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Popular Teas from Simpson & VailSee All 320 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
“An Ode to Tea” Alphabet Challenge – Z
Yay, the last letter! And I actually ended up mostly having a tea for every letter, which is somewhat concerning, heh… >.>
Anyway. I was a bit nervous about trying this one, as I’m not really a lavender fan. I’m okay with it in small doses, but it often tastes like soap to me. Happily, it’s not like that here. The sage is stronger than the lavender, and it helps to push things in more of a savory, herbaceous direction. The rooibos is quite strong as well, and has a woody flavor with a bit of a medicinal quality. Sometimes the combination of rooibos and berry can come off as very medicinal, like cough syrup, but it doesn’t quite go to that place here because of the savory nature of the herbs. The elderberry is also quite subtle, mostly adding a dark syrupy base note.
I quite like it, and I drank it alongside a rather sweet wagashi, which was a nice pairing. I don’t think I’ll reorder it though, just because it’s a bit of a niche tisane for me, and I don’t even drink tisanes very often in general. And maybe it’s just a touch too medicinal? But I am enjoying it, and will happily sip down the rest of the packet. :)
Flavors: Berry, Elderberry, Herbaceous, Jam, Lavender, Medicinal, Pine, Rooibos, Sage, Savory, Sweet, Wood
“An Ode to Tea” Alphabet Challenge – V
This was part of my S&V order late last year, but I haven’t gotten around to trying it yet. Today’s the day!
I admit, I’m not expecting much after seeing the other notes for this tea. But it’s honestly not bad. I do taste bubblegum, as tea-sipper mentioned, but I have that issue often with Dammann’s orange teas as well. I don’t really get vanilla, and only a little orange. Mostly it’s a strong jasmine green tea with some bubblegum.
Not exactly good, but not awful either. I’ve been spoiled by Teavivre’s lush jasmine teas, so this pales quite a bit in comparison. That being said, the jasmine is okay, it doesn’t taste like perfume or anything. But I am happy that I only have one ounce to sip through!
Flavors: Bubblegum, Candy, Floral, Jasmine, Orange, Sweet
As a huge NPS fan, I dashed off to purchase the sampler set from Simpson & Vail. It was delivered quickly and neatly packaged. A little gift to myself! We’re in the midst of planning a trip to Yosemite, so I thought I’d start there.
I’ve now finished the Yosemite sample and tried it at several steeping lengths. I felt 4 minutes was the best steeping time and brought out the pineapple flavor more. That said, I hoped for more pineapple taste. I felt the spearmint was a more noticeable flavor.
All and all, a nice tea to kick off our trip plans but I’m not likely to order again.
Flavors: Pineapple, Spearmint
I picked this one up in my last S&V order because I love passion fruit and fruity oolongs, plus they offer it in a 1-ounce package! I wish that were true for all of their teas…
I was a bit worried about the hibiscus, but it steeped up a pretty pale coral color, so it can’t be too bad. Unfortunately, it’s quite bland. I get a bit of tart fruitiness, but nothing that I would ever describe as passion fruit. Mostly rose hips, I think? The oolong looks green but tastes a touch roasty and also has some mineral notes.
Quite meh! But that’s okay, I’m glad to have tried it. I’ll have to try it as a cold brew as well.
Flavors: Fruity, Mineral, Roasted, Rosehips, Sweet, Tart
Sipdown! (14 | 218)
“An Ode to Tea” Alphabet Challenge – G
Yay, time for another National Park tea! No idea what eleuthero root or pau d’arco should taste like, but I’ve had some prickly pear-flavored things before, and they’re usually sort of vaguely fruity and tart, but tasty! And almost always fuchsia, ha ha…
I’m really liking this tea! So far, most of the National Park teas have been quite good, which I’m pleasantly surprised about. This has a subtle fruity-tart flavor to it that reminds me quite a bit of rhubarb. And I love rhubarb, so that’s a good thing! Not sure about the other herbal-y ingredients, I don’t get much of an herbal/earthy note here. Bit of hay maybe? The base is very mellow with a soft woodiness. Something is adding a nice bit of sweetness, not sure what that is, but I dig it!
Another yummy one from the National Park collection! Not sure that I need it in my cupboard, since I already have a couple of rhubarb teas. But very happy to have tried it!
Flavors: Hay, Rhubarb, Smooth, Sweet, Tart, Wood
E is for… Edgar Allen Poe’s Black Tea Blend.
I really loved this one! It’s been on my wishlist for a while, and Michelle kindly sent some for me to try. It turned a fun pink color from the beet cubes, but I couldn’t taste any earthiness from them. It’s really a lightly smoked EG and I’m here for it.
Flavors: Bergamot, Earl Grey, Smoke
C is for… Caribbean Splash.
This steeped up a deep, dark red wine color and I knew my husband would love it and I would not. It was very tart, even with the added honey, and had the flavor of bitter orange peel. With the name, I might have expected pineapple or something similarly juicy. It would have worked a little better for me if the flavor had been more orange juice and less orange zest/pith.
Flavors: Bitter, Hibiscus, Orange Zest, Tart
National vacation day tea: I’ve never been to Kenya, but it and Tanzania are on my list. I am visiting my parent as my mom is having health issues so this is from my dad’s cupboard. I got him a variety of S&V teas a few Christmases ago and this was one he picked for repurchase. He can be particular about teas that leave an aftertaste, but this one is fairly smooth.
The tea has several notes, nutty, toasty, and malty with a slight caramel hay taste thrown in. I brewed a strong pot this morning, but a lighter afternoon brew might bring out some different notes. This reminds me of a much darker and smokier version of a yellow tea. A yummy cup that I’ll add to my next S&V order.
Flavors: Caramel, Malt, Nutty, Toasty
Yay, more National Parks!
This one is a green tea with blueberry, currant, cornflower, and oatstraw. I admit, I don’t think I’ve ever had oatstraw? Dry scent is deliciously blueberry with a bit of a toasty grain aroma that makes me think of Corn Nuts. Is that the oatstraw? (shrugs)
Yum yum yum yum yum! Sorry, I’m really liking the blueberry here. It reminds me of those dried blueberries that I used to eat in Blueberry Morning cereal (do they still make that…?) or even blueberry jam. Very syrupy sweet, concentrated, and rich with none of the slight tartness of a fresh blueberry. The green base is extremely mellow, just subtly dry grassy and smooth. I’m not sure about the oatstraw? I can taste something that could be oat, but that could just be part of the green tea itself. Anyway, there’s a bit of hay-oat thing going on.
So really happy with this one! It makes me so happy when these teas are yummy, because the packaging is so pretty that it would be a shame if they were all duds…
Flavors: Blueberry, Dried Fruit, Dry Grass, Hay, Honey, Jam, Oats, Smooth, Sweet
This is quite bland?
There’s a hint of cinnamon, but otherwise I mostly taste green rooibos, and not much of that. It’s actually almost reminding me of watery cola?
Odd. Well I have two ounces of it, so it’ll certainly get another chance ha ha!
Flavors: Cinnamon, Cola, Spices, Wood
“I smell a little vanilla. Marshmallows. lots of smelling Pie, some kind of pie. Flan. Is this another banana cream pie? sips I dunno smells like, fragrant, like perfume. Is it fruity? Is it custard, like a custard thing, like vanilla? Rice pudding. heh I got no clue. What is it? Is it rice pudding? Is it custard? Is it vanilla? Cinnamon, has it got cinnamon in there? Ginger, say ginger! Gingerbread! Is that what it is — gingerbread? Ginger? Ginger? Has it got star anise in it? Is that it? Star anise? Haha.”
Carrot Cape Cupcake.
“Carrot cake cupcake? So it does have some cinnamon and some ginger. Haha. Just like carrot cake, dammit. Yeah, just like it. Son of a bitch. muffled cackles Yeah, that it. That’s good, very nice. Very natural tasting. What did you think?”
I haven’t had any yet. I’ve been typing your constant questions.
“Ohhkeh. a series of belches and giggles It’s a good digestive tea. I’d rate it an 8. I think it’s very good.”
It totally smells strongly of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Simpson and Vail nailed the aroma! The taste is smooth and less pronounced but the aftertaste retains some of that cream cheese frosting and ?sweet cinnamon? If I hadn’t known what it was I would’ve guessed churros with frosting. I wouldn’t choose to buy this since dessert teas aren’t my thing but color me impressed. Thanks, Cameron!
Flavors: Cake, Cheesecake, Cinnamon, Frosting, Mineral, Pumpkin, Sweet, Vanilla
Sipdown! (72 | 276)
Sorry for another note on this so soon, but after drinking it for my “Y” tea yesterday, I noticed that there was only one serving left. So finishing it off today!
Still a mildly minty black tea with (sadly) only a hint of pineapple… More pineapple please!
Flavors: Hay, Herbaceous, Mint, Pine, Spearmint, Wood
“An Ode to Tea” Alphabet Challenge – Y
Still need to finish off my alphabet!
This is a pleasant tea. It’s mildly minty with a soft herbaceous note and just a tiny hint of pineapple fruitiness. I enjoy the combination of the hay notes from the black base with the herbaceousness of the spearmint, and yet it doesn’t become too herbal-y, like peppermint sometimes can for me.
But I want more pineapple! T.T
Flavors: Earth, Hay, Herbaceous, Mint, Pineapple, Smooth, Spearmint
I’d only tried one of these National Park Collection teas, and really enjoyed it, so I figured it was time to sample some of the other ones. So I picked this one out at random to try. Pineapple and spearmint sounds good!
It’s tasty, but I would like more pineapple! The pineapple here is very soft and is more of an accent to the spearmint flavor. I do like the spearmint, and it’s not too strong. Sometimes spearmint can taste like chewing gum, but it’s just soft and refreshing here. The base tea is a little musty with some hay notes, which actually goes rather well with the herbaceous spearmint.
This probably isn’t one that I would reorder, just because there’s not quite enough pineapple here for me. But I’ll happily finish off the rest of the sample pouch! :)
Flavors: Hay, Herbaceous, Mint, Musty, Pineapple, Smooth, Spearmint, Sweet
Finally getting around to trying my last untasted tea from tea-sipper! Thanks for sharing so many tasty teas, as always! I considered not adding milk because I found the tea to be decently rich and flavorful without. As it sat, it did gain a little sourness (my fault for not drinking more quickly) but milk fixed that completely. I prefer other S&V plain black teas, but this one is perfectly pleasant.
I didn’t check the ingredients for this one when I picked it, so the floral scent was very surprising! I’m not a big rose fan, but luckily violet was the dominating flavor. (I also cheated and tried not to scoop up much rose) I added milk and sweetener, and it’s like having one of those violet candies. Again, I’m not a floral tea person, so I would reach for this one very infrequently (but I would reach for it!) I think it does a really good job at accomplishing its flavor goals. The second steep is quite strong as well. Thanks for sharing this one tea-sipper! I’m really glad I got to try it.
From an order a while ago, so this is the 2018 harvest. I keep trying it. I think it’s aging well anyway. It’s certainly a different flavor profile – not really a Yunnan as I’m accustomed to them. The leaves are smaller with hints of gold here and there. The dry leaf is fairly earthy, smokey and leathery and the fragrance is pretty much what you get in the flavor. All of that, plus sweet but balanced with savory, maybe a light basil and black pepper. Also, cascara cherries? Though I haven’t had those very often in tea. Definitely not like chocolate, which is Yunnan to me. Two teaspoons isn’t really necessary — it isn’t bad but 1 1/2 teaspoons is never as deep as I want it to be. A decent black but maybe not what I ever expect of a Yunnan. It’s four ounces for $5.90 though, and that is certainly an excellent deal (also available as an ounce).
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for full mug // 23 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 3 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
2021 sipdowns: 20 (Steap Shoppe – Spring Time Berry )
S&V offers a nice range of straight black teas, and though I don’t enjoy this quite as much as some of their others, it’s still pretty good. I grabbed a few teaspoons from a tea box. It has a delicious full flavor. It was good before I added milk, possibly even better without milk. It’s a little weaker than I’d prefer, but not bad.
I’ve been dreading writing a note for this one, since it’s the rare S&V tea that just isn’t good. This seemed like a really nice combination of flavors. I guess I missed the ONE Steepster rating that gave the score of a lowest of the low … a score of ONE. Don’t see that too often. The reviews on S&V’s site are much better. I also seemed to have missed that the base of the tea was green and not black. It doesn’t seem to be mentioned on the website or the pouch. When fresher, the leaves distinctly had the fragrance of all these lovely elements: orange, vanilla, jasmine. But now that the blend is getting older, it definitely smells and tastes like only BUBBLEGUM. The cup cools and the more I’m tasting bubblegum. And then the green tea is also getting a little bitter. But the bubblegum is so odd and not really what I wanted from this one. Second steep: more bubblegum. I think I have learned that some orange flavoring tastes like bubblegum, so I think that is the problem here. Can’t win them all.
Steep #1 // 1 1/3 teaspoons for a full mug // 40 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 32 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
So Courtney asked me about this one, which of course inspired me to try it! These poor S&V teas haven’t been getting any love since I ordered last fall… Poor babies.
I really like this one though! It’s a light black base with a lovely raspberry flavor, and the raspberry is somewhere between fresh fruit and candy, which I really like. It has a soft sweetness but still tastes fairly close to a real raspberry. The sage adds a lovely subtle savory note, and there’s a soft herbal flavor from the raspberry leaf.
This is a lovely soft raspberry tea with a bit of interest, and I really enjoyed it this afternoon. Thanks Courtney for inspiring me to try it!
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Candy, Herbaceous, Herbs, Musty, Raspberry, Sage, Smooth, Sweet
I’ve never had any of the flavours in here: prickly pear, eleuthera root, or pau d’arco, but I am enjoying it all!
There’s hints of floral, but not like anything I’ve had before and a sour-y sweetness that seems to match the Google description of prickly pear tasting “like a strawberry and raspberry hooked up”. XD
There’s a somewhat drying feeling in my mouth, but nothing like astringency and almost imperceptible. All in all, an enjoyable cuppa!
Thanks for sharing such a unique tea Cameron :)
2021 sipdown no. 22
Amazing sample from Cameron!
This tea is so delicious. The dry scent is exactly raspberries and chocolate. Exactly! I never enjoyed fruit and chocolate when I was young, but as I get older, I am starting to appreciate it more. This tea was an absolute delight. The steeped taste is like eating raspberries and chocolate and I am here for it.
I even did a second resteep and it still had a decent amount of flavour! This is going into our S&V cart for sure!
2021 sipdown no. 18
Another fun one from S&V, courtesy of Cameron!
The tea is very much matched to the name, which is awesome. The scent is very reminiscent of French toast with syrup. The syrup flavour isn’t my favourite, sadly (in any tea, not just S&V). I am definitely an outsider with my thoughts on this one, but Lex at least agreed with me haha, but did say it tasted exactly like a sweet, syrup-y French toast tea!
First sips: this tastes like liquified French vanilla ice cream. After some more sips, a hint of cinnamon comes out. It’s almost like I’m drinking warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream on top. Delicious.
Lex says the same and really enjoyed it too!