Simpson & Vail
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Recent Tasting Notes
The first of the Black Friday orders came in. I am now up nine teas. I can only honestly be blamed for eight of them, as one was a sample. And this is only one of my three orders. But this is the big one.
The dry leaf doesnt smell like much, but the addition of hot water gave it a slight smell of vanilla, a but like the grocery store bottled vanilla.
I do not get as much vanilla as I would like out of the taste. Its there, but mostly towards the end of a sip. And its sweet, like a hint of frosting, instead of actual vanilla.
Its pleasant enough, but the quest for the most perfect cup of vanilla tea ever remains to be found.
Nine more teas! And at least five more teas on the way. Eeeee.
I chose to try this tonight because it was one of my few caffeine-free holiday teas, but I wasn’t expecting to love it so much! This has some pretty amazing staying power, which left my mouth tingling after each sip. And the flavor? It really is like a high quality candy cane, with just enough kick to perk you up and calm you down at the same time.
I wonder if my husband would like some in his Christmas stocking?
You can see pictures here:
I thought I was all out of this but I found a little bit left in my stash and decided to brew it up tonight with some plain honeybush — that is a pretty nice combination of ingredients. I wish this tea had a bit more almond flavor and I’m not thinking this will be a repurchase for me ’though I have enjoyed it.
This one is thanks to Nicole! I had read about the East Frisian method of brewing, so I had been waiting until we had cream around to try this one. I spotted some French vanilla cream in the fridge! So for the East Frisian method of brewing, you plop some rock sugar into the bottom of the mug, brew the tea, and slowly lower a spoonful of cream into the top of the mug without stirring it at all! The idea is a creamy top, tea, and a sugary bottom. Yum! Both steeps turned out the so I’ll just talk about the first:
I used Adagio’s amber rock sugar, brewed a teaspoon and a half for four minutes. I wanted to try a sip of tea before adding the cream and it is the perfect tea for adding cream and sugar (which I never do, but makes for a nice occasional treat!) The flavor of the tea isn’t mild, but not too tough either. A nice maltiness… I kind of wish I had drank more before adding the cream. I’m not very talented at adding the cream, it whished everyone in the mug anyway… and seemed to settle to the bottom anyway. The cream/ sugar flavor is very nice, but I feel like it kind of overpowers the tea to the point of wondering how the tea tastes. It’s almost just cream and sugar without any tea. The last gulp was nice, unlike the cream, the sugar stayed on the bottom. No matter how delicious sugar and cream are, I’d rather just drink straight tea to taste the nuances. Otherwise, I’d just be drinking cream and sugar every day. Plain tea is cheaper anyway! :D
This might be an odd choice for the morning time but I woke up today feeling kind of queasy so it’s actually pretty nice right now. I will definitely be getting more of this someday, I love the combination of spices…
Additional notes: sipdown! (I have to work on a ton of sipdowns..one a day for all of December wouldn’t be enough but at least 1/4 of my cupboard only has a teaspoon left of each tea.) This was nice, just not as nice as last time. The flavor seems to change with every cup and even every sip! It’s tough to pin down.. I was noticing the difference in flavors last time I had this tea as well. Sometimes it wants to taste like a Darjeeling, sometimes it’s chocolatey. This time was lighter flavored than last time though. And since I had this tea the last time, I’ve definitely grown to learn that the gold Yunnan tastes like honey!
I have come to the realization that S&V does dessert teas well. Quite well actually. I was sitting here sipping away at this, and next thing I know, it’s gone.
This was very tasty. Not overly sweet, but sweet enough. For some reason it was reminding me of Maple Pecan Oolong in the last few sips, but I have a feeling that’s because I just read a tea note on that tea haha. I may have to make another cup and update this note.
Tea #9 from Another TTB
Not bad for a dessert tea. A bright natural strawberry flavor with a pastry character. A fun tea, but not one that I would drink often.
I got this as a sample (looks like a generous amount that will brew 3-4 cups) and would never have thought to order this on my own. I hate hibiscus and avoid teas with it like the plague, BUT I couldn’t even spot it in the mix and can only detect a slight tang that goes well with the apple flavor. Just enough to give the apples a natural tartness without over tanging it into oblivion. Well played Simpson & Vail!
The dry tea smells amazing and full of spices. I can spot lemongrass and dried orange and can only pick out clove by scent. The lemongrass comes out at the end of my cup when it cools. The apple doesn’t rule the pie despite the name, but it is in there. So far I like it! We’ll see if it grows on me more as I work through this sample!
This assam is very malty and full bodied. No other assam I have tasted compares to the beauty of this cup.
This was a wonderful way to kick off our Thanksgiving break! After we dialed in the perfect match of tea and time for us (1.5tsp/8oz for 3min) I was amazed at the balance and creaminess.
The taste of this tea actually hit me in stages: first came the slight smokiness of the cloves and black base, then the cinnamon and an almost pumpkin-pie creaminess. Finally, all the notes combined to create a real gingerbread cookie flavor in the aftertaste.
This is one I wouldn’t mind keeping in the cupboard full time!
You can read the full review here:
Thank you Scheherazade for this sample.
I can smell the apple, cinnamon and coffee in it’s raw form but it’s hard to say which one is dominant. Though they are not all to my personal taste (I’m talking about you coffee) they work well together, like a warm pastry or cake styled dessert.
Flavour is dark and toasty with the coffee being fairly strong but petering out with a sweet yet spicy cinnamon finish. It’s also rather dry and nutty. The apple is not as strong in flavour as it’s raw scent at this point but I believe it’s as least keeping the blend lightly sweet.
It takes some getting used to with the strong and bitter coffee flavour and it’s a very interesting blend overall. It was worth a try and but sadly this blend is just not for me. Perhaps someone who drinks coffee would love it but I will personally stick to original apple and cinnamon blends.
Also I mentioned last night about getting a new kitten, well I am due to receive him today some time. He is 16 weeks old and pure black with some tabby stripes. Sooty is still a real possibility but I think I need to meet him first before naming him.
Here is a picture I received from the owner:
I’ve been drinking this at work recently, and have more or less given up on it. Whatever I do, I can’t get it to taste of strawberry. Today’s cup actually had two pretty large pieces of strawberry in it, but they made absolutely no impact on the flavour. Surprisingly. I get the tiniest hint of strawberry if I brew this at a lower temparature, but it’s not very satisfactory.
I have to admit feeling disappointed. I thought this would be my cup of tea, literally, but it’s tasteless and not very inspiring. A shame.
I’ve been on a spicy tea kick lately as you may have noticed if you follow my tea log. Originally I bought this thinking it would be nice mixed in with other teas to ceate a chai but I figured I should drink it on its’ own at least once.
The package is bursting full of spices including whole cloves. The anise definitely provides a licorice-y note. I’m not sure I even know what Sarsaparilla tastes like so it’s difficult to know what type of a part it is playing in this blend. I
I did not follow the traditional chai making instructions that are on the S+V website, I steeped it the regular way and then added soymilk but it’s still pretty good this way. I’m glad to know I can drink this plain but I think it will be even more awesome mixed with black tea or some rooibos just to tone it down a wee bit…
This is the last tea from my S & V order that I haven’t tried yet. I finally gave in and opened it last night, and was surprised but pleased to find red rooibos. The other couple of rooibos teas I got with the same order were both green, so I think I was half expecting this one to be as well.
I like this one — it tastes of chocolate cake! I’m not getting anything I feel is particularly specific to red velvet cake, but that’s okay. It tastes really good anyway. I drank this with a splash of milk only, so possibly I’ll try a little bit of sugar next time just to see whether that brings out any hidden aspects of the flavour.
It smells good, it tastes good, and it’s caffiene free so I can drink it before bed. What’s not to love? I’ll write a better note when I’ve tried a cup and I’m not half asleep, but first impressions are good!
Tea of the morning here. It has been a rare Sunday of domesticity since I got up and made breakfast for the BF and I and then decided I wanted to make some banana bread, yum yum!
So this tea came in my last S&V order but I haven’t tried it until today. I was so sure I would like it that I bought 4 oz. of it.
I accidentally steeped it for 6 minutes because I forgot what I was doing, but it still seems really good to me. The spices are pretty strong here, I am getting a LOT if clove and ginger and cinnamon a bit lesser so. It might be different when I steep it for the recommended time. The tin contains pieces of broken up spice so this is not a "flavored’ Tea only, it’s a bit more like a chai. With all the health benefits of cinnamon, clove and ginger this will be a great one to sip on all winter long. Also smells really good. Maybe I’ll bake some gingerbread soon. ;)
I really like this blend a lot but less is definitely more – I added about half the amount of tea I normally would. Very strong mint flavor!
I couldn’t decide which tea to have this morning and ended up with this. I really like the black tea base S+V is using here but I don’t taste a lot of toffee flavor and I used a lot of leaf. hmmm. I think of toffee as a sweet, caramely flavor and this isn’t really it. However I do like this tea anyway, probably won’t be a repurchase though.
Yuuuuuuum! I brought this one to work with me as another black tea to have on hand. I’ve said it before, but this is my favourite of the Simposon and Vail teas I’ve tried so far. It taste just like its name leads you to imagine, and that’s what I really want from a flavoured tea.
The apple here is quite subtle, but the cinnamon and cake elements are really prominent. I added a small piece of crystal sugar and some milk, and that’s brought out a creaminess that’s making me think of buttercream frosting. The apple develops a little more in the aftertaste, leaving behind a flavour reminiscent of apple crumble. I love it when a flavoured tea lives up to its name and description, and it’s brightened my day to find one as good as this!
Tea of the morning here but I can see how this would be a great afternoon tea as well…
I was really worried I wouldn’t like this after I realized there was bergamot in it, given that I’m not the biggest fan of Earl Grey. It really works here somehow. The orange and the bergamot definitely compliment each other and I am finding this to be really refreshing and almost juicy. Reminds me a bit of Paris from Harney and Sons but different. Great with a splash of soymilk and only tiniest bit of astringency in the finish.
I’m glad I ordered 4 oz. of it!
First cup last night. The dry leaf is really pretty — that’s the first thing that struck me about it. The red and white petals made me think of a candy cane, and I guess a little psychological prompt doesn’t hurt!
I gave this 4 minutes in boiling water, and came back to a cup of candy cane! The smell met my nose almost as I walked into the room, and it actually really cheered me up (because I need cheering up — apparently I’d only be entitled to a week’s notice with my new job, and as a result I’m not sure that I’m going to be able to accept it. Boooo!)
To taste, this is no different. It’s pretty strong on the mint, which reminds me powerfully of a candy cane, while also leaving a very cold sensation at the back of my throat. I could really see this as an iced tea in the summer, so I’ll have to remember to keep a bit back until then! The mint is accompanied by a sweet, creamy vanilla flavour, and then the sweet, slightly herbal taste of the green rooibos lingers in the background. This is going to be a great holiday tea, and hopefully one I can drink in the warmer months as well thanks to its cooling characteristics! Definitely my favourite tea so far from my S&V order :)
I’ve been looking for a good green chai for a while so I thought I’d check out this blend from Simpson and Vail with my recent order. You can see small pieces of spice in the mixture and it smells pretty good.
My first impression of this is it’s somewhat light on the flavor. The green tea is slightly vegetal and nutty and I’m also getting some faint spice but it isn’t nearly as strong as some chais I’ve had. I guess this could be a plus or a minus depending on your point of view. I liked this better after stevia was added.
I think this blend needs more cardamom, it seems quite strong on the cinnamon and ginger. I think this will be a good afternoon time tea, especially on a dreary and cold day like the one we’re having. Overall it’s fairly enjoyable but I may use more leaf next time.
Really liked this one — probably my favourite of the Simpson and Vail teas I’ve tried so far! The dry leaf smells gorgeous, and actually looks really pretty. It tastes wonderful, too. The apple and cinnamon come out really clearly, almost like apple pie. I can taste a slightly artificial sweetness, but it seems to help create the “cake” flavour, so I can forgive it that.
Yum, yum! A perfect tea for autumn!