Simpson & Vail

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Recent Tasting Notes

95

Bought a one ounce sample of this tea with my order from Simpson and Vail last week. This is really good. I wish I had bought more. This is a very light colored oolong. The first steep was extremely light colored. It is not roasted. There is a nice light floral taste. The main notes that come to mind when I drink this are honey and nectarines. There is no vegetal taste and certainly no roasted taste. This is a green oolong. It has beautiful green rolled leaves. This is easily as good as just about anything else I have drank from more expensive vendors. It is one of Simpson and Vail’s more expensive offerings at around $7 an ounce. That still is not at all a bad price for an oolong with such a quality taste. Many other companies would easily get $20 an ounce for something like this. I only brewed this four times but the leaves would have gone for more. I stopped at four steeps because I am always watching my caffeine. This was good tea.

I brewed this four times in a 180ml teapot with 7g leaf and 190 degree water. I gave it a 10 second rinse then steeped it for 10 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, and 20 sec.

Flavors: Floral, Honey

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 6 OZ / 180 ML

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75

Brewed this as an iced tea today. It has a very strong taste of the rooibos and the sweet taste of mango and papaya. However, the rooibos is a little too strong for me. Still, it makes a refreshing, caffeine free iced tea. Bought this with my order the other day not realizing I already had it. It was already in my cupboard, ah well.

Brewed this in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker with 5 tsp leaf and 2 tbl rock sugar for 5 minutes in boiling water then poured it over ice.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 5 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85
drank Creme Brulee by Simpson & Vail
517 tasting notes

Ok, here’s my re-written post. Apparently my iPhone refreshes pages whenever it comes back from the lock screen. :/

Hey, this one didn’t get chocolate-ified in shipping! Yay!

Now, as far as this being a creme brulee tea goes, I’m not sure they hit the nail on the head. However, it is a great first-thing-in-the-morning treat. I’m getting notes of vanilla, dairy, maple, lightly toasted caramel without the butter, and something that took me a minute to recognize. It was hookah tobacco! Not hookah smoke, just the super-sweet, almost fruity scent of the tobacco itself. I wasn’t expecting that at all, but it’s plain as day to me. So, basically, this is very interesting and tasty… but I wouldn’t call it creme brulee.

I also want to mention that the caffeine content is very nice if you’re dragging your feet.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Cream, Maple, Molasses, Tobacco, Vanilla

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Stephanie

Hate when that happens

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85
drank Violet by Simpson & Vail
517 tasting notes

EDIT: I have contacted S&V and they are replacing my entire order – this time double-bagging and ziplocking. I feel a little sad that they had to do this, but I’m glad I contacted them. Thank you, Nichole and TeaBrat for encouraging me to say something. I have trouble standing up for myself sometimes.
-—————
I am facing a tea tragedy. Violet teas are one of my absolute favorites. I basically convinced myself to place my most recent order on the fact that Simpson & Vail makes a violet tea.

However, S&V sent their teas to me in rolled up paper bags, like the ones you get coffee beans in. They were by NO means airtight. I knew when I received the box that they had poorly packaged my order because I could smell it through the cardboard. Sadly, one tea in particular, Strawberry Cupcake, had contaminated basically the whole box. It absolutely reeked of Tootsie Roll chocolate.

So, I can tell this is good underneath it all! The black tea base isn’t too bitter or astringent. The violet is mild, but very much present. It doesn’t taste like I’m drinking soap or old lady perfume. And the little purple flowers mixed in are just lovely. But! There’s also a very distracting and unwanted chocolate taste. Thus, my tea tragedy. :(

Rating based on what I could taste beyond the contamination.

Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Violet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Nichole

Sad! I wonder why they sent the teas in rolled up bags. That doesn’t seem right. Have you sent them an email about that?

Tabby

I’m definitely considering it. I don’t mind getting those kinds of bags when I go to tea shops, but they’re really bad to ship with!

kieblera5

You drank my cat! :P (her name is violet)

TeaBrat

they have always used those bags to ship everything, I am not sure why. It was never a problem for me but in this case, I think you should say something.

Tabby

I did and have already heard back. I’ll be editing my post when I get a second.

TeaBrat

I’m glad they are replacing the order for you. :)

Orphia

Yeah, I love S&V’s teas for the most part, but they’re the reason why I keep plenty of tea tins on-hand. Those paper bags just don’t cut it, especially if you’ve got a strongly scented tea.

Guess I was lucky; I had Strawberry Cupcake and Violet in an order together and I didn’t have any issues with cross-contamination. Might be because I’m close enough that I get my order the next day? I don’t know.

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33
drank Berry Nice by Simpson & Vail
1 tasting notes

I never met a fruit tissane I didn’t like, so that should give you a baseline. In short: smells lovely, tastes ….not so much. OVERWHELMING cherry, making it taste like cough syrup. Yuck.

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77

Giving this the same rating I gave S&V’s violet tea because, well…it tastes the same. The violet overpowers the rose completely, and if there weren’t big pink rose petals in the dry mix, I’d think I was just drinking violet tea. I like violet, but I was hoping for something a little different, you know?

That said, it is visually a very pretty tea with all those rose petals. They just can’t compete with the strong violet flavor.

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drank Hazelnut by Simpson & Vail
892 tasting notes

This is ok but I like Adagio’s version better.

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I had this tea last night and was really hoping to love this tea. I love the name and was thinking there might be some cedar or tree stuff in here like Whispering Pines does with their herbal brews.

Alas, when I brewed it up the hibiscus was front row and centre for me. I could taste hibiscus, rooibos & fruit in that order. Strange that when I look at the dry leaf, I don’t see hibiscus but it’s definitely there. I love the natural sweetness & woody flavour of rooibos but it was barely there beneath the hibiscus. This tea is not for me but thanks Allan for the sample.

Flavors: Fruity, Hibiscus, Rooibos

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

The fifth steeping was my final one, since the tea lost almost all flavor by this point. This was also evident in its nearly colorless liquor. I should note that each steeping time was increased by 15 seconds as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, although the fourth steeping still had much of the original flavor, I would not recommend going beyond the third steeping if one is to do justice to the original quality of this tea.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

The fourth steeping of this tea saw the loss of its initial smoothness, in addition to growing yet weaker in flavor.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

Third steeping the tea grows weaker but continues to more or less maintain its flavor profile.

Flavors: Butterscotch, Cream, Honeydew

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

I did a second steeping and found this tea to remain quite rich still. Incidentally, I would not recommend pairing it with any greasy or heavy foods, as together it can be too much. Instead, light and cool desserts might pair best. I will attempt a third steeping and update.

Flavors: Butterscotch, Cream, Honeydew

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

Recently, as my tea palate has improved, I have grown very fond of oolongs, which always seem to have an astounding complexity of flavor that arises purely from the leaves and their processing, rather than added flavors. This tea is no exception. It has a strong, sweet aroma. It is creamy at the back of the throat and finishes very sweet, like cream and honeydew.

I’d recommend this to anyone interested in oolongs or green tea (it’s a very green oolong). It is a light, yet flavorful, and comforting cup of tea. I will update on multiple infusions.

Flavors: Butterscotch, Cream, Honeydew

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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78
drank Blue Moon Tea by Simpson & Vail
43 tasting notes

The first thing I notice is the berry/floral sweetness. Not really so much the pepper, but maybe that’s because the peppercorns are whole and not much of their flavor is coming through. I guess that’s what that little something is in the background though. Kind of smoky/musty/I don’t know.

It’s an interesting tea. I can’t tell right away what kind of berry it’s supposed to taste like other than that this is berry-flavored, but it’s definitely good.

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This is easily the first Simpson & Vail tea I’ve had that I like. It’s also the first one that tastes anything like it’s name to me.

The dominating note here is a strong almond flavor note. It’s definitely an almond extract type flavor, so if you’re not a fan of it I’d steer clear. The base is light, not entirely devoid of flavor, but mostly unremarkable. It is a smooth cup with no astringency, though and satisfying for what it is.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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drank Root Beer by Simpson & Vail
338 tasting notes

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38

I don’t know if the pouch I got was old, but this didn’t really have any of the flavor I associate with Yunnan. None of that cocoa-ey or raisin-y flavor at all; it was very light and honestly a bit weak. Even when I opened the pouch, the leaves were scentless. Since tea normally smells like SOMETHING, I associate that with it going stale.

The second steep was even worse; lighter and weaker than the first. I have bagged, supermarked-purchased Yunnan that tastes more like it should than this does. Again, I don’t know if this batch was old, or S&V’s unflavored teas are just really weak.

Might give one of their other Yunnans a try, but certainly not this one again.

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86
drank Ginger Pear by Simpson & Vail
43 tasting notes

The more I drink this, the more I like it. It really is one of the nicer pear teas I’ve tried. While the pear flavor’s still strong on the second steep, the ginger actually manages to peek through a bit more. As in, I can actually taste it now, rather than just smelling it.

Bumping up my rating a bit, because it’s better than I initially thought it was.

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86
drank Ginger Pear by Simpson & Vail
43 tasting notes

It’s strange. I see the ginger pieces and I can smell them in the dry mix, but what do I get when I brew the tea? Pear. Only pear. I guess S&V’s pear flavoring is strong enough that it masks the ginger entirely.

Not that it’s a bad tea. Hell, I’ve had three cups today, so it’s safe to say that I enjoy it. It’s one of the more pleasant-tasting pear teas I’ve had, and I bet it’ll be good iced. Just…there’s no ginger. I might as well have purchased the plain pear tea instead. In fact, I’d suggest that you just do that if you’re trying to decide between the pear teas; just get the plain one. You won’t taste the difference.

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For my husband and I, this tea had less to do with Santa and more to do with some pretty fantastic memories we both have around chocolate malt milkshakes. And there’s something pretty fabulous about enjoying the flavor of such wonderful treats while managing to almost entirely skip out on the calories associated with them!

My full review and pictures can be found here:
http://wordsabouttea.blogspot.com/2015/02/st-nicks-tea-by-simpson-vail.html

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
TeaBrat

sounds yummy!

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