Simpson & VailEdit Company
Popular Teas from Simpson & VailSee All 376 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
It’s a good day to start reviewing some of the teas I have while rewatching Harry Potter movies.
Don’t see too many prickly pear teas around other than herbal ones (and those will usually have hibiscus, which is the biggest NO ever for me), so this had me curious. Plus, 10% of all sales in the National Parks tea line go to charities supporting those parks.
The first thing that hit me when I opened the package was a strong fruity scent that reminded me of gum or candy. That carries over to the brewed tea as well, to the point that I could still smell it from the other room over. I mainly tasted prickly pear and strawberry. The bergamot, not so much. If you were expecting something like a prickly pear Earl Grey, you’d be disappointed. If you like fruity teas, strawberry, or prickly pear, I’d give it a shot.
Thanks so much for the swap, AJRimmer! I honestly didn’t think I’d like this very much, but as usual, S&V surprises. I expected a deep red cup, but not at all, the mug is light green somehow. There are rosehips in the blend, so I’m surprised. It’s very true to black currants but not overpowering (or an explosion really). I was hoping for more raspberry flavor but didn’t see too many in my teaspoon anyway. I was worried the blackberry leaves would overpower, but I don’t notice them. The flavor is simply black currant. So A+ in being very accurate! I’m not a big fan of black currant, but this is the blend I’d keep in stock if I were craving it.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for full mug // 12 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // 4 minutes after boiling // 4 min
While this is an interesting tea, its a bit hard to describe. A cross between yellow tea and lapsang? Its roasty and hay up front and smooth toasty caramel at the end. There is a bit going on here, hard to distinguish individual notes. I might have brewed this a bit strong, and the roastyness comes through. Perhaps the toasty creme brulee ending would be more pronounced with a bit less leaf. As for this cup, there is enough bitterness that it tastes like the top of the creme brulee has been burnt. The second steep is the same burnt caramel taste but weaker.
Flavors: Burnt, Caramel, Hay
This is a strong cup of tea! Malty and coppery and astringent with a tangy aftertaste that reminds you its a robust cup of tea. I could think of blending it with another, gentler leaf, but I happen to like a strong cup of bold Assam, and this foots the bill. I wouldn’t describe it as complex, its mostly coppery and astringent, with a hint of malt. The lingering taste reminds me of a hoppy, bitter beer like an IPA. The second steeping is not quite as bold, but still has enough of a coppery, astringent flavor to be enjoyable.
Flavors: Astringent, Metallic, Tangy
The cornflower in this tea is a bit overwhelming, the supposed malty tea base does not come through at all. Although there isn’t supposed to be any flavoring in this tea, somehow the cornflower leaves a fake aftertaste that I just don’t like. I added a dab of honey to the second steeping, and it didn’t bring out the malty base, but it did soften the cornflower aftertaste.
Flavors: Floral, Sweet
I’m not sure if this blend has changed, but I’m getting mostly grassy, yeasty Darjeeling in my cup with a slight metallic aftertaste. There’s not a whole lot of maltyness here or astringency either. I guess I expect a more bracing cup from a ‘Scottish Blend’, but what I’m tasting is maybe a bit fruity or floral, but I certainly wouldn’t call it bracing or robust. The second steep is just a weaker version of the first steep. I might try with more leaf, but I think this blend is not for me.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Yeasty
While this blend is an interesting mix of black oolong and lapsang souchon, it doesn’t bring out the best of each tea, but rather mutes the taste of each. In the first steeping the oolong lends a weird tangy aftertaste and the smoky lapsang is rather weak. What seems like a possible fusion to create a sweet yet smoky blend is not very complex and what I taste is a weakly smoky fishy cup of tea. The second steep isn’t any better, just weaker. Not a fan of this blend.
Flavors: Fishy, Smoke, Tangy
I can’t say I’m usually impressed with Assam/Darjeeling blends, but this one is very drinkable. It gets interesting coppery metalic notes from the Assam and has a nice sweet, honey-floral finish. It’s not a strong, bracing breakfast tea, but still good enough to call it a daily drinker. I wouldn’t call this complex, but a blend of the best of both types of tea. It stands up well to a second steeping and is the kind of tea I’d use to introduce to folks that think all black tea is bitter. Its not the best S&V has to offer, but I’ll probably purchase this again.
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Metallic
The dry leaf smells like honey and orange. The first steeping is more orange, but not a strong citrusy orange, more like a muted creamsicle orange. It’s rather creamy and maybe a clove note too. If you don’t like orange you’ll probably not like this tea. It’s grown on me a bit, I like it more now than when I first tried it. The second steep, however, is much more clove and not much orange lingering. I’m not sure I’d get this again, but I’ll try to enjoy the sipdown.
Flavors: Clove, Honeysuckle, Orange
I wish the hibiscus weren’t included in this. I like hibiscus, but it really takes over in this blend and doesn’t allow the other flavors any room to shine. I’m drinking this cold with lots of sugar, and it tastes okay, but I’d just say it’s a hibiscus fruit blend. Not a hint of anything Caribbean, sadly. And it’s not even a great hibiscus blend.
The tea smells very lemony in the bag and tastes very lemony in the cup. In fact all I taste is lemon, no ginger, no underlying black tea base. As it cools, there is a faint spicy ginger note coming through, but there is so much lemon, it’s hard to distinguish the ginger. I’ll probably end up blending this with another tea to tame the lemon taste.
My first attempt at brewing this tea wasn’t so memorable, but today I must have used a bit more leaf and hit the sweet spot. After brewing for three minutes and letting it mellow while covered for several more, I get to drink smooth dark chocolate with a hint of caramel. There is just enough of a bitter chocolate aftertaste to keep this interesting, but it’s all creamy smoothness up front. If my next cup from this bag is as good as this, I may have found another yummy daily drinker!
Flavors: Caramel, Creamy, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate
I brewed quite a strong cup, and my first few sips tasted metallic and robust. As the tea mellowed in my cup, I got fruity and floral notes, a well rounded and interesting cup. The second steeping was smoother and not quite as flavorful, this might be a one steep tea for me. Overall I like this tea, it’s enjoyable to drink, but I’m not sure I’d buy more for daily drinking, and it’s not complex enough for a special occasion tea.
Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Fruity
I was so excited when my S&V order arrived that I tried this tea immediately. My excuse is that it contains coconut, so I have to finish it before other older teas… The flavor is lighter than I had imagined. You get the coconut, but it’s light. The green rooibos is a nice base. It’s a decent tea, just no too strong. It does make quite a pleasant second steep. I do find myself drinking this one pretty frequently despite its lightness, so I suppose I can’t complain!
This is a solidly drinkable black tea, not complex, not astringent. I enjoyed this cup, the first steeping was stronger than the second. I got a coppery, metallic tang while it was very hot and more cinnamon notes as it cooled. As this is not a strong black tea, I might reach for it in the afternoon, for a soothing cup where I don’t expect too much and am pleasantly surprised at the drinkablility of this tea.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Metallic
This is a tea I snagged a sample from in the Discovery Teabox, so thank you Skysamurai for organizing and all participants for sharing their tea! I’ve been craving apple cinnamon flavors lately, and recently restocked pretty much the one Stash tea I like, Cinnamon Apple Chamomile which I’ve been drinking a lot in the evenings.
This really does smell like an apple cinnamon pastry from the aroma; it has that overly-sweet apple filling smell that I get from those little finger danishes that have the hard sugar on top. The flavor isn’t quite as strong as I’d like, but I only saved 2.5g from the teabox and lately I’ve been brewing my blacks closer to 3g in the morning, but it is still very nice; I’m definitely getting a sweet cinnamon note, and an apple flavor that is more akin to sweet filling than tart, juicy fruit. There is a subtle warm baked bread note coming through from the black tea, as well as malt and spice. Maybe just a very, very subtle smokiness at the back of the tongue as well, in the aftertaste. It is very warm and satisfying and I’m enjoying it very much as my morning cuppa.
Flavors: Apple, Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Fruity, Malt, Pastries, Smoke, Spices, Sweet
The dry leaf smells a bit fruity but the tea brewed up to a light and slightly sweet cup. It was more complex than I expected and the first cup in the pot had an astringent aftertaste. As it cooled down I could detect lingering cinnamon notes. I enjoyed this tea more as I drank each cup from the pot. I can’t remember if I have ever had tea from Tanzania, but I’d purchase this one again.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Sweet
I bought this from an S&V order recently – from the Christmas sale! I couldn’t resist trying this. I’m trying to find a familiar flavor profile and the “silk” in the name sold it for me. This turns out not to be like what I was imagining, but it’s tasty anyway. I wanted a very deep chocolate brew, but this one is lighter — the color of the brew looks like the inside of butternut squash. The flavor of the large, long, hints of gold leaves is slightly smoky. It’s tough to describe this. The profile of a lighter Chinese tea with hints of smoke. I actually used bottled water in my tea kettle, so this was the best the flavor was going to get. No chlorine tap water here. So maybe this is just one of those teas I’m not tasting the subtlety of. I’m sure that happens with tastebuds. Or this is better when it isn’t steeped Western. I like this, but I just wished for something deeper, darker. I wish I could describe it better!
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // 16 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3 minute steep
Thanks to tea-sipper for this one! Despite ambivalent reviews, I was still curious to finally try it. I wasn’t a big fan at first. It’s rather astringent and plain. It has kind of a strange flavor seeping through that I can’t identify. The spices are mild. Maybe a bit of clove. Certainly nothing I would identify as baklava. With milk and sugar, it tastes decent. Like many other lightly flavored black teas. The more I drink of it, the more it’s growing on me. The spices somehow seem to show up more now. It’s not a great tea, but it’s enjoyable enough to finish the quantity I have. I really wish it tasted more like its name – that would be unique and tasty.