Simpson & Vail

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Recent Tasting Notes

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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85

This is a strong tea, it is malty. It is slightly sweet. This is one I had finished off a while ago and recently decided to repurchase. While it’s not quite as good as I remember it is tasty. It is an excellent morning tea. Simpson and Vail is among my favorite tea stores. Their prices are reasonable and their teas are generally excellent. This tea is excellent and a good value.

I brewed this once in an 18oz teapot with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 3 min.

Flavors: Malt, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML

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drank Energy by Simpson & Vail
513 tasting notes

This is an interesting tea. I am admittedly not impressed by the taste. Its not bad, just not fantastic either. Its falls somewhere in between. We will see if their claims of it providing energy hold true. It tastes a bit like oranges and a bit like straw. It’s rather weird tasting.

I brewed this one time in an 18oz teapot with 3 tsp leaf and boiling water for 5 min.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML

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70
drank Scottish Blend by Simpson & Vail
1603 tasting notes

Thank you for this one a while back in your sale, Ost! It’s a decent black tea – reminds me a little of an assam. Bready, sweet. The second cup is like pastries. Not too much depth to the flavor though. I think I’ve been spoiled with awesome black teas lately. I wish I had more to say about this one.
Steep #1 // 1 tsp // 5 min after boiling // 3 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5+min

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60

This was from a teabox a WHILE back… finally getting around to a couple of older teabox teas! This was stored in a thin baggie so the flavor won’t be the best. It’s a light green tea with hints of fruit flavor – I can’t really distinguish the fruits though. Might be a generic fruit flavoring, or the flavor just isn’t the freshest. Not bad but a little boring! It’s gone now…
Steep #1 // 20 min after boiling // 2-3 min steep

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Oh rooibos, you ruin damn near everything for me. All I get is that woodsy rooibos flavor. I can tell that there are supposed to be other flavors, but the rooibos drowns them out. They never had a chance.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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64

i would love this Tea. It is a healthy diet specialy from whom who has many problem regarding health.

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drank Bancha Hojicha by Simpson & Vail
513 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.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML
Mike

I tried the Choice bagged bancha hojicha, and didn’t care for it either. Didn’t taste anything like I expected. I read that it was a light tea, good with meals…but, that wasn’t my experience at all.

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83

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.

Flavors: Smoked

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML

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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.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 5 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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85
drank St. Nick's Tea by Simpson & Vail
37 tasting notes

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.

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45

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!

Flavors: Cinnamon

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Sipdown!

(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!

gmathis

Ooh..just discovered the Tiesta Nutty Almond…bet that was good!

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(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.

Preparation
3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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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:
http://wordsabouttea.blogspot.com/2014/12/winter-wonderland-rooibos-by-simpson.html

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
Fjellrev

Awesome that your grandma makes stollen! I’ve always wanted to learn.

TeaBrat

this sounds good!

wheezybee

Let me know if you’d like a copy of her recipe. It would be easy to scan and send.

Fjellrev

Really? That would be awesome if it won’t be a huge bother! I love the idea of using family recipes.

Cameron B.

Count me in for the recipe, sounds fantastic! :D

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sipdown!

Finished up the last bit of the sample I had tonight. I have quite enjoyed this tea. Eventually I’ll make a Simpson and Vail order, but until then, it’ll be on the wishlist.

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(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.

Preparation
Boiling 8 min or more 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
rosebudmelissa

green rooibos has a much different flavor than red rooibos. In my opinion green rooibos and honeybush are much better for blending.

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59

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

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86

Thanks to whomever sent me this… Marzipan? We had snow here yesterday, so I need to drink more black teas. This one has a malty scent. The flavour is somewhat malty with hints of dried orange, and some other fruit. It certainly warmed me up today.

Flavors: Malt, Orange Zest

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65

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

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Kittenna

I always keep infusions of S&V black teas to 2 minutes, because I found them too strong otherwise (actually, I do that with most blacks except PTA and some Della Terra blends).

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80

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

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
TeaBrat

This was yummy…

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