Simpson & Vail
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Recent Tasting Notes
I originally bought this tea because the ingredients sounded so unusual and interesting to me. Citrus tarragon black tea? Yes, of course I want to try it. Yet it’s sat here for a little bit with me avoiding it for whatever reason. Why?! This is surprisingly delicious.
I get a creamy mouthfeel first, followed by faint (yet definitely present) tarragon. There’s a hint of the black base which is smooth, and then a hint of sweetness that’s vague yet citrus-y. It makes me think of using this tea as brine for cooking something, although frankly I think I may just want to drink it as-is. Definitely a savory tea, and the smell of tarragon is much stronger than the taste – in this case, I think that’s a good thing.
Savory tea lovers, I definitely recommend trying this one out.
1.5 tsp in 12 oz.
Aha! Its gone. This was the very last of this tea.
The final recap- It does taste of almond, so points for honest advertising. However, it seems to be lacking something. It falls a little flat.
I’m not in love with this, though its done nothing to offend. Off it goes, and it shall not be missed!
Sadly it’s a sipdown for me, I have really enjoyed this blend. Today I added some of my own ginger root to the mix which did a nice job of boosting the flavor a bit. I really liked this tea so perhaps I should look into placing another order with S&V, though BF says I don’t need to buy any more tea for at least a year… he he
So comforting today… whatever it is about chai of late, I’m both craving and having it often. Also a bit surprised as to how much I actually have in the house…
This tastes a lot like Zen’s Masala Chai that I had last night, and today the chocolate is barely there. Still enjoying it, just more chocolate, darn it!
I guess I’m on an almond tea roll this morning. Now that I think about it, an almond pastry roll would be delicious right now too!
This tea is much smoother than the last almond tea I just tried and for that I am grateful! It has a nice round almond taste, but that is about it. There is no wow factor. It isn’t bad by any means, but it isn’t grabbing me either. It was good to try, won’t be a restock, but isn’t going into the “get rid of it” pile either.
I received a sample of this from Marcel Duchamp! After falling in love with a green chai with the name Kashmiri, the similar name of this tea is intriguing.
I’m smelling rose and cardamon when the tea is steeped. Wow, rose and cardamon go really well together! I used to work next door to this shop that sold a specific type of middle eastern food (the exact country is escaping my memory) and they would have desserts that I would get regularly. Most had rosewater in them, but one ice cream was rose and cardamon, which is why this tea is bringing back that memories.
The tea is really smooth and I’m not getting any bitterness. I’m finding I like it just as much with as without sugar. The cardamon is strong, but not overpowering which is a really impressive balance. The rose merges so well with the cardamon that it is hard to pick out on it’s own at times. The tea looses it’s smooth edge just slightly once the cup has cooled. I really like it, but I haven’t decided if it is a must have or not. Maybe I’ll know in a few more cups.
And now for something completely different.
Now this cold brew was just what I needed to quench my thirst. Very fresh coconut with mild green rooibos. I’m forever perplexed why there aren’t more green rooibos blends out there.
This is one of the very few S&V teas that I would probably reorder (although overall, there just doesn’t seem like enough awesome ones to justify ever placing another order with them).
Hmm, I think this is even better as a cold brew than hot. I was hesitant to try it out since I wasn’t sure how the chocolate note would translate, but it works here. The orange wakes up a bit more and the base seems to prefer the cold.
Now to figure out what to steep over the next two days since I’ve helped organize a conference and will be running around all weekend. I think the caterers are going to bring either Stash or Two Leaves and a Bud or something but I need a backup plan. :)
Bleh. Still not well, but doing my best to get better!
Am drinking vast quantities of tea that I do not particulrly love. This fits that discription exactly.
The best of my massive order of Simpson and Vail? Yes. Does that translate to a very good tea over-all? No.
This is mildly nutty, and perfectly reasonable, but do I love it? Nope. I’ll be happy when its gone.
Thanks Courtney for the sample! there was enough left I probably could have made two small cups, but I figured I’d over leaf a bit and see if that would create more of the flavour that the dry leaf promises. I also toyed with adding milk, but wound up passing in favour of using the milk for a match latte later tonight.
Overleafing, did bring out more flavour so this is a more enjoyable cup in comparison to the first one. What I like about this blend in particular, is that it’s pretty creamy and has strong vanilla notes but doesn’t claim to be a “float” tea – at least as far as the name goes (I haven’t read the tea description, though I probably should). However, it’s still really light overall.
I may have slightly oversteeped this (five minutes), which could have been a help and hindrance. It may have added to the strong rootbeer flavouring, but there’s also a little underlying bitterness that’s a touch unpleasant.
I hate to say it, but my favourite black rootbeer tea is probably still the discontinued DT version (please bring it back for summer or something!) despite all its floaties. Just because Cherry Cola was crap doesn’t mean that one was too!
In other news, I think I’ve finally stopped adding to my swap for Courtney – now I just have to find the time/money to send it.
Thank you Courtney! I think this cup is more flavorful than the last I had but I think I have been spoiled by all the “float” teas because I find myself searching for the delicious vanilla creaminess that I have come to expect with root beer flavor.
Thanks MissB for such a generous sample of this wonderful tea! You must have known I would just love it.. and you got it right… I do.
I wasn’t sure if I should try this one with the remnants of my head cold or not, but I have been looking through my S&V catalog lately trying to decide when/what to order from them. You see, when MissB sent me a generous sample of Candy Cane & a sample of Cinnamon Chocolate Brownie from S&V I really liked them so I went online looking to see what all they offered and found they had a catalog, it arrived safely and is sitting on the end table by the couch with notes by things I might like to order… narrowing it down is the problem. Anyway, the Coconut Macaroon was one at the top of my list to try… & here she sent it to me.. just like she knew :) I just couldn’t wait a couple of more days.
Dry, I couldn’t make out much fragrance, but my nose isn’t working well either. Steeped, this came through as true coconut macaroon. You know the ones like you get at the Chinese buffet that are dense and sweet and yummy? I hope when I get completely better that I like it even more.
My mom and sister love coconut macaroons too… do I dare share?!?! I’m not sure how my mom would feel about a flavored teas, but my sister enjoys iced fruit teas… bet she’ll love this.
So, I mixed the last little bit of this (about half a cup worth) with the last little bit of Herbal Infusion’s Strawberry Cream Cacao (also about half a cup worth) with the hope that the two would pair well because they’re really similar and that they’d piggyback on each other’s flavours – both individually are a little weak – and create and nice, strong cup.
How excited was I when that turned out to be the case? Well, the answer is pretty fucking excited. Combined, the two made for a tea with a thicker mouthfeel and almost a “spongey” chocolate cake flavour accompanied by a very rich, flavourful, and aromatic strawberry that was indulgent and delectable.
That’s what I call tea blending success! Some really lovely sipdowns indeed.
thank you for this sample Marcel Duchamp! I didn’t remember this was smoky until I brewed it, so I’m glad I separated this sample from the others! I needed something brisk this morning. A Scottish inspired tea should probably be brisk, so I went with this one… Scotland probably gets the same amount of sun as NY… this better be the last week of this snow! I’m so sun deprived! I steeped up the teaspoon and a half for this cup. It’s gone now! Both steeps are pretty much the same — surprisingly smoky but it seems like it’s on an assam type base, so that seems different. It is brisk, as I expected, slightly malty. Smoky smoky! I wish had more to say about this one… but their description is definitely accurate. But it’s another good one from S&V. I’ve tried a few from them now and they are always good!
I think this is the last of my Simpson & Vail Earl Greys. It has a lot in common with the other two.
Usually I smell bergamot in Earl Grey dry leaf, sometimes eye-wateringly so, but whatever I smell usually smooths out and becomes must more mellow after steeping. I don’t smell bergamot in this dry leaf, unless it is the vaguely floral scent I’m smelling. I don’t smell citrus. I don’t really smell vanilla either. But I do smell a nice, solid, earthy black tea.
That tea also takes center stage in the aroma after steeping. It’s malty and sweet which makes me think there may be some Chinese black tea in the blend and I suspect there is some Ceylon because of the color. It has a deep red, almost garnet liquor. The description doesn’t say what sort of black tea is in the blend, but I am guessing it is similar to what is in the Earl Grey Aromatic, which contains both Ceylon and Chinese Blacks, as well as Assam and Darjeeling. I don’t get the heft of Assam here, but perhaps that’s the influence of the cream (even though I don’t smell cream).
In flavor, this is a tasty, sweet, medium-full bodied black tea with a floral note. Because I don’t really get a distinctive bergamot flavor, It doesn’t really taste like an Earl Grey to me, but then, neither did the S&V plain Earl Grey. I’m also not really tasting cream, which makes me want to do a side by side between this and the S&V non-creamy Earl.
Essentially, I have the same impression of this as an Earl Grey crème that I had of its sibling as an Earl Grey, which is to say I think the tea is lovely but it doesn’t really seem to meet the criteria for an Earl Grey, with the additional point that I don’t really get the crème either. Maybe my taster is off. I’ll try it side by side another time and see what happens. For now, rating it the same as its sibling.
This was an EU Travelling Teabox Try.
There’s no two ways of saying this. It smells like soap. Not even perfumed soap, just soap soap. No hints of vanilla or of rooibos. Only soap. It smells exactly like the way accidentally getting a little shampoo in your mouth in the shower tastes.
It tastes like rooibos and not too much like soap. There’s a little bit of that sensation hanging in the nostrils after sipping, but I expect that’s because of how closely related to taste the sense of smell is. The vanilla flavouring is not very strong and mainly shows up as an aftertaste. Unfortunately that’s where it gets mixed in with that shampoo in the mouth feeling, so all in all, this is actually not very pleasant.
I can’t seem to get rid of that feeling of shampoo in my sinuses.
Originally I had intended this to be a Take and take all of it, but having tasted it, I thought better of it and put it back in the box. Demoted.
A vanilla flavoured blend that I’m scoring low. Of all things! O.o I’m very disappointed.
I spent all of yesderday coughing up various chunks of lung. Yay.
I seem to be a bit better this morning, thank goodness, though still coughing. I swear, if I have any more Ricola, I will start to yodel.
But! Its time to move away from the lemon teas, and try some more regular teas. But still not the precious favorites.
Well, enter Simpson and Vail.
This, I think, is my favorite of the S&V teas I got. Its actually living up to its discription.
And you got to love the soothing properties of tea.