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Recent Tasting Notes
Oh, somehow I forgot to leave a review for this one. I think in general I don’t love the tea that S&V uses for their decaf black blends. I do find this to be perfectly pleasant with or without milk, but the black base could definitely be stronger. I usually add a teaspoon of vanilla to black teas to make them more exciting, and I may do that next time, but I’m enjoying the subtle vanilla flavor this one has. If I were going to order another decaf black tea from them, I would definitely go for the decaf earl grey instead. I miss it!
I’m finally trying the last tea from my November order. This one is surprisingly sour. I wouldn’t say I can taste dragon fruit specifically. It’s kind of just generically fruity. After brewing the leaves regularly, I did a second round with them cold brewed, and I actually enjoyed that one more. Maybe because the sourness disappeared and the tasty green rooibos was allowed to shine. To me, Adagio is still the king of the fruity green rooibos blends. I would not repurchase this one.
Got this one from tea-sipper last summer, so thanks! I was working on it pretty steadily at first, but then I put it away, and sadly now it has become old ): I remember not loving it at first either since the main flavor is the tea, and it just didn’t have the light, fresh flavor that I was looking for, and I’ve never been able to spot a strong enough fruit presence. I love S&V, so I feel bad giving them a bad review, but this one is just not strong enough.
I agree with other reviews comparing this tea to their snickerdoodle flavor, which is one of my absolute favorite teas. The flavor is very similar; it’s just missing the bit of sweet spice that snickerdoodle has. This is a nice desserty flavor, like a liquid cookie. I’m glad I didn’t open this one until I’d run out of snickerdoodle because this one really pales in comparison. If I hadn’t had snickerdoodle, I’d say this was a great tea. Or maybe it is great, and snickerdoodle is just extra super great. But I’m glad I have this to tide me over until my next S&V order.
Teabox Tuesday! This is the last green tea from the Here’s Hoping Teabox, so thank you to tea-sipper for organizing and those that participated! Since I like fruity greens iced, I coldsteeped my sample of this overnight and filled my water bottle with it this morning… and then didn’t get to drink it because my stomach has been in migraine nausea/pain hell all day. Gastric stasis, so fun! After massive amounts of mint it feels like it’s trying to settle a little, so I’m finally getting to sample this tea… at least my water bottle stays ice cold and I can drink the tea tomorrow if my stomach is feeling better!
I have no idea how old this leaf might be now, but I’m still getting a rather strong tropical fruity scent from the tea. I’m not sure if I could place the fruit, though. Perhaps mango or passion fruit? I suppose the obvious answer would be guava, but I’m fairly certain that is a fruit I’ve never had before! (I’m so uncultured) This still has a great flavor and I think a cold brew was a great way to go as far as preparation; the tea tastes very thirst-quenching and refreshing and has a nice fruit flavor that lingers on the back of my tongue, but doesn’t come off overbearing or oddly artificial, or with any of the strange metallic notes I sometimes get from flavoring agents. I’m picking up notes of stonefruit, particularly a peachy/apricot taste, as well as mango and a subtle orange citrus and sweet berry note, with the berry flavor probably the most prevalent mid-sip, but the apricot/mango flavor lingering on my tongue the strongest in the aftertaste. The green tea itself doesn’t leave much of an impression on me compared to the fruitness of the blend, other than being quite light, delicate, and refreshing.
This is a water bottle I am going to enjoy! Thanks for sharing!
Flavors: Apricot, Berry, Citrus, Fruity, Mango, Orange, Peach, Smooth, Stonefruits, Sweet
I finished my decaf almond black from S&V, and my almond withdrawals led me to open this one. The primary flavor is quite a pleasant rooibos. There’s a bit of almond as well if you’re paying attention, but not enough that I’d notice if I hadn’t seen the name. It does show up in the scent though. There’s plenty of red rooibos out there that is just okay, but when you find a good one, it really hits the spot. If this were plain rooibos, I’d say it’s one of the best ones I’ve had. I should probably knock it down a few points for not being almondy enough, but it’s really tasty, so I think I’ll excuse it! I’m a huge fan.
So this Valentine’s blend never falls on the right day, so here it is now. I’ve had this a couple times, but the cup today was my favorite yet. Using one teaspoon, I don’t think the flavor was working for me. I think the magic is using more than one teaspoon. I saw plenty of big cocoa nibs in the blend, as well as something red (I guess raspberry bits and hibiscus). The flavor on both steeps is a lovely cocoa chocolate. Probably one of the best chocolate teas I’ve had so far (especially a chocolate tea that doesn’t include cocoa shells). Sadly, there is never a noticeable raspberry flavor. But luckily I’m also never tasting any hibiscus… I really love chocolate and raspberry together so a great jammy raspberry flavor with THIS chocolate flavor might be the most amazing tea ever. I definitely might have to indulge with this tea and use TWO teaspoons at least to see what happens, though the black tea itself seems dark enough and the perfect briskness with a teaspoon and a half, so I shall see. Both steeps were very similar in the amount of chocolate flavor. I dumped half the second mug on the rug… I rarely do that… I was really enjoying this tea too.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // 16 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
The next day, I tried steeping two teaspoons while following the same parameters otherwise. Somehow this steep session was slightly less chocolatey than yesterday. However, now I’m noticing some hibiscus which is interesting. Obviously the hibiscus is not overpowering if I barely noticed it before. A little while ago, Mastress Alita mentioned a nice chocolate/hibiscus blend that actually sounded delicious, so it’s funny I actually HAD a chocolate/hibiscus blend around here. I do think the flavors are an interesting combination. I’ve had some unappealing chocolate teas, so this chocolate flavor being actually chocolatey is great. I guess the flavors that result are also in the luck of the scoop. The tart hint of hibiscus with chocolate is great. So basically I wanted to try the two teaspoons to make sure the black tea wasn’t too astringent, and it isn’t to me. I think the black tea strength was similar to yesterday’s 1 1/2 teaspoons. So I do prefer this tea with 1 1/2 or 2 teaspoons. This might get a rating of 79 with one teaspoon but using more tea makes this a tea I’d like to stock up on. And with a jammy raspberry flavor, this blend would be one of my very favorites.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug // 16 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
Measuring this out, it turns out I’m selling most of it, so I steeped up two teaspoons to review before it went out the door. I had to eyeball the two teaspoons because these leaves are very long and wiry. I’m pleased to see S&V selling Bitaco’s teas because I remember someone on Steepster said they are difficult to find. So now there is another source to buy them. I tried this tea a couple times before and I just wasn’t loving the flavor results, probably because I wasn’t steeping it the ideal way or I just don’t love lighter flavored teas. Steeping it this way, I think this tastes exactly like a Ruby black tea – it has a flavor like the almond nougat within a chocolate truffle or marzipan. It’s interesting that the Ruby teas are from Taiwan and this is from Colombia, so it certainly isn’t sourced from the same area. I don’t think I was tasting that it was like a Ruby tea in past steeps, so using this many leaves must cause those flavors to appear. I’m very glad I didn’t steep this many leaves any hotter or longer, because it was a touch overdone like this, though not enough to ruin it. I do like it with this many leaves. The second steep was starchy and had more of a bread flavor. Looking forward to trying the other Bitaco teas!
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for not quite full mug // 17 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 5 minutes after boiling // 3-4 minute steep
tl:dr – This has the same flavor profile as a Taiwan Ruby tea if you use enough leaves.
Growing up, orange pekoe was always my dad’s tea of choice, so I was inspired to pick up the decaf version as part of my order. I definitely enjoy plain black teas a lot more when I’m not stressed about having too much caffeine! The taste is sweet, malty, and mild. It gets a little bitter as it cools. I probably added too much sugar, but this was a pleasant cup. I’ll finish my one ounce, but I won’t reorder since I tend to go for more exciting teas. For what it is, though, this is enjoyable! The second brew didn’t have much flavor, so I guess I’ll only do one steep or a tiny second steep in the future!
The aroma is nutty heaven. Can really smell the almonds and some sweetness. Smells like cookies.
After 3 minutes, it was still a very mild flavor, so I’m just letting the leaves sit in there as I sip it to try to bring out more flavor. There are biscuit/pastry notes, almond, sweetness, butter, cream… It’s just really mild. It’s pleasant though, and I’ll definitely finish it. :)
Thank you Cameron B.!
Flavors: Almond, Butter, Cookie, Pastries, Sugar, Sweet, Toasty
Sometimes you have a tea that’s supposed to be whatever flavor, and you would never know if you hadn’t read the name on the tin. This one tastes exactly like french toast. You can taste the apple and cinnamon. It’s so, so good. When I saw a pouch of this in the tea box, I’m pretty sure I Iet out a little maniacal laugh because I was so excited to drink this tea again. My only wish is that they had a decaf version because I would drink it constantly.
Sample saved from the tea box. When I was a kid, my mom would always carry violet candies in her purse, and this tastes just like those. I never really liked the violet candies, but for whatever reason, they were compelling enough that I’d eat them anyway. I added a fair amount of sugar, which adds a pleasant sweetness. The main flavor is violet. I don’t taste the black base at all. So if you want a violet tea, this is really it! The flavor and scent are very strong. Thanks for bringing back memories, tea!
I had to try this one. Who else carries a violet tea? To be honest, I have no idea what violets specifically smell or taste like. The purple flowers in the blend add a nice touch. But this one is delightful. I’d say there couldn’t possibly be a better floral flavor. It has a lovely balance of floral but not too floral, balanced with a delicious sweetness. The black tea base is quite light, but with the floral accent it’s not boring. Without the floral, there is no way I’d steep up this black tea by itself plain. I’d say the first cup was perfect. On the second steep, the flavor wasn’t how I wanted it to be. Somehow there was quite a spicy flavor that took over? I should have waited a few minutes to steep. However, as it cooled, the flavor returned to that delicious flavor of the first cup, so flavor saved! I’ll try to remember that next time. Overall, I have no way to be sure this is accurately representing VIOLET, but as a floral tea, it couldn’t be tastier.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 17 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // 2 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Meh. Now that I’m looking at reviews here, I’m seeing that maple and nuts are a part of this. I don’t think I got that from their website description. <pausing to go look it up, to be fair> OK, it does mention nuttiness in several spots (not just almonds) and a touch of maple. If I had caught on to that, I probably wouldn’t have tried this one – not a nut fan in tea (other than almond) and not a maple fan in general. There is a dry unsweetened cocoa flavor to this (the kind that is bitter and reminiscent of coffee), and the maple and sort of pecan-type astringency are definitely present. I think it’s probably an OK tea if you like maple, pecans, and coffee, but that’s not me.
Flavors: Cacao, Coffee, Maple, Pecan
Another lavender tea from the tea box – I’m not complaining! The main flavor is lavender with the bit of bitterness that lavender brings. The lavender flavor really lingers in your mouth. The black base definitely adds some complexity to the blend, but I’m not sure I would know it’s black tea if I hadn’t seen the leaves going in. So I like this blend, but I don’t like it better than S&V’s lavender lace, which is caffeine-free.
I had to try this one, as I adore most of the S&V blends I’ve tried. But I just can’t seem to find anything special with this one. The black tea base results in the lightest of brews – it’s the lightest of honey colors and has barely any flavor itself. I definitely need more from a black tea than this. The blackberry leaves don’t ruin the flavor but they really shouldn’t be here either. Otherwise, I’m only tasting a hint of spices. The roses are a nice touch but I don’t think they add much to the taste. I’ve only had actual baklava once in my life (and it probably wasn’t an accurate TRUE baklava) but if baklava is supposed to be dough and honey and nuts, this tea is definitely not that. This blend just doesn’t work for what it’s supposed to represent, and I would just find this blend boring no matter what the name was. Sorry, S&V!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 16 minutes after boiling // 2 1/2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
Hmm. This one is good but it comes across as super sweet, I’m guessing from the coconut. I tend to like strong flavors, so I’m not going to complain that it’s too strong – but I think the coconut overpowers the rest of the good stuff. I will finish what I have, but I’m not inclined to buy more once this is gone.
Flavors: Coconut, Sweet, Vanilla
My third tea from the tea box. I was very excited to try this one since I love pumpkin teas and I love S&V. The flavor is quite pleasant, but I’d say it tastes more like burnt caramel than exactly what it’s supposed to. I added some milk and sugar, and it’s tasty, but I would love some pumpkin flavor or something to distinguish it from several other teas I have of this variety.
This is such a well thought out blend here. So many ingredients that seem like they make the blend extra special: Organic green rooibos, organic whole cloves, rosehips, hibiscus, sweet blackberry leaf, flavorings, vanilla beans, mallow blossoms and raspberry pieces. The mallow flowers on that green rooibos base just visually pop. Sadly, I wish I loved the flavor of the blend more than I love the effort behind it. Mainly, there is a flavor of blackberry leaves that is the most distinct, which I wish wasn’t here at all. The hibiscus and rosehips aren’t making an appearance at all, even while brewing two teaspoons, which is fine with me. I’m not sure which of these ingredients I can actually taste other than the blackberry leaves which is a shame. On the second steep, the brew color looked like the inside of a plum, which is a nice touch. It even had more of a hint of plum flavor, which was nice, but I’m not sure if that was the other fruity elements… The second steep seemed like a completely different tea from the first steep and I’m glad the blackberry leaves were less noticeable in the second cup. S&V has an excellent black tea blend with plum flavoring, so I’m surprised more (if any) of that plum flavor wasn’t used here.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug// 15 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
Simpson & Vail Advent Calendar – Day 24
(originally written November 24th)
The very last one from my November tea advent calendars! Hopefully this is a decent one to end on – I have enjoyed S&V’s green rooibos blends thus far, so that bodes well.
This is reminding me a bit of snickerdoodles. It has a nice buttery cookie flavor going on, maybe with a bit of white chocolate in there as well. The spicing is light and sweet, just a touch of warming cinnamon. There’s also some rich nuttiness that reminds me of macadamias or cashews.
This is a tasty dessert-y option for the evening. I may consider this one when I order some other green rooibos blends from Simpson & Vail…
Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Cookie, Creamy, Nuts, Sweet, White Chocolate