Simpson & Vail

Edit Company

Recent Tasting Notes

80

Drinking this “grandpa style” today. I looked at my To-Do list for the day and realized I just needed a tea to keep me going through the day, so I decided on this one. I loaded my glass tumbler with 9 grams of dried rolls of leaves and have been filling it with water as needed throughout the morning.

This is a very smooth and light tea, with a silky taste and mouthfeel. I haven’t been paying any attention for specific flavors today—just enjoying the tea. This is an oolong that I’d like to keep stocked in my collection, as it is one that I come back to fairly regularly.

Preparation
9 g 20 OZ / 591 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

94

I needed a whimsical tea today for this mad as a hatter winter weather. This tea should do. It’s also very tasty. Immediately on opening the pouch, I am reminded of all of the flowers that are constantly in anything Wonderland related, from the book to the Disney movie. So many flowers in this cup! The blend is made up of an Indian black tea, rose Congou, violet flavoring, and tons of pretty flowers. The flavor is divine — both rose and violets equally take the stage but the black tea also comes through amazingly well. It’s malty, smooth and sweet. I’d love the base tea even without the floral flavors. I’d definitely stock up on this one. It’s one of my favorite floral teas.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a mug // 12 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

82

Now for Dostoyevsky’s blend. I haven’t actually read any of his books… yet. Assumptions out of the way, I kind of expected this to be a smoky blend… and with the bergamot would have been lovely. I’m a fan of the occasional smoky tea, yet this is not one. This blend features black teas from India, Sri Lanka, China and Taiwan and bergamot oil. The black teas here make for an exceptional blend with just the perfect amount of bright bergamot. The black tea is brisk enough while also being smooth, sweet, and tasty. A great showcase for the bergamot. Though this tea does not have my favorite bergamot (that would be tough to beat) this bergamot is certainly delicious enough for me.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 13 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

73

Great Expectations is one of my favorites, so I’m happy to try a Dickens blend! I’m a little puzzled by this one though. Interestingly enough, this is a black tea blended with a little green oolong. I don’t think I’ve had many green oolong/black tea blends before, but the result basically just tastes like a roasted oolong instead of bits of green oolong with black tea. I can tell there is some sort of fruit flavor but I had to look up what it is – black currant. Not much flavor, just enough to tell it’s there. Black currant isn’t my favorite but I’ve had worse black currant teas. This is an interesting flavor combination but not really one I love.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 15 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep

Edited to add: svtea.com has 15% off everything until the end of 1/8 with the code HOTTEA18!

Mastress Alita

As a librarian, that SV sale is really tempting… I’ve been curious about the author blends for a while! (We did a Dickens event at our local library last month around Christmas, and one for Poe in October, and had a Jane Austen tea in July).

I have a few green tea/black blends, but I’ve never seen a green oolong/black blend either. Intriguing!

tea-sipper

Give them a try! They have the sampler box (and they are 15% off right now!)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

74

I was weirdly excited about this and I have no clue why because I don’t love Jane Austen. However, I guess I could sense it was a good tea because this awesome smelling brew came out with lovely notes of spearmint, lavender, and vanilla. All distinctive and yet subtle.

Check out the full review here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2017/10/07/jane-austens-black-tea-blend-from-simpson-and-vail/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

90

Tea Swap
Sipdown

Work tea session

Sweet, malty, & full of nom-noms.

I had shared this tea with a coworker. She made this into a latte (per suggestion from the note on the packet) while I had mine ‘black.’ Upon listening to her taking her first sip of the tea, I assumed that by the “Holy shhhhhhhh*t,” she liked it.

I liked my cup, too, and will look into finding more of this, if available.

Sil

i’d forgotten about this one…it IS a good one!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

82

This tea seemed like a good tea to have around the holidays. I haven’t read Little Women yet (it’s around here somewhere) but it seems like a wintery book to me? At least what I know of the book suggests winter. Anyway, this tea is more summer than winter. It is fruity and fresh. The base is a Chunmee green with additional rose petals, apples and strawberries. I noticed many pieces of fruit in my infuser! I wouldn’t say the flavors stand out with strictly apple or strawberry… it’s more of a general fruit flavor. The rose notes are very light… more in the background. The description mentions an almond flavor and I wish it would have been more noticeable. But I’m very glad for the green base in this one. This is a delicious blend but I think it needs adjustments to make it a fantastic blend.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 30 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // 25 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

85

Now, I was never much a fan of Austen, especially when I heard the Brontes were also not much of a fan. I’m a Bronte fan completely. I recently watched ‘To Walk Invisible’ and was wondering what is with all the Branwell screen time? I guess he added drama. I’m much more of a fan of this tea than Austen. The black tea acts as the perfect base (there, yet not too strong) for great flavors. It’s a unique blend of spearmint, lavender and vanilla flavor. Not only do these three flavors go wonderfully well together and complement each other, but they are also equally balanced. This tea almost should have been the Bronte tea and each flavor could have represented each sister (lavender for Emily because she loved the moors, vanilla for Anne because she was the sweet one, and spearmint for the boldness or possibly the freshness of Charlotte’s writing). I read Anne’s ‘Agnes Grey’ last year, and if it wasn’t for her sisters brilliant writing, I think her writing would have been even more well received than it is. So even though some would say Anne didn’t bring much to the table, I disagree! Now I wish I were reading a Bronte book today. This tea would be lovely with reading.

Another one of my kitty buddies had a rough night last night. Fluffy didn’t pass too far behind her brother, who passed away on 2/4 of this year. She seemed fine up to a couple days ago.. she was a scrappy one! Her suffering wasn’t long, but it is very hard to know they are suffering even for a short time. Another hard day in a hard year. Both cats kind of bookended my Dad’s hospital visits this year. Next year HAS to be better.

Flavors: Lavender, Spearmint, Vanilla

Nicole

So sorry hear about the kitties and Dad. :(

Arby

I’m so sorry for your loss.

tea-sipper

Thanks very much, Nicole and Arby. Dad is doing better after his stroke and brain hemorrhage in June. He is walking every day, working on his speech for his aphasia every day, and has recently started shoveling too much. So the year COULD have been worse, but it also could have went better.

tea-sipper working on his speech doesn’t just mean talking — he does worksheets, works on tablet apps for aphasia and reads aloud.
Dexter

So sorry to hear this….

tea-sipper

Thanks Dexter

Nattie

I’m so sorry about your kitties ): my grandad and uncle both suffered strokes, my uncle very recently, and I know how frustrated they were with their aphasia. Both are doing infinitely better now, and I hope the same can soon be said about your dad too.

On a better note, I love the Brontës too! But I also love Jane Austen XD

tea-sipper

Thanks, Nattie – it must have been very tough having two of your family members go through aphasia. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for anyone to go through that. But it is definitely something that can improve over time and glad to hear your grandad and uncle are doing better with it!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Not bad tea with deep taste

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

86

I was looking for some herbal treats to share with my wife in the evening, and was happy to find some rooibos-based holiday flavors to add to my cart. Then in a true show of bipartisanship, I smiled, drifted to the OTHER side of the aisle, and found plenty of caffeinated options to agree with. Simpson & Vail’s “St. Nick’s Tea” is the first among them to make it to our cup.

Deliciously nutty with a strong sense of maple, this flavored black tea has just enough of a chocolate edge to make it seem decadent. While it was my first cup on this cold morning, it won’t replace my daily black tea any time soon. Great tea to share with family and friends – holiday or any day.

Flavors: Chocolate, Maple, Nutty

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

75

I have been enjoying a number of Ceylon teas lately (this year is the 150-year anniversary of teas from Ceylon/Sri Lanka), so I thought I’d add some of my favorites to my notes on Steepster. I will start with this tea.

The dried leaves are broken and machine-rolled; very black and consistent. The color of the brewed liquor is similar to that of a brown ale beer.

I steeped 9 grams of dried tea in 20 ounces of near-boiling water for 4 minutes. I attempted multiple steepings of the same leaves, but this tea does not work for multiple steeps.

The initial aroma came across as malty—bread-like, even. The initial flavor I picked up was that of oatmeal or even cooked barley, with a hint of malt to it. There was also some creamy and bread/toast-like flavors as well.

Overall, it was a very typical black Ceylon tea, and is one of my favorite teas sold by Simpson & Vail. I have come to appreciate these types of black teas as ones that have enough caffeine to move me through the day but not so much that I am up for long hours after drinking them. I appreciate the fact that I can drink this on an empty stomach and not feel ill from the tannins (unlike a malty Assam tea). This has become one of my regular teas and, given the inexpensive cost for the loose leaf variety, it doesn’t “break the bank” to have it frequently.

An enjoyable tea.

Flavors: Cream, Malt, Oats, Roasted Barley, Toast

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 9 g 20 OZ / 591 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

52
drank Love Essence by Simpson & Vail
1352 tasting notes

Trying again. I bumped up the steep time and heat a bit.

The tea is a very pale yellow and clear, and smells like a vegetal green tea. I don’t smell the rose in the aroma.

The flavor has just the slightest hint of rose. Honestly, if I didn’t know it was there, I probably wouldn’t identify it as such. It’s there mostly as a sort of whiff of volatile oil right at the beginning of the sip.

I like it, but I want more rose. Maybe the next cup? Right now I have to mark it down for roselessness.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

52
drank Love Essence by Simpson & Vail
1352 tasting notes

Sadly, this tea is no longer available, and if it wasn’t for Pinterest (of which I am not a member, or maybe I am but I never figured out how to use it) I would not even have a description of it.

I say sadly because it’s a gorgeous tea — the dry leaf is huge and twisty and has rose petals in it. It smells of the generic Simpson & Vail flavored tea jumble (the paper bag it came in allowed the smells of other teas to co-mingle to the point where they all smell similar).

The cup I’m drinking now is clearly picking up some remnants of last night’s carmelized pear rooibos from the Breville, so I’m not going to take notes on this one.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

73

Black currant isn’t usually my favorite fruit. And teas that have them usually don’t taste very well to me. Call me a fan of all the other fruits! This tea isn’t bad though, even with the blackberry leaves added, which I usually find too bitter. Not here. Honestly, the flavor to me might seem more like blackberry than black currant, so maybe I like it better when a black currant tea reminds me of blackberry. And blackberry leaves do not taste like blackberry to me, so that can’t be it either. An okay tea for being black currant – better than I’d like most of them. As good as this tea can get, I suppose!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoon for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

76

I had to try this guava blend when I saw the other S&V guava blend. Side by side comparing! A white tea blend that has guava flavor. I taste more of strawberry than guava so possibly it’s hiding here too. Don’t let the hibiscus mention scare you from this one, there is no noticeable hibiscus in the flavor when I tried it. The second steep I poured just boiled water and the white tea flavor was much more prominent while losing some of the fruit. I’m not docking points for that though, as I really shouldn’t use boiling water on white tea. I just know it doesn’t really ruin white tea. I like this as strawberry flavored white tea but as a guava tea it kind of fails.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoon for a full mug// 28 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // couple minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

73
drank Green Guava by Simpson & Vail
2419 tasting notes

I wanted to try this tea because I’ve been liking guava flavors in tea recently. (I haven’t actually had guava so I’m no expert.) But I think this tea might be misnamed. I’m not sure if the guava is hiding behind other fruit flavors (raspberry), but I’m not really tasting it here. There isn’t a ton of fruit flavor here anyway. It’s a really great green tea base though.. I never really see White Monkey green tea anywhere.
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a full mug// 28 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // 25 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Assam Beesakopie by Simpson & Vail
236 tasting notes

I’m really not good with CTC style teas. I’m so used to full leaf teas that whenever I use the CTC I always put too much in. Inevitably, the little tea balls all compact and form an impenetrable shell, all the while, coloring my tea VERY strong.

That being said, even strong, this wasn’t a total disaster. It had some bright citrus notes going on underneath it all with some malty notes present as well.

I’ll have to try another round with much less tea. This one is on me. Therefore I’m holding off on the rating as of now.

Flavors: Bitter, Citrus, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

83

SVtea.com just happens to have 15% off their dessert teas until 10/16 and you really can’t go wrong on any of them. I love most of these dessert blends. I realized I hadn’t written anything on this one yet. There is plenty of chocolate and sweetness in the flavor here, on this black tea base. The black tea is mild enough to let the flavors shine. The little red flowers in the blend really make the blend pop. There is a great amount of flavor here for only including the occasional cocoa nib and flavoring (and especially because this blend is not exactly new and fresh from S&V at this point… I’ve had it a while). How S&V can keep their teas so fresh is a GOOD mystery. Definitely chocolate flavor here! Plenty of flavor for two steeps. I like it.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep

Maddy Barone

Sounds delicious!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

87
drank Plum Black by Simpson & Vail
2419 tasting notes

I was deliberating buying this one because of the mixed reviews. But I love plum so had to give it a try. It turns out I LOVE it. Who said this didn’t have any flavor? I think it’s delicious! Maybe not 100% accurate of a juicy sweet ripe plum, but there is plenty unique flavor here to love: definitely fruity with undertones of a lovely floral. The black tea is great with the flavor. Two delicious steeps with lots of flavor! I’ve tried better plum teas but this is great stuff. I never lose with S&V teas.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3-4 minute steep

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

98
drank Cocoa Shells by Simpson & Vail
2419 tasting notes

I think S&V ordered these and put them in stock at my suggestion? Or possibly they were thinking of doing that anyway. But WHOA these are dreamy cocoa shells. In price, fragrance, and flavor these are amazing. I always say that cocoa shells are the perfect chocolate ingredient for tea blends: NOT chocolate chips, NOT cocoa nibs, NOT chocolate flavoring. Just the scent when you open the pouch is like melted baking chocolate. It has that lovely bittersweet tangy flavor with that sweetness that can only be chocolate. Not only does brewing these up supply you with minerals and antioxidants but the low caffeine means I can drink this any time of day and it’s perfect for nighttime sipping. This is a healthy cup and satisfies the sweet tooth! I will definitely be keeping cocoa shells - in particular S&V’s cocoa shells - in stock!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// just boiled // 9 minute steep

Flavors: Chocolate

ashmanra

This sounds delightful!

Fjellrev

Cool that they carry them now! I wonder if they’ll venture into some flavoured/blended varieties.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

84

The Brontes are some of my heroes. Yes, all three sisters, even Anne (not really Branwell, sorry guy.) To be so brilliant yet so isolated! I’ll dread the day I’ve read all of their books, but then I will just start right over again. I wanted some reading fuel yesterday so went with this choice. Fierce Brontes (and caffeine), give me some reading power! I think it worked. I was reading outside on a great summer day the amazing Bone People by Keri Hulme which is a book that I think the Brontes would love, with the themes of solitude and isolation. ANYWAY, the tea is lovely. A crisp black tea with oodles of fruit flavor. ACTUAL papaya and raspberry bits, not just flavorings. But there apparently are pear and gooseberry flavors here that I don’t think I noticed. Of course I’ve never had gooseberry so who knows? Maybe the fruit flavors just melded together because it is certainly fruity! Plenty of pretty flowers. The black tea pairs perfectly with the fruit. It’s a fruity summer concoction and certainly delicious.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 15 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

92
drank Root Beer by Simpson & Vail
2419 tasting notes

If you’re looking for a great root beer tea blend, this is the only one you’ll ever need. Unless you’d also like a no caffeine option, then S&V has a delicious rooibos root beer blend too! This is so strongly of delicious root beer! With only black tea, sarsaparilla root, and rootbeer flavor, I’m not sure how this blend has such strong flavor. I could swear it even has a hint of creaminess of a root beer float. This might satisfy root beer cravings if you don’t want all that sugar or don’t have any root beer around. But I added some rock sugar to the second steep anyway and it resulted in an even more delicious brew. S&V are just flavor champions every. single. time.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep

Fjellrev

The scent of this tea is INSANE. So powerful, root beer to the extreme!

tea-sipper

Yep, I know… I have no idea how S&V does it!

Dr Jim

This is a strong, old-style root beer. It was too much for my grand-kids, even with sweetener.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

84

I had to buy the lovely literary sampler gift box from S&V. Sadly, the box doesn’t come with adorable mini versions of the awesome big tins…. but handy pouches of the teas will do. I’m glad to sample them anyway! (And each sample pouch comes with a few teaspoons or more.) Today seemed like a very Shakespeare day… not sure why. The blend features a Rose Congou black tea with rose petals, rosemary, lavender and bergamot. I hate to say it though, but this blend seems a lot like S&V’s Victorian Earl Grey blend because I am probably too overly familiar with their wonderful offerings. To be fair, I haven’t actually tried their Victorian Earl Grey blend, so don’t take my word for it. But this blend is great. A light black tea with plenty of floral flavor, with a hint of fresh, bright bergamot. A great combination.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 10 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 minute steep

Orphia

I’ve tried both. There’s very little difference between the two, if any at all. It doesn’t change the fact that it’s a lovely tea, but it’s still pretty much Victorian Earl Grey repackaged.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

85

Simpson & Vail sent a sample over with my order. Of course I’ll try it! I’m not exactly sure what dragonfruit should taste like but this is tasty. Plenty of some sort of fruit flavor (and S&V’s flavors are usually accurate.) But there are other fruits here: apple, mango, strawberry, orange, lemon. I actually see chunks of fruit (mango?) and orange blossoms. They are pretty tasty together. Just fruit fruit fruit. Hibiscus is mentioned but I definitely don’t think there is too much here, or really any that is noticeable in my serving. That is a good thing! A green rooibos is always refreshing to see, there aren’t many of them. Both steeps are very flavorful and delicious!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// few minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 minute steep

Fjellrev

Oh sweet, orange blossom too. Always nice!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.