Simpson & Vail

Recent Tasting Notes

88

Thank you Ost for the sale! I picked up some good ones. Now when I’m not drinking new teas, it must be sipdowns! I think I have all three of S&V’s cupcake teas now. Whoops. This one smells heavenly, just as the description sounded: cocoa, coconut, raspberry. I’m not exactly SURE what red velvet is, but I did make a red velvet cake a couple weeks ago for the first time… but from a box. Also, the red velvet Pop Tarts are the BEST Pop Tarts. Anyway, the taste is the same as the scent. Sweet, chocolate notes, hints of coconut, not a huge amount of raspberry. The dry blend is mostly rooibos, which completely makes sense for red velvet and of course actually makes the color red, but if there had been more of the ingredients that aren’t rooibos, I think it would have been even more cakey. S&V seems to have some pretty darn nice teas.
Steep #1 // just boiled // 1 min

Cameron B.

Coconut and raspberry in red velvet…? What?

Marzipan

Red velvet cake is just chocolate cake and red food coloring with cream cheese icing.

Tea Sipper

Hmm.. even the boxed red velvet cake didn’t seem like chocolate to me.

Cameron B.

Tea Sipper, I think it’s a bit less chocolaty than other chocolate cakes, at least in my experience. And my grandma uses a different kind of frosting on hers, which is nice because I hate cream cheese. :P

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93

I think this is perhaps the tastiest sweet rooibos tea I have ever drank. I needed something tasty on my palette after a horrible shou puerh from Aliexpress and this fits the bill. I also didn’t want any more caffeine tonight having had a nice sheng session earlier. The flavor of the berries is predominate. It somewhat overpowers the savory character of the green rooibos. If you like sweet rooibos you will like this. If you hate rooibos you will hate it. I guess that sums it up. I brewed 3 tsp of leaf for 5 min in an 18 oz teapot. Its very hard to brew this tea wrong. There is a lot of latitude to it.

Flavors: Berries, Rooibos

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 18 OZ / 532 ML

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83
drank White Ambrosia by Simpson & Vail
51 tasting notes

This tea is quite good. I brewed it with 6g of tea in an 18 oz teapot for 3 min, one steep, 185 degree water. The flavors of the apricot and mango really come through although the tea has a slightly smoky flavor too. I can’t properly describe this other flavor but it is not an off taste. This tea is sold by Simpson and Vail, an excellent tea shop with reasonable prices at www.svtea.com.

Flavors: Apricot, Mango

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 6 g 18 OZ / 532 ML

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77
drank English Toffee by Simpson & Vail
2339 tasting notes

Sipdown
Finally finished this off today along with a bag of Teavana’s rock sugar I got as a Christmas gift. I don’t have much to say about this one, it’s one of my older teas so I’m glad I was able to drink it finally. It does still have some toffee flavor, which is brought out nicely by this rock sugar. I hope everyone is having a nice Sunday morning so far!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec

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OK admitting that I really neglected to pay attention to steeping parameters. This might have steeped for 15 minutes or more. OOOOoooops. I’m blaming the cat – somehow this must have been the cats fault.

Not sure that this is carrot cake, but it does have some of those spices. What I am getting though is the icing – cream cheese icing. Yep spice and icing – and I like it. All the other cheesecake teas, or cake teas – I never really get the “tang” of the cheese cake – this one really has it. Fun little tea, not sure I need to keep it in my cupboard, but was a nice experience.

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83
drank Chocolate Mint by Simpson & Vail
1114 tasting notes

Made this today iced, and it’s really tasty and refreshing with the cool mint coming through in the background. Phew! Thought I’d ruined it with a touch of oversteeping.

Flavors: Chocolate, Drying, Mint

Preparation
Iced 5 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 32 OZ / 946 ML

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77
drank English Toffee by Simpson & Vail
2339 tasting notes

Tea of the afternoon here. I have had this for far too long, it seems to be the never ending tea but I think I’m close to finishing it off! I’ve been doing really well lately at not buying any tea, now I just have to get my other spending under control. :)

Cameron B.

Congratulations! I’ve been doing a terrible job, lol.

TeaBrat

Being unemployed is a good motivator! The last thing I need is more tea…

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85

With the addition of milk along with sugar it tastes less like a cupcake and more like strawberry milk. Tasty either way, but I prefer it without milk.

Also the second steep brews up pretty much the same as the first.

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75
drank Floral Nectar by Simpson & Vail
30 tasting notes

I was surprised at how light this tea actually tasted. It’s got a very strong, sweet smell to it, not to mention a lot of lavender in the dry mix, so I was expecting something a little more intense than the light flavor I got at first. There’s also a subtle fruitiness, due to the apricot flavoring.

It’s certainly nice for the summer, kind of a “cheery” tea. The flavor becomes slightly stronger as it cools, but not much. Just enough.

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78

I’m not a big coffee drinker, but I do drink it on occasion. I got curious as to what a coffee-flavored tea might be like, so I ordered some. There’s a lot of big pieces of almond in the blend. Not so many coffee beans, but that could just be my bag.

It certainly smells like coffee. It tastes like it too, in that’s what I’m primarily getting. Not so much the almond, but I suppose it’s because I was expecting a sweeter almond flavor like most almond-flavored things have. It’s something I’d drink in the morning really, or when I want coffee flavor without the jitters that strong coffee gives me.

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50
drank Lilac Bouquet by Simpson & Vail
30 tasting notes

Nope, just not my cup of tea. Nothing I can do makes it taste like anything but perfumed powder or soap. It’s more like something I’d want to wear, not drink. Seems as far as florals go, lilac isn’t for me.

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85

I think I need to use a bit more than one teaspoon per cup for Simpson & Vail teas, since so far they seem to be very mild. That said, this tea’s actually really tasty.

I taste the strawberry and a tiny hint of chocolate; it reminds me a little of Adagio’s Valentines tea. There’s a little something else to it too, guess that’s the “cakey” note other people have mentioned. I’m the kind of person who could drink dessert teas every day, and not just for dessert, so I could see myself going through the 2 oz. bag I got pretty quickly. Next time I might add milk along with the sugar, see if that’ll coax the chocolate out a little more.

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50
drank Lilac Bouquet by Simpson & Vail
30 tasting notes

Since it’s just flowery tea day for me today, this time it’s lilac. The smell of the dry leaves is powdery and soft, kind of like a sachet. The brewed tea smells the same way.

It tastes like the various scented powders and sprays I used to coat myself in as a teenager smelled. Not entirely sure I’m used to, or really want, that as a flavor. I probably have to play with it a bit more and see what I think.

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77
drank Violet by Simpson & Vail
30 tasting notes

This is the first time I’ve ever tried a violet tea. Normally rose and lavender are my florals of choice, but I decided to try something new.

Anyone else remember the violet candy that came in the purple wrapper? It smells like that. As it should, considering it’s violet-flavored. I remember wanting it once as a kid because it was purple (my favorite color, ha) and spitting the first piece I put in my mouth out immediately because it tasted HORRIBLE to me. I figured that now that I’m older, I might be able to appreciate a floral flavor more. Like I said, I adore lavender and rose.

It reminds me of that candy when I add sugar. Not quite as in-your-face VIOLET, but I still remember it. I think I like this because the violet is more muted; too strong and I’d probably be spitting it out too. Probably not the first thing I’d go for when I want something flowery, but I could see myself buying it again on occasion.

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80
drank Almond Sugar Cookie by Simpson & Vail
129 tasting notes

This was the tea that got motivated me the most to order from Simpson & Vail.
Anything with the word “cookie” in it has my attention.
The smell of this tea first made me skeptical because it didn’t smell very “cookie-y” when I opened the bag. But as it steeped it began to smell more like a sugar cookie.
The taste was pretty buttery, which is usually a big aspect of a sugar cookie. Sometimes buttery tastes in teas don’t sit well with me, but in dessert teas it’s heavenly! You can definitely taste the almond too which is an excellent combo to the butter. It definitely lives up to it’s name but I don’t think any sugar cookie tea can ever beat, Celestial Seasonings Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride. :P
I would have fully enjoyed this cup of tea if I hadn’t gotten randomly sick again, but I definitely will when I drink it in the future! It’s worth trying if you ever order from Simpson & Vail! (:

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Wow was this ever sweet! no sugar added or anything. I don’t mind, it was a nice dessert treat. Maybe next time I’ll try it with milk and see how that goes.
I think it actually did taste like red velvet, but I was in a rush so will try a longer steep next time. Gotta hold off on the rating for now!

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77
drank English Toffee by Simpson & Vail
2339 tasting notes

Good morning Steepster :)

My tea cupboard is a mess… I have too many little tins and this morning when I was rummaging around in there a few fell out on my foot. whoops! It actually seems a bit less cumbersome to keep them in the envelopes somehow, although the tea probably stays fresher in the tins.

I also broke my For Life teapot this week which is a major bummer… I’m forever breaking teaware! Might need to talk a walk down to Japantown this afternoon to buy a new one.

Anyway I thought I’d drink this for breakfast this morning. It isn’t anything too special, though adding sugar and soymilk seems to bring out more of the toffee notes. I doubt this will be a repurchase for me somehow.

boychik

Sorry abt your teapot. Was it glass or ceramic? I broke glass teapot ForLife almost as soon as I got it, but ceramic keeps strong. If you get a new one pic pls

TeaBrat

It was a red ceramic teapot. I liked it :) Oh well…

boychik

I do have red ceramic. Just don’t get glass ForLife , in all reviews it’s prone to breakage .

TeaBrat

I have broken a lot of glass teaware myself!

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drank Root Beer by Simpson & Vail
1422 tasting notes

Ok, so. Root beer teas. For sheer depth and forcefulness of flavour, DavidsTea Root Beer Float wins, hands down.

This one is definitely a black tea, that has had a dollop of root beer flavouring added. Because of this, there isn’t that extra-ness in the flavour. I think if there was some sarsaparilla or something in here, it’d be way better.

That being said, this is not a bad tea. It just pales beside other root beer teas. The black base is reasonable, and shows up under the root beer flavour. The root beer is indeed root beer, although the smell is truer than the taste. And it’s good with cream. :)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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75

SIPDOWN! (101)

This tea was given to me by TeaBrat. She added it to a swap just out of the kindness of her heart. :) Overall, I find it pretty good, and caffeine-free options are always nice in the evening. I did a shorter steep this time around so the peppermint flavor would be a bit less intense. My only issue with this blend is the stevia – it adds a weird faux sugar aftertaste that I don’t like. I wish they would leave that out and allow people to sweeten it themselves if they choose to. I think a little bit of vanilla would be helpful too, just to give it that sweetness that candy canes obviously have.

I’m happy that I got the chance to try this blend, but it’s not something I would restock. But I’m not the biggest mint fan either, especially peppermint. :P

Edit: I hope I’m not annoying anyone with all of these sipdown notes… I realize they don’t have much substance! Don’t worry, I’ll go back to writing meaningful tasting notes soon.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Dexter

If the tasting note conveys your thoughts on the tea then it’s meaningful. :))

Cameron B.

You know what I mean! :P Smarty-pants.

Dexter

I was trying to say that we are interested in your thoughts and impressions – this style of note is just as meaningful as the more technical style.
(I’m also not a mint fan…..)

Cameron B.

Well that’s sweet of you to say. I was mostly concerned because of the volume of these notes I’ve been posting. Don’t want to spam up anyone’s dashboard!

Sarsonator

I just dropped by to say: “Eeeeeew MINT!!!” :p

Dexter

LOL no worries, my dashboard was a little slow tonight – I actually enjoyed the “spam” ;))

Sarsonator

OMG. I just realized that this makes me a troll.

A MINT TROLL!!!!!

TeaBrat

Agree, most of the time I don’t like stevia in things either.

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80
drank Creme Brulee by Simpson & Vail
227 tasting notes

Thanks Cheri for the sample!
I must admit, the first and only time I’ve ever had Creme Brulee was on my cruise last month, so I’m not the perfect judge of accuracy here! I can say that this was caramelly and sort of creamy and vanilla-y. I’m not getting much custard from this, but I’m satisfied with what I am getting. I nice sweet dessert tea.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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86

Backlog
I cold brewed this yesterday and took it with me to Disney. This is delicious, roasty, honey, sweet, cold brewed this was fabulous and refreshing and still yummy when it got hot from the Florida heat. This is on my repurchase list. My favorite of the samples I received from Sampson & Vail.

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32
drank Vietnam Green by Simpson & Vail
227 tasting notes

Backlog
This is what I was afraid that the Nepal Green tea would be like. This is pure astringency. Wasn’t a fan, and didn’t finish.

Cheri

I feel badly when I dump a cup of tea, but life is too short to drink bad tea.

Mandy

Exactly, I have so much tea I need to try, I don’t have time to waste on something I don’t like.

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75

Backlog
I had this cold brewed yesterday. I must admit, the mention of dryness in the description scared me a bit. But this wasn’t that bad. Sort of vegetal, and only slightly dry, almost like a wetter kind if dry if that makes since. The dryness will still keep me for restocking, but I wouldn’t turn a cup down.

Preparation
Iced 28 OZ / 828 ML

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