Simpson & Vail

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Recent Tasting Notes

59

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.

Flavors: Lemon

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88
drank Tippy Yunnan by Simpson & Vail
68 tasting notes

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

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77

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

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76

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!

tea-sipper

I should dig mine out from wherever it’s hiding…

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73

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

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80

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

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
Shae

Oh this one sounds good!

tea-sipper

This one is probably my favorite from Simpson & Vail and I have MANY favorites from S&V.

Mastress Alita

I finished my thermos this morning so fast I had pretty much no tea by the time I got to work!

tea-sipper

Oh no! Teamergency!

AJRimmer

I definitely regret not ordering some more of this when I restocked some of my favorites from them recently. This one is so good.

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82

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

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55
drank Blue Moon Tea by Simpson & Vail
68 tasting notes

The tea smelled very peppery in the bag and smelled very peppery in the cup. Unfortunately this meant the tea was very peppery and I didn’t taste any fruit or blueberry notes. I might try less leaf or a cold brew , but it seemed the pepper was just a bit overwhelming in this blend.

Flavors: Pepper

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73

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

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A very strange tea. I’m definitely not getting baklava, I’m actually not getting any distinct flavors. Definitely doesn’t taste bad, more just blah. Glad I got to try it thanks to AJRimmer!

derk

I grew up with baklava as a pacifier since μωρό. There is no way a black tea base could be used to replicate that flavor. White tea is the obvious pick. Come on, people! :P

amandastory516

You’re right! I’d love to see someone try to create a true baklava flavor with a white tea base.

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69

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.

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75
drank Violet by Simpson & Vail
52 tasting notes

This is my first time trying a violet tea, so I really didn’t know what to expect. As others have said before, it does have a soapy/perfumy scent to it, but it’s not unpleasant.

Considering this is my first violet tea, I had no idea what it would taste like – but I really like it! It’s not too overpowering with the scent/flavor, but enough to where it reminds you, “Hey, I’m a violet tea!” Seems like this would also be a really good cold/iced tea.
Overall I really liked this one!

Flavors: Perfume, Rose, Soap, Violet

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73

I haven’t written a tasting note for this, though I’ve had it for a while. S&V actually sent me a tin of this one instead of what I ordered… so maybe that’s why it took a while, though I’ve drank it a few times. It’s a sweet blend – the most distinct flavor is the strawberry flavoring. But then there is hints of chamomile and spearmint, all on that rare green rooibos base. I can’t really taste the lemongrass, but I think this blend would be excellent with some lemon verbena. I wouldn’t say using the two teaspoons is too much… it seems like a good amount to use for this one. I like this blend, but with a few tweaks, it could be even more delicious. It’s nice to see the rare green rooibos though.
Steep #1 // 2 teaspoons for a full mug // 8 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 minute steep

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drank Chai Chocolate by Simpson & Vail
2936 tasting notes

I received this a long time ago from another Steepster member in a sale. Thank you to whomever it was (this might be the first time I forgot who sent me a tea.) Usually the teas from S&V have spot on flavor and this one never really tasted like chocolate SO I was questioning the age of this tea from day one. The black tea also never seemed to get very dark unless I used two teaspoons. So this isn’t really a tasting note for this tea specifically… as I had the idea to make COCOA TEA. So I brewed up some of this chai western style, and then added some delicious cocoa, also from Simpson and Vail, when the infuser came out. I would say the result is divine. Tea and cocoa. I knew I wasn’t really ruining a possible older tea, while also adding some delicious cocoa flavor. I love their sugar free cocoa, as I don’t need more sugar in my day. I added more cocoa on the resteep. I really like this idea. It’s caffeine +cocoa. The flavor was earthy and chocolatey, while still having the hints of black tea in there. (I don’t really see too many spices in this “chai”… it looks mostly like black tea.) I’m not rating this tea as it is older + it had the addition of cocoa. It’s a great way to use up this tea + some of that amazing cocoa I’ve been neglecting. I had another genius idea: making a cocoa tea with Bird & Blend’s Dark Chocolate Chili Chai…. that will be AMAZINGGGG. I can’t wait to try it.

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76
drank Decaf Vanilla by Simpson & Vail
500 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!

tea-sipper

Vanilla extract?

AJRimmer

Yeah the cheap fake kind.

tea-sipper

Interesting… never thought of doing that!

Kittenna

I’d considered that, but never done it…. I’m now feeling quite compelled to do so, knowing that someone has test driven it already!

AJRimmer

I’ve only done it with black teas, but it’s nice! (Also I use giant mugs, so maybe others wouldn’t want to put in a whole teaspoon).

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63

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.

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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.

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93

I got this one in my swap with AliceG. The bag says Tea Runners, but it looks like they source a lot of their teas from Simpson & Vail, including this favorite of mine. Last time, I called it a weaker version of their snickerdoodle flavor. I’d like to issue an apology. The more I have of this tea, the more I see that it stands on its own. What a tasty, spiced, baked flavor. This is one that I savor each mouthful of. I probably still prefer snickerdoodle, but I’m really enjoying this one.
S&V is having a 15% off sale, but I sadly don’t have room in my cupboard right now. Looking forward to restocking some favorites this winter.

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93

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.

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80

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

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 5 g 32 OZ / 946 ML
Kittenna

IMO guava tastes likes strawberry banana.

Mastress Alita

Eh, if I tasted banana then I’d hate it. That is my demon food.

tea-sipper

I think I added this to the teabox… I’m glad you liked it. :D

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94

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.

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94

Additional notes: I had to buy a tin of this with the last sale because I LOVE it with two teaspoons. It’s like a deep dark chocolate raspberry jam with a hint of tartness from the perfect amount of hibiscus. Definitely a chocolate raspberry truffle. Lovely lovely stuff.

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94

Additional notes: Sipdown of this lovely tea (if you use 1 1/2-2 teaspoons). I really would like to order some of my favorites from S&V but how about a sipdown goal of 80 before I do that. It will be some extra motivation anyway.
2019 sipdowns: 42

AJRimmer

I’m having the dilemma of reordering S&V favorites in the fall vs ordering from companies I haven’t tried yet. Trying new things is just so exciting!

tea-sipper

Or… both S&V and new. :D

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94

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

Orphia

Glad to know the hibiscus isn’t really noticeable. I’ve been tempted to try this since I love chocolate and raspberry, but the presence of hibiscus in anything tends to balk me.

tea-sipper

I don’t think the hibiscus is too bad at all. It actually adds an interesting element to it – like a tangy note that lends to whatever raspberry is there. I don’t think I noticed any hibiscus in any of the steep sessions that I only used one teaspoon. It was more noticeable with two teaspoons, and I like it that way, so I’ll probably use two teaspoons in the future.

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