_b » Dec 26th, '10, 15:18

I see, thanks! And what about other teas? TeaSpring seems to have other categories as well. Do they do good work when it comes to those teas? I've tried only one red from them and one young pu-erh cake, both were very good. But again, I can't judge them based on so few teas. And I don't have any idea what their Oolongs are like. Would you buy Oolong or Red from them or is there some other big resource that specializes in these teas?

As for aged Pu-erh I was able to find this site
http://www.royalpuer.com/
what do you think about them?
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

Postby Chip » Dec 26th, '10, 15:21

My experience with them is mostly with greens. So I will let others comment on other types.
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

Postby JRS22 » Dec 26th, '10, 15:49

Chip wrote:
eugene_b wrote: :lol: That was in January 2007, almost 4 years ago, and they still have not addressed this. At the time he said they would do this (include harvest info on the site) with the site upgrade, neither the site upgrade nor the universal posting of harvest info has taken place after more than 3 years.


Under your tutelage I've learned to expect the harvest info, and sometimes even the Tea Master, but there's a certain jasmine tea that I haven't found anywhere else........
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

Postby Nenugal » Dec 26th, '10, 17:24

Chip wrote:My experience with them is mostly with greens. So I will let others comment on other types.

I've ordered Chinese red, green, white, yellow and several oolongs from TeaSpring, always with satisfying results.
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

Postby eugene_b » Dec 27th, '10, 10:10

Thanks for the info! I'll then stick with TeaSpring mainly.
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

Postby Leafbox Pete » Jan 2nd, '11, 23:24

Don't be afraid of Upton Teas. They have been in business for a very long time (longer than Adagio even). They are not primarily a web-based company, though this is obvious to the outdated nature of their wed design.

They started as a mail order tea company almost 20 years ago and they haven't changed a lot since. Their print catalog is not for easy reading. They have a lot of teas in stock. I've had many good experiences with them, their customer service, and their teas (this was all within the last 2 years.) They are an importer of teas and tend have a lot of varieties of many different types from a lot of places. The catalog isn't really for novices, it takes time to read it and understand it. When you get a copy, it really does look and feel like it was stylistically designed back in 1982, but certainly give them chance. They have been the source of many a good tea for me.
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

Postby Chip » Jan 3rd, '11, 00:14

Leafbox Pete wrote:They are an importer of teas and tend have a lot of varieties of many different types from a lot of places. The catalog isn't really for novices, it takes time to read it and understand it. When you get a copy, it really does look and feel like it was stylistically designed back in 1982, but certainly give them chance. They have been the source of many a good tea for me.

Pete, there is an inherent "danger" in purchasing tea from a tea company that lists a bijillion teas and fails to provide written word harvest info. This is particularly true of more time sensitive teas such as greens. As I posted above, this addition was "promised" by a top company almost 4 years ago.

That might not be important to a "novice" but is to more experienced tea drinkers.

Interestingly, as a "novice" years ago, I quite enjoyed reading the Upton catalogues when they arrived, reading and learning.
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