2725 Tasting Notes

drank Zion by Simpson & Vail
2725 tasting notes

Sipdown! (29 | 350)

Honestly, this was one of the ones I was least excited for in the National Park sampler, but I ended up really liking it. The combination of the jammy elderberry with the sage and lavender is just so interesting and unusual, but works really well. The herbs are restrained enough that it doesn’t taste like medicine or perfume.

I’m not sure whether I’ll end up reordering this, but it’s definitely up for consideration. That’s saying a lot for a lavender tea, heh… Highly recommend this National Park tea sampler, almost all of the blends are so unusual but lovely! I think there was only one I wasn’t thrilled with, but even that one was still good.

Flavors: Blueberry, Elderberry, Herbs, Jam, Lavender, Sage, Savory, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

Elderberry and sage sound like a good fit. I’m a little surprised the lavender additive (hey—that’s a tongue twister—say it five times fast!) didn’t stick out like a sore thumb.


Thanks for your rec on this sampler! Will probably go in my next order from S&V.

Cameron B.

I was so thrilled with it after finding the holiday one a bit ho-hum for the most part.

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Sipdown! (28 | 349)

This is probably my least favorite of the S&V holiday sampler…

The base tea is very woody, and I don’t taste much else other than a hint of nuts and cinnamon. A bit like biting into a log sprinkled with cinnamon, lol…

Begone, lame tea! :P

Flavors: Cinnamon, Nuts, Wood

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

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Sipdown! (27 | 348)

Last one! This has a rooibos base.

I honestly don’t get a lot of the added flavors here. There is a bit of butteriness from the macadamia nut, but almost no coconut to speak of. I can taste mayyyybe a hint of it at the very end of the sip.

Mostly, it’s rooibos. Thankfully it’s quite mild and more woody than medicinal. But overall, a pretty bland cuppa.

The end! Now I really have to pee…


Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Rooibos, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Sipdown! (26 | 347)

This was my favorite of the four flavors I tried.

I’ve never had guava, but the fruit flavor here is tart and more distinct than the mango. The ginseng is almost… minty? There’s something a bit menthol-esque about it, which adds an interesting dimension. The green tea is a bit harsh though, and doesn’t have a lot of flavor otherwise.

I probably wouldn’t order this, but it does make me want to try guava if I ever find one!


Flavors: Astringent, Fruity, Menthol, Mineral, Sweet, Tart, Tropical

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Sipdown! (25 | 346)

This one is also on a black base, so it has the same very earthy and mineral taste.

The mango is a bit creamy and slightly generically tropical. So it reminds me more of a mango or tropical candy, or maybe one of those Lupicia Hawaiian exclusive teas, like Hua Ki.

It’s fine, but not really mango to me.


Flavors: Creamy, Earth, Mineral, Sweet, Tropical

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Sipdown! (24 | 345)

I got four individually wrapped teabags from this company from a very sweet Instagram friend, so I figured I would steep them all up together and have a nice little tea tasting this afternoon.

They’re all mostly just okay, to be honest. The black base here is very earthy, which detracts a bit from the overall taste. The passion fruit flavor is nice, but a bit too light, so it gets mostly overpowered by the black tea. I do taste it more clearly at the end of the sip, and it’s slightly tart and quite natural.

Not something I would buy though, because of the black base.


Flavors: Earth, Mineral, Passion Fruit, Tart, Tropical

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Sipdown! (23 | 344)

Another one that I chose to cold brew.

It’s light but very tasty. It definitely does remind me of apple pie, though with a bit of coconut thrown in. There’s some light sweetness from the maple and apples, and it’s just the right amount to give it a more desserty flavor without it tasting sweet. The cinnamon pops a bit toward the end of the sip and, together with the coconut, leaves an aftertaste reminiscent of horchata.

It’s sort of like an apple pie + horchata mashup, and I’m here for it ha ha. Bumping the rating just a little since it’s much yummier cold brewed.

Flavors: Apple, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Coconut, Creamy, Rice Pudding, Sweet

Iced 8 min or more 20 g 34 OZ / 1000 ML

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This is one of two Darjeelings I picked up from Capital Tea Ltd. Historically I haven’t been a huge fan of Darjeeling, but I haven’t had a ton of experience with it so I figured it was worth a shot.

This is honestly really good though! I’m surprised by the complete and utter lack of astringency. It’s also quite light, with a soft breadiness and very light dried fruit notes. A hint of cinnamon honey shows itself at the middle and especially the end of the sip. It actually somewhat reminds me of Bai Hao, which is one of my favorite types of oolong.

So smooth and easy-drinking, but still flavorful! Happy that I chose this one to try, as I’ll enjoy sipping down the rest of the 30g package. ❤

Flavors: Bread, Cinnamon, Dried Fruit, Grain, Hay, Honey, Raisins, Sweet

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

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Sipdown! (22 | 343)

Made the rest of this as a cold brew after not loving it hot.

I do think it’s a bit better, as I don’t get quite as much earthiness from the base. Not getting much honey or brown sugar, though I didn’t taste those in the hot cuppa either.

Mostly it’s a slightly earthy Earl with lavender. Pleasant, but not something I would order just because I have so many other Earls and lavender isn’t my favorite.

Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Earth, Floral, Lavender, Mineral

Iced 8 min or more 20 g 34 OZ / 1000 ML

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Sipdown! (21 | 342)

Making great headway on these S&V holiday teas!

I was a bit sad to see the end of this one, it’s very good. It tastes just like those iced oatmeal cookies that you can buy in a package. Sweet, buttery, slightly cinnamony with a nice biscuity flavor. I don’t really taste chocolate at all, though it’s supposed to be there, but I can’t say that I’m upset about it hah. I love oatmeal cookies, so I much prefer this flavor!

The cinnamon is light enough that it doesn’t really veer too much into holiday territory, but would be a great year-round tisane! I think this one needs to go on my wishlist…

Flavors: Butter, Cinnamon, Cookie, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Hi, I’m Cameron! I’m a 30-something software engineer currently living in Austin, Texas with my husband and our two pugs, Gobo and Ume. I tend to cycle between my different hobbies, and they include knitting, video games, board games, miniature painting, bento, baking, and – of course – TEA! But really, what I’m best at is collecting hobby related-things… ;)

~ February Sipdowns: 4
~ Total 2022 Sipdowns: 45

I prefer my tea lukewarm or at room temperature and without milk or sugar. I will often sweeten iced tea. I brew Western style, and fluctuate between using mugs or teapots with small cups depending on the season. Occasionally I’ll brew Gongfu style when I’m in the mood. I also use a kyusu for Japanese teas.

I am always up for a swap! Just let me know if you’d like to try something in my cupboard.

Tea Preferences:
I enjoy both flavored and unflavored teas in many forms. These days, I drink mostly flavored teas, and I tend to gravitate most toward black, green, and oolong varieties. I do have a special fondness for straight Japanese green teas, however. I also enjoy maté, rooibos, honeybush, and herbal tisanes. I love matcha and drink it often!

Fruit: All of them! My ‘go-to’s tend to be in the red fruits, stonefruit, or citrus spectra. I also really love apple, banana, berry, fig, lychee, melon, pear, and rhubarb flavors. Tropical fruits aren’t among my favorites, but I still enjoy them once in a while – especially passionfruit, mango, and pineapple. I am not generally a fan of coconut in tea, though there are some exceptions.

Dessert: I love creamy vanilla and marshmallow flavors, along with anything in the caramel family such as butterscotch, toffee, or maple. Chocolate is also a favorite, though I’m often disappointed by it in tea. And don’t forget anything buttery, cakey, or cookie-y!

Floral: I’m a little bit more particular in this category. I very much enjoy jasmine, even strong jasmine, along with sakura and chamomile. Osmanthus is also a favorite of mine. But I’m not crazy about rose or lavender flavors, and I prefer hibiscus in moderation only.

Spices: I don’t generally find myself drawn to masala chai, but I do enjoy spices combined with other flavors. My favorite spices are the warm ones, especially cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, and cardamom. A bit of heat from black pepper or chili is okay too, as long as it’s not overwhelming! Ginger can be a lovely accent, but I find it difficult to drink as a starring flavor.

Aromatics: I’m obsessed with Earl Grey! I also love cooling flavors such as mint (especially spearmint), pine, juniper, and eucalyptus. I am not a fan of strong rosemary or sage in tea.

Favorite Purveyors:
3 Leaf
Bird & Blend
Dammann Frères
Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms
Taiwan Tea Crafts
Yunnan Sourcing

Tea Rating Scale:
90-100: Outstanding! Permanent cupboard resident
80-89: Great – a possible staple
70-79: Good, but I wouldn’t buy it
60-69: It’s decent
50-59: Meh… I may or may not have finished the cup
40-49: Ick. Couldn’t finish it.
00-39: Repulsive, I spat it out

I will sometimes refrain from rating a tea if I feel I’m too biased due to my personal dislikes, or if I suspect the sample has been compromised by age.

Cupboard Spreadsheet:


Austin, Texas



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