Is Upton tea a normal shop?

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Mar 12th, '13, 19:03
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

by JRS22 » Mar 12th, '13, 19:03

I bought from Upton when I first began drinking tea. I've since moved on o specialists in particular teas, e.g. O-Cha for Japanese Greens, Seven Cups for Chinese Greens, etc.

One other aspect of Upton that's "old-fashioned" is that real people answer the phone and can answer questions. If there's no harvest date in the catalog you can find that out with a phone call.

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Mar 12th, '13, 19:12
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

by Chip » Mar 12th, '13, 19:12

JRS22 wrote:One other aspect of Upton that's "old-fashioned" is that real people answer the phone and can answer questions. If there's no harvest date in the catalog you can find that out with a phone call.
Yes, they actually told me this around 5 years ago ... the only problem is they have so many teas ... this was my biggest frustration with them. I may have been considering 10, 20, or more teas since the selection is so ... vast! I just could not be bothered.

But their customer service and shipping is outstanding. The labels are nice and include rarely seen info such as the customer's name and when it was packed for the customer.

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Mar 12th, '13, 19:26
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

by gingkoseto » Mar 12th, '13, 19:26

I feel they might be a good place if you are not sure whether you will like certain type of tea and want to try some inexpensive samples.
That being said, I've only bought non-Chinese black tea from the, and have decided to stick to them for some teas in "breakfast tea" category, after trying a couple dozen samples.
On the other hand, like others, I also feel their inventory is overwhelming. When I chose my samples, basically I just chose blindly and avoided expensive ones. Then I would decide from the samples which I like. If I tried to really "select" something, I would probably get lost at the very beginning :mrgreen:

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Mar 12th, '13, 19:43
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

by Muadeeb » Mar 12th, '13, 19:43

gingkoseto wrote:I feel they might be a good place if you are not sure whether you will like certain type of tea and want to try some inexpensive samples.
That being said, I've only bought non-Chinese black tea from the, and have decided to stick to them for some teas in "breakfast tea" category, after trying a couple dozen samples.
On the other hand, like others, I also feel their inventory is overwhelming. When I chose my samples, basically I just chose blindly and avoided expensive ones. Then I would decide from the samples which I like. If I tried to really "select" something, I would probably get lost at the very beginning :mrgreen:
I think they acknowledge this with their sample and return policy. They also make it easy to see your order history, so at least you can keep track of what you've tried. I like to spend an afternoon drinking tea and leafing through the catalog slowly, as if it were a Victoria's Secret catalog.

"mmm I'd drink the hell out of that one...."

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Mar 12th, '13, 20:54
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

by gingkoseto » Mar 12th, '13, 20:54

Muadeeb wrote:
gingkoseto wrote:I feel they might be a good place if you are not sure whether you will like certain type of tea and want to try some inexpensive samples.
That being said, I've only bought non-Chinese black tea from the, and have decided to stick to them for some teas in "breakfast tea" category, after trying a couple dozen samples.
On the other hand, like others, I also feel their inventory is overwhelming. When I chose my samples, basically I just chose blindly and avoided expensive ones. Then I would decide from the samples which I like. If I tried to really "select" something, I would probably get lost at the very beginning :mrgreen:
I think they acknowledge this with their sample and return policy. They also make it easy to see your order history, so at least you can keep track of what you've tried. I like to spend an afternoon drinking tea and leafing through the catalog slowly, as if it were a Victoria's Secret catalog.

"mmm I'd drink the hell out of that one...."
:mrgreen: Indeed! I just received one physical copy of newsletter kind of thing, and that's a nice surprise. I can definitely spend some time with it!
For most other catalogs, it took me 2 seconds to dig out any coupon or free samples in it and then I'm done with it :wink:

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Mar 12th, '13, 22:56
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

by JRS22 » Mar 12th, '13, 22:56

Chip wrote:
JRS22 wrote:One other aspect of Upton that's "old-fashioned" is that real people answer the phone and can answer questions. If there's no harvest date in the catalog you can find that out with a phone call.
Yes, they actually told me this around 5 years ago ... the only problem is they have so many teas ... this was my biggest frustration with them. I may have been considering 10, 20, or more teas since the selection is so ... vast! I just could not be bothered.

But their customer service and shipping is outstanding. The labels are nice and include rarely seen info such as the customer's name and when it was packed for the customer.
The problem is that once I learned about harvest information on Teachat I wasn't satisfied with the Upton approach. I asked them about it and they said at the time that if the new tea tasted like the old tea then it was a valid substitute. That might work for black tea, but I don't see it working for green. I buy certain blended teas, like my beloved O-Cha Otsuusan, that are supposed to taste the same year after year. I still want to know that the tea I'm drinking is less than a year old so I have time to drink it while it's still fresh.

Mar 25th, '17, 16:21
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

by FinestTippy » Mar 25th, '17, 16:21

Reviving this old thread. I mostly drink green teas from China and Taiwan, which I buy locally, but turned to the Internet for black teas. I ordered a handful of Assams and Darjeelings from Upton Tea, and I'm sorry to say that I've been mostly disappointed. The Assam sampler of 4 teas has been especially bland. Thankfully I didn't spend a ton of money.

However, a phone chat with an Upton staff member was uncommonly enjoyable, I like their website, and like their vast selection.

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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

by pedant » Mar 25th, '17, 21:24

FinestTippy wrote: Reviving this old thread. I mostly drink green teas from China and Taiwan, which I buy locally, but turned to the Internet for black teas. I ordered a handful of Assams and Darjeelings from Upton Tea, and I'm sorry to say that I've been mostly disappointed. The Assam sampler of 4 teas has been especially bland. Thankfully I didn't spend a ton of money.

However, a phone chat with an Upton staff member was uncommonly enjoyable, I like their website, and like their vast selection.
i think it's a good site for people really new to tea. you can sample a lot of things easily and cheaply.

Mar 26th, '17, 16:27
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

by ethan » Mar 26th, '17, 16:27

pedant wrote:
FinestTippy wrote:
a phone chat with an Upton staff member was uncommonly enjoyable, ...and I like their vast selection.
i think it's a good site for people really new to tea. you can sample a lot of things easily and cheaply.
+1
+1
Unfortunately, w/ Upton we cannot see the forest because of the trees--so to speak. The amount of teas is overwhelming. I think if we are on Teachat, eventually we were underwhelmed by their tea. I enjoyed black teas from them for years & read their print catalog w/ pleasure. (Pre-website days.) Trying tea from them that was not the type one sweetens &/or blends w/ milk was disappointing. Some of the blame is that I bought the cheapest; some of the blame is the confusion of Upton's size, etc.

I think someone new to tea who uses Adagio's site (for example) would be less likely to overstock very similar teas & more likely to find his way to enjoying a variety of good teas quicker, if that is where his tea journey is going to take him ultimately.

Mar 27th, '17, 13:33
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

by FinestTippy » Mar 27th, '17, 13:33

FinestTippy wrote: <snip>
The Assam sampler of 4 teas has been especially bland. Thankfully I didn't spend a ton of money.
Poking around on TeaChat, I saw several comments in the "Official what Black (Red) Tea Are You Drinking Right Now?" forum about the sorry state of Assam teas of late. In light of that, it's perhaps unfair of me to place the blame at Upton's feet if nobody can seem to get a good cup of Assam these days.

I'll give them another shot, and will order from the list of staff picks, steering away from Assams.

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Mar 27th, '17, 14:50
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

by cwj » Mar 27th, '17, 14:50

As others have said, the lack of harvest information is annoying.
When I was first getting into whole leaf/loose leaf tea, I ordered bunches of samples of many styles and Upton performed quite well in that regard. Doubtful I would have ever tried a Korean green, for example, without Upton.

After all the samples, one of them actually became one of my "everyday" no-nonsense type of teas...the Formosa Amber Oolong Select. A simple but enjoyable tea that I drink when the mood strikes me, or when my mom joins me for a tea session.

Customer service is very good, shipping is very fast, and it's fun to browse their catalog.
I don't have any problem with Upton. I just happen to order most of my teas from more specialized vendors.

Mar 27th, '17, 15:04
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Re: Is Upton tea a normal shop?

by ethan » Mar 27th, '17, 15:04

FinestTippy wrote:
FinestTippy wrote: <snip>

I'll give them another shot, and will order from the list of staff picks, steering away from Assams

Finest Tippy, Good to know my writing is ineffective: After reading this thread including my last paragraph of my last post here about the likelihood that you will be dissatisfied w/ what you buy from Upton for reasons I & others gave, how could you go elsewhere next time you ordered tea? I do not have a beef w/ Upton, but let you know w/ Upton there is no easy way to choose, including Staff Picks. Others wrote similarly, if my reading comprehension has not been ruined by my age. (In short, too many teas to choose from & too many of them are not especially good.)

Why do I post? It's like advertisement that compares 2 products thoroughly to show one is superior, based on polls, science, etc. & then finds 45% of the people who see the advertisement get confused & believe the inferior product was what came out on top in surveys etc. Anyway, good luck. Let us know how it goes.

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