Simpson & Vail

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Recent Tasting Notes

A nice enough tea! I have so many rose flavoured black teas to (for better or worse) compare this one against and I have to say that I found it somewhere middle of the pack. The black base was very smooth with a little bit less body than some of the others that I own, but was still far from feeling thin or flat. The rose notes were also a bit more gentle than others I own, but I kind of liked how soft they were. I think it worked with the base.

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78

Sip Down & Backlog

This was a thirst quencher! I made this last Friday and it was gone in moments. The sample packet from the monthly club gave enough for one iced tea…and I’m in need of more! After I sip down a few more teas, I’ve a massive tea order in place…between 3 vendors. And this tea is on the list amongst them. I shall make this the official tea of summer in our household!

Notes: Fruity & refreshing

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75

Sip Down & Backlog

I brewed this last Tuesday at the office, which is a rare event to make tea there. I have to be in a happy place for tea. The office isn’t there. lol. Anyway, I only added on the back of the packet, " Holy sh*t, it’s Zingiber Ginger Coconut from Teavana!" Which, fun fact, was a great tea! I’d brew it hot while working at Teavana, until they dropped it from their menu…as they did with the whole company…

I feel like coconut often fails in tea blends. It’s too fake or too little. Rarely does it feel like a company adds enough to bring out the sweetness of coconut. Bravo, S&V. You’ve done it. You’ve also transported me back in time to the best job during college and gave me the chance to taste something I’ve not had in 10+ years.

Flavors: Coconut

ashmanra

That is awesome! So glad you found a happy tea, and can have it in your life again!

MadHatterTeaReview

@ashmanra, I think it’s nice to experience something I’ve almost forgotten about, too!

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70

Sip down

It’s incredible to think that I only recently received this tea in the June subscription box yet have managed to drink it down. I was impressed by the first cup I had on Tuesday on the drive into work, that I wanted to finish the last dregs (3tsp) on Saturday. I brewed it hot and then tossed over ice but wanted to make a note of the iced vs hot. I typically don’t favor maltier teas cold, however, this one stood out.

Hot – Dark chocolate, hot cocoa, and malty.
Iced – Smooth, malty, less chocolate, and made a better iced tea.

Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Malt

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Got this tea in a swap with an IG tea friend and I was excited to finally brew it up because I haven’t actually tried a ton of teas from Simpson & Veil (since they don’t ship to Canada). I think it’s supposed to be strawberry and prickly pear, which is a fun combination. I found it pretty inoffensive with a smooth, medium bodied black tea base that tasted like a more generic blending-style of black tea. That is, to say, neutral aside from its body. The strawberry note was nice: fresh and sweet but not jammy/cloying and lacking in any particular acidity. I appreciate that there’s not any hibiscus in the blend to bolster the strawberry.

I didn’t really taste the prickly pear, but I wasn’t surprised by that either. It’s a hard flavour to convey, and I think it just felt into the background alongside the mellow, floral undertones of the blend. In some ways this reminded me of the DAVIDsTEA blend The Earl’s Garden, but a smidge softer overall. It’ll be easy to finish off, but I don’t think there’s anything to write home about with this tea either. Strawberry black tea blends are easy enough to find, and without a distinct prickly pear note I don’t think this tea has much of an edge among the sea of comparable teas.

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Backlog (17 May 2024) & Sip Down
This was the first tea sipped over the long weekend. I meant to drink more and have more time with tea, but the weekend was overly busy. Which is fine. I had the time off, so I was more than happy to fill it! Anyway, I drank this western style during breakfast. I wish I remembered the meal, but we’re not here to discuss the food. :)

I jotted on the packet, “Nutty, sweet, bitter, and smooth. Not too much of an experience than it being a decent cup of green tea.” I really ought to take the time to really think about these sessions, but I enjoy going with the flow of the day and cup sometimes.

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85
drank Lychee Congou by Simpson & Vail
321 tasting notes

Sipdown! I wish I’d purchased a larger pouch of this one when I ordered from S&V last year, because it’s excellent. Juicy and mildly tart, with lychee flavor just bursting in every sip. Yum.

2024 sipdown count: 18

Flavors: Fruity, Lychee, Tart

Shae

My favorite tea lately is a Lychee Congou. I’ll have to add this one to my next S&V order.

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81

Not their strongest tea but I enjoy it. I have this one, their Special Blend Black which is very good, and a Special Orange Cranberry. Special all over the place :D

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70

Sipdown

I drank the remainder of this iced yesterday while doing some light house cleaning. I had this as a hot tea during work on Friday, but I assumed it may have been better as an iced tea, so I cold brewed the remainder for Saturday. The hot tea had more black currant/berry flavors, while the iced tea had lesser berries, and more black tea base. The black currant allowed the tea to sweeten naturally, but it was less noticeable as an iced tea.

Flavors: Berries, Black Currant, Fruity

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81

Good and the clove strength reminds me a little of chai. Small bursts of orange accompanied the sips, mainly the rind. There’s a very small smidge of bright citrus probably from the pineapple. Spicy, good, robust black tea. I did not find any vanilla despite the advertised, but it didn’t need it.

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75

Sipdown

I had obtained this from the March Club and meant to get a video posted for the YT channel, but the lighting was too bright on my glasses, and my eyes weren’t visible during the entirety of filming. Unfortunately, I decided the best time to start a video was while indulging on the last bits of tea leaf, therefore, I couldn’t scrounge another cup for a second take. Now, my channel will go another week without content. Lol.

I really enjoyed the mug of this yesterday. I had to run to the hospital to meet a friend’s baby. I was assuming this was going to brew strong since I had placed 2 tsb into an 8oz mug and accidentally over brewed (212F, 5 minutes). The instructions suggested full boil, but only a 3-minute steeping (we all know that a couple of minutes could make or break a session). This was the smoothest and most satisfying mug of Assam I’ve had. Typically, I like a strong mug, but will need to add milk or half-and-half to cut the boldness, however, this didn’t need anything to make it perfect. Thankfully, this is an inexpensive tea, so I may require some down the road, once the sipdown pile has been reduced a bit.

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82

Still a good dessert tea but I have many from this company and don’t think still that this will be a keeper. Made a two cup pot tonight and sipped while watching True Crime and munching on a yummy fish dinner. It’s sweet and doesn’t need sugar if you prefer without – which I don’t – the almond is there but not cloying

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83

So far my favorite of the Fairy Tale box. Most are decaf or fruity but this one is black tea with a certain spice and perfect subtle cinnamon bite that blends together well. The box is reasonable, the tea plenty, and you cannot beat all these fairy tale cover arts and themes. Now if I only could find my missing Rumpelstiltskin :( I obviously did not put him back in the box where he belonged last time and he must be buried in the tea cabinet somewhere.

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drank Matcha Blueberry by Simpson & Vail
2171 tasting notes

Sipdown Progress Challenge
February 2024 | Mardi Gras / A colorful tea

From the TeaTiff TTB.

Maybe not a wild color choice, but this is certainly one of the brightest and most vibrant teas that I have. I don’t remember who put this one in the box, but thank you! I don’t drink matcha all that often but this one sounded and smelled so good that I had to swipe it to try. I warmed and frothed some oat milk to mix with this, no sweetener needed since I believe it’s already sweetened, and it tastes like a blueberry muffin! Definitely a nice choice for breakfast.

Flavors: Blueberry

ashmanra

That sounds yummy!

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95

Thanks so much for sharing this one, Cameron B!  I LOVE THIS. I did not expect to enjoy it at all… not really a grapefruit fan.  But the description also mentions bergamot, so I think it is this wonderful mix of flavors on a strong black tea base that really hits the spot on a cold winter day.  I’d say it’s more of a sweet grapefruit flavor, rather than an extremely bitter grapefruit flavor, which is probably why I never like grapefruit. I think I steeped it perfectly.  It just reminds me of my favorite Earl Greys of the past, that just don’t have flavoring like this anymore.  Bright, refreshing, crisp, brisk, with maybe a hint of cream flavor.    It’s just a great flavor that I also haven’t ever tasted from any other tea shop before.   Simpson & Vail does it again!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // 22 minutes after boiling // 1 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 min

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81

I wanted to finally write a note for this tea, as the book I’m reading now mentions Emily Dickinson —  when it isn’t mentioning Herman Melville anyway (the book is ‘Dayswork’ by Chris Bachelder and Jennifer Habel).  This tea always confuses me, as I forget if it is green tea or black tea.  The package doesn’t say, the website doesn’t say.  Then I look at the leaf and it LOOKS like a black tea.  But then I brew it and it’s green tea.  So I finally hand wrote that it’s ‘green’ on the package so I actually remember.  But it’s a good tea!  Lots of florals!  It’s older now, so I’m sure it was much better before.  But a cold winter day calls for a floral tea.    It also might be better when I don’t brew it like a black tea.

edited to add: OH it looks like Cameron B updated the steepster page to say ‘green tea’, so there you go. :D Should have checked steepster.

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drank Sniffle Slayer by Simpson & Vail
2939 tasting notes

I’m glad I had enough of this sample from Michelle to make a cup today … I’m bombing myself with preventative medicine as we have some upcoming travel and we’re having a run of the summer cruds at work. One victim whom I sat shoulder to shoulder with yesterday and gave her a hug. (Not regretting it. She had a rough day.)

But, hoping to keep ahead of it, zinc and Vitamin C will be my friends over the next few.

On to the tisane. Some flu-battle blends taste so herby and medicinal you can’t enjoy them much. This one is pleasantly lemony without tasting like you’re chewing dry grass. Would even serve as a nice hot-weather afternooner on ice.

Michelle

This one is a refreshing change from woodsy medicinals. I like that it doesn’t have chamomile too.

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drank Sniffle Slayer by Simpson & Vail
2939 tasting notes

Wouldn’t you know it…I can count on less than one hand the places other than home I visited during Christmas break…and on the first day back to work, germs from one of those errands caught up with me, causing minor aches, a sore throat, and a whiny disposition. Michelle, I’m glad I saved your Sniffle Slayer sample till it was truly needed!

I’ve been dosing myself with a constant barrage of elderberry tea, zinc lozenges, and ibuprofen for 24 hours, so it will be hard to scientifically isolate the medicinal effects of Sniffle Slayer, but I can affirm that it is tasty. The green rooibos gives a little heft to what would otherwise taste like one of those lemon-mint “spa” blends we discussed recently. Makes it taste like there’s some tea underneath it, even as clugged-up (that’s one notch more than clogged) as I am.

Shae

Oh goodness, hope you feel better so soon!

Michelle

Hmmm, I’m not feeling so hot either (even a cup of caramel buttercup has not improved my mood) so I’ll go dig this one out and have a cuppa.

gmathis

Take care!

Michelle

Feel Better soon!

ashmanra

Hope you are feeling better soon! My daughter is a bit down with a cold right now, too.

gmathis

Maybe a smidge better. I needed to schedule a “get seen for an RX” appointment anyway, so I just booked one for Monday. Covered either way!

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100

Homemade Advent Exchange Tea #9

This tea is delicious! I wouldn’t say it tastes like cookie, but the thick, sweet, creamy taste makes me think of cinnamon rice pudding. It’s an excellent dessert tea. I’m astonished at how creamy and vanilla-y this blend is. The tea is so fresh too! The cinnamon doesn’t have that fake sweetener taste that some teas get when they are heavy on the cinnamon bark. I think I just found a new favourite!

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Cream, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 8 min or more
Cameron B.

Their Winter Wonderland is wonderful too, it tastes like oatmeal cookies!

Kelmishka

Ooh, glad you enjoyed this one!

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89
drank Lychee Congou by Simpson & Vail
2962 tasting notes

Homemade Advent Exchange Tea #1

This tea is delicious. A little bit sweet, fruity and floral, and some vibrant tannins. I was actually craving lychee because I bought some recently but ate them all. This made two delicious cups. Both steeps were equally strong. The liquid is very light but is fragrant and smells divine. The tea base is a nice background flavour but the fresh lychee taste is present at the forefront (which I like). No bitterness! I enjoyed both of my cups of this. I have enough leaf to maybe try a cold brew and/or another hot cup in the future. I’m a big lychee fan so this one really does it for me.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Lychee, Sweet, Tannin

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 6 min, 15 sec 2 g 11 OZ / 325 ML

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68
drank Glacier by Simpson & Vail
4086 tasting notes

Sipdown! (5 | 407)

This one sounded so good to me, but sadly doesn’t live up to my expectations.

There are all these interesting ingredients, like juniper berries and birch bark, but I taste none of them. Mostly I just get a strong candy berry flavor. I’m not very familiar with huckleberry, I haven’t eaten one since I was very young, but this tastes a bit like a mixture of a very sweet blueberry jam with grape soda. Sweet on top of sweet, without anything else adding dimension.

It’s not bad, but I’m disappointed to not taste the juniper. I was hoping for a more woodsy forest berry sort of flavor profile, but I’m getting berry candy here. Ah well!

Flavors: Artificial, Berry, Blueberry, Candy, Grapes, Jam, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Sample sipdown!

Michelle sent me a generous sample of this tea. I wanted something a bit fun to drink with our lunch Friday since Ashman was off, so I made this hot and we both liked it a lot. I also made some as a sweet iced tea and wow, it was good hot but the sugar really made the watermelon flavor POP! This is one I would love to have around for hot summer weather.

Thank you, Michelle! And your package is finally on the way and should get there Tuesday!

Michelle

I didn’t quite know what to make of this one, but I think it will be best as you describe it, iced in the summer. Thanks in advance for the tea mail :)

ashmanra

You are welcome! There is a Dammann Freres Lapsang for your dad!

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Lazy Saturday breakfast treat. The sample Michelle sent my way was marked for a two minute steep. I was a little bepuzzled, but set the timer accordingly. Longer would have turned it into a cup of mud. As it is, we have a lovely malty, bready cup that I’m thoroughly enjoying. Thank you, friend!

Michelle

Welcome, this one is quite the awesome tea :)

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