Simpson & Vail
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Recent Tasting Notes
I am not sure what to think about this tea. I bought it with my last order based on the theory it was low in caffeine. Tried it tonight for that very reason. It has a strong roasted flavor, not sure if its roasted nuts or something else. I am not at all sure I like it. I think a flavored Hojicha would be more interesting.
I brewed this once in an 18oz teapot with 3 tsp leaf and 175 degree water for 2 min.
I only bought a one ounce sample of this tea because I didn’t really think I would like it, but I am finding it pretty good. I thought I would have to put milk in it but I didn’t. I did add sugar. There is a smoky flavor from the Lapsang Souchong and another flavor on the back burner, definitely there which is sweeter, don’t know how to describe it. This is not to be confused with Simpson and Vail’s Russian Caravan which doesn’t contain Lapsang Souchong. That is more of a Russian Earl Grey.
I brewed this once in an 18oz teapot with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 2 min.
This tea is an experiment in progress. It is an attempt to create my own sleepytime blend. My insomnia has gotten worse lately and when I sleep at all I don’t sleep that much. Today I got my order from Simpson and Vail in the mail. It included this and the ingredients I added to it (or most of them), passion flower and valerian root. I expected the valerian root to make this tea taste absolutely horrible, but it surprised me. It’s not that bad. I also added rosehips which give this tea a sweet flavor. We will see if this tea makes me sleepy. I did sweeten this tea, it is impossible, in my opinion, to drink tea with valerian root and no sugar.
I brewed this once in a 14oz mug with 5tsp chamomile, 1 tsp valerian root, 1 tsp passion flower, and 3 tsp rosehips in boiling water for 5 min.
This tea smells delicious. Mostly it’s the cocoa nibs; I usually have a bag on-hand so it’s easy to pick out that scent. There’s a lot of them in the dry mix. That, and almonds.
It brews up a little lighter than I normally like, but it’s pretty tasty. Chocolate’s the main flavor here, with the almond in the background. Not really getting the “hint of maple” they say it’s supposed to have, but that’s alright. It’s really good with a little bit of sugar to bring out the chocolatey-ness that much more.
This was another sample from my swap with The Cookie Lady. Maybe I understeeped it, but I found the flavor quite weak. I got cinnamon and a bit of something else that didn’t quite read as chocolate to me. For a brownie tea, I would have expected a lot more chocolate. Still, it’s always fun to try a new tea!
(as you can see, I’m on a mission)
This got more ho-hum the more I drank it; in fact, I started adding some Tiesta Tea Nutty Almond Cream to the 2nd steep since it just wasn’t getting to the carrot cake for me, at least I gave the cream an oomph with the add in. Won’t be missing this but glad I was able to try before placing a S&V order!
(sample came from the 2nd herbal traveling tea box)
I like the coconut one better. This one has a fairly nondescript creamy taste, but I’m not getting carrot cake. It’s not bad by any means and if I was placing an order, I might throw a bit in my basket to reach the free ship minimum, but it’s definitely not a must-have in my opinion. Also, I greatly prefer the Della Terra version, even though it’s seasonal and/or discontinued. Either way, nice and creamy, a vague bready flavor, I added sweetener, so it’s sweet, but other than that I’m not getting carrot cake.
I had a lot of fun trying out this tea. It’s a caffeine-free and guilt-free way to enjoy one of my favorite treats of the holiday season: My grandmother’s stollen, a sweet bread with raisins and cinnamon, topped with white icing that’s decorated with candied fruits and nuts. This rooibos does an excellent job of capturing those flavors… and makes me want to go bake the real thing, too!
You can see pictures here:
(from one of the traveling tea boxes)
I realized that my sample supply was quickly taking over my tea cupboard/table/drawer (see what I mean?!). That and the fact that I couldn’t determine how old some of my samples were has led me to try to sip them down as fast as I can prior to the 2 tea boxes I am participating in arrive (which aren’t currently lost).
Well this is definitely still good! I used 2 tsp in my 16oz steeping mug – I’d consider a bit more next time. It’s a creamy light coconut/vanilla flavor. I added a bit of sweetener but I have a major sweet tooth. Also, no rooibos taste for those who find it offensive, just a nice evening drink. Yum. Staying on the wishlist for sure.
I’ve had this one a while, haven’t tried it yet. It was in a thin baggie next to a cantaloupe tea, so I think the flavor got a little contaminated. Either way, I’m not sure how this is carrot cake. Green rooibos? Papaya? This is not carrot cake. I don’t think all of the ingredients were listed in the description either… there seems to be many other things there. The flavor is spicy at first from the cinnamon, but otherwise it is mild flavored and a little fruity (and I’m trying to ignore the cantaloupe, but there is still something else fruity there. Carrot isn’t a fruit. The description complains about carrot cake made with raisins, but I’m just glad carrot cake isn’t made with these ingredients. This tastes more like fruit cake! Ah well, the other two cupcake teas from S&V were much better.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 tsp // just boiled // 5+ min steep
This sample came from my swap with NayLynn. Two of my favorite flavors, almond and cookies! Visually, the tea is quite encouraging. There are nice big slices of almond and those cute feathery red flower petals. It smells very nice too! Very sweet and rich and buttery, like a shortbread cookie. Exciting!
Wow, the steeped tea smells very buttery and rich as well, and I can pick up on some sweet almond notes. Hmm… Taste-wise, this is pretty good but nowhere near as amazing as the aroma. The rich, buttery, shortbread-like flavor is there. There’s some nuttiness, but to be honest I was hoping for more of an almond extract flavor. To me, this is more like a Shortbread Cookie tea, and unfortunately the base is not to my liking. It’s kind of earthy and it’s adding a touch of bitterness even though I only steeped for 3 minutes.
Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Cookie, Nuts
This one came from NayLynn! I’m not a huge fan of gingerbread, but I do like it, and I’m always tempted by any tea that claims to be a cookie or cake. I guess I’m just a dessert kind of gal! This tea is a mix of small, very dark leaves with little chunks of dried ginger root and cinnamon bark, and a few whole cloves. Dry, it definitely smells sweet and similar to gingerbread.
Mm, this tea has a very comforting aroma. There’s a lot of ginger and clove smell, but it’s also somewhat sweet from the cinnamon and possibly vanilla? My cup is pretty mild in flavor, but that was what I intended by steeping for only 3 minutes. I find chai to be overpowering if I try to drink it plain after steeping longer. This definitely reminds me of gingerbread without the sweetness. I’m not a ginger lover, but the ginger here is mellow and just spicy enough to remind me of the holidays. I bet this would be fantastic with cream and sugar. :)
Flavors: Cinnamon, Clove, Cookie, Ginger, Spicy, Vanilla
Being that Root Beer was the first tea I tried from Simpson & Vail and I was so not in love with it, I figured it only appropriate to follow that one up with another by the same company that I was more likely to enjoy. So, I chose this one. (Thanks again to NayLynn for this one)
Round 2 with Simpson & Vail is more pleasing but still not a home run for me. I can taste the chocolate, and it does taste like brownie chocolate as opposed to chocolate bar chocolate. I feel like I’m missing cinnamon, though. It just seems like it’s lacking something and isn’t quite as strong as I would have expected from the fact that I could smell it even through two sealed bags. Hmm…I have one other sample from Simpson & Vail to try. We’ll see how that goes.
I’m not quite sure why I wanted to try this one so badly, seeing as how I don’t actually like root beer all that much. But, I was fortunate enough to receive a couple different versions of root beer-flavored teas from NayLynn and I was excited to try them all.
This one was so not for me. Now, let me be clear—it tastes very much like root beer. Too much like root beer. It turns out I like root beer even less when you warm it up and take the fizz out. Good to know. Not rating this one.
Flavors: Root Beer
Bit of a sad sipdown for this one. I fully intended to purchase more, but sadly Simpson and Vail seem to be out at the moment. Hopefully I’ll get my hands on more soon because this is really just a delightful CTC Assam. Simple and malty. Not much else, but sometimes that’s just what you need.
Big thanks to Ost who sold me this from her stash sale.
Usually I brew these types of teeny tiny CTC teas to go alongside super sweet or rich foods. The astringency really cuts through and stands up to those types well. Rarely do I bother with them on their own. Tonight I wanted something to go with my bar of Ghirardelli Cabernet Matinee dark chocolate which, while divine, is a bit too rich for my blood. I dug this out, brewed up a cup and then… promptly forgot about it. I usually brew CTC teas for 2-3 minutes max, but this one ended up well over that. Surprisingly it was barely bitter and was positively sublime with my chocolate.
This is pretty much just malt in a cup with a touch of astringency and a barely noticeable smidgen of fruitiness. Delightful really when you just want a hot hearty cup of something that screams tea! I’ll be adding this to the ever-growing list of teas to stock up on when I place my next S&V order. Very good for what it is.
Tea and Chocolate TTB
Backlog from last night.
This is a combination of green Rooibos, coconut pieces, and little red flower petal. It smells like coconut, like real coconut, it smells good. I’ve only had green Rooibos once or twice before, and now I’m trying to figure out why. It is so much more approachable and friendly than it’s red brother.
Steeped at boiling for 5 minutes. It tastes like I’m chewing on a coconut chip piece. Sweetening it tastes less raw, and more baked and creamy. And it lingers nice and long in the after taste. This is a really good last tea of the night to settle in and go to sleep with.
Tea and Chocolate TTB
I was really craving sweets this morning, and trying to be a good girl I decided to dig through the T&CTTB instead for something yummy. This smelled delicious so it won out. Too lazy to look up the parameters for this I just went with a typical 1tsp, boiling, 3 mins approach. Seems to work smashingly with this tea.
This is one of those teas that builds as you sip. First thing I noticed was the way this sort of coats your mouth. It felt almost like I was eating melting chocolate, the mouthfeel is so spot on. There’s a nice almost malty base and a hint of chocolate in the first sip. But each sip brings forth more sweet decadent chocolate and smooth buttery caramel. By the 3rd or 4th sip I was in heaven. The more I drank the faster it seemed to disappear.
This also held up well for a 5 minute resteep.
This tea is decent but not great. It is sweet and it has a lot of rooibos savory flavor. You can definitely taste the rooibos in this tea. There is the strong flabor of berries in this tea. There is also a twinge of artificial flavor to this tea. I am not sure if the flavorings are all natural. Sometimes artificial flavors are good, sometimes not. I don’t think I would buy this one again. I won’t throw it out though. I picked it tonight because I am again avoiding caffeine having to be up not long after some people on steepster stop drinking tea for the night, too early.
I brewed this once in an 18oz teapot with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 5 min.