Simpson & Vail

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Recent Tasting Notes

90

I feel a little guilty writing this review because I just learned that Simpson & Vail has discontinued this tea. It’s a shame because it is genuinely one of the best strawberry flavored teas I’ve ever had. I think it beautifully captures the flavor of a strawberry cupcake with a natural, fruity, strawberry flavor. The first time I tasted it it threw me because for some reason I thought it was supposed to have a chocolate taste to it as well but it’s not. It simply tastes like a fresh baked strawberry cupcake.

I usually make it in my Grosche Aberdeen gravity feed steeper by adding 1 Tbls of tea to 16 oz of water (I prefer strong tea). I bring the water to about 205° and let it steep 3 to 4 minutes. Then I add a touch of sweetener and some half & half and I settle into enjoy my sweet but not caloric treat.

Flavors: Cake, Strawberry

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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60

I don’t get this one.

It doesn’t taste anything like the name to me. Like yeah, there’s a bit of a caramel thing going on, but it’s more of a dark, almost burnt, caramelized brown sugar note to me, which isn’t what I think of for salted caramel. And it’s not super strong either. I taste a lot of the base, which is smooth and fine but nothing special or interesting. A bit woody, mostly earthy with some mustiness going on. Certainly no pumpkin to speak of.

So anyway, into the rehoming box it goes! :P

Flavors: Artificial, Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Caramelized Sugar, Earthy, Musty, Smooth, Tea, Woody

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

I love that you have a rehoming box so no tea gets left behind. <3

Cameron B.

For sure! If a tea is really old or just crappy, I will toss it, but there are a lot that just aren’t my preference so I like to put those aside to pass on in swaps or TTBs. :)

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83

I received a tin of this tea from Santa! Well, my brother-in-law, who was my Secret Santa this year. I could see the influence of my sister in this purchase, because she loves flavored rooibos tea. The dry tea smells super sweet and caramelly, and that buttery caramel flavor really comes through in the steeped cup. To me it stays just this side of cloying, and I really dig it! There’s something very comforting about it; maybe it reminds me of a flavor from childhood. It doesn’t really scream “chestnut” to me, but then again the only roasted chestnuts I’ve had were not sweet, and I think this blend is trying to replicate sweet roasted chestnuts.

I shared a pot with my sister-in-law and a friend over the holidays, and we were all surprised at how much we enjoyed this one. I think what I appreciate about it is that it has no cinnamon, no cloves, no spices at all — it’s not trying to be some fancy spiced holiday blend. It’s just straight up sweet, nutty goodness, and it’s very comforting. I’d definitely consider keeping it on hand.

Flavors: Butterscotch, Caramel, Chestnut, Raisins, Sweet

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79

Local author who I actually enjoy. I’ve toured her home, visited her gravesite, read her works, and watched almost every adaptation on film. The most recent film adaptation (2019) is one of my most favorite movies.

The berry scent off the leaves is very strong. Steeped for 3 minutes at 175. I found it to be a light and summer worthy tea. There is a fruity taste to it that I can’t define- even though I know the ingredient list included strawberries and apples. There is also a slight floral taste as well. My packet doesn’t include the amaretto ingredient but I do get a bit of a nutty taste and I see that it’s listed on the S&V website. I enjoyed this one. Think I’m going to put it in the back of the cabinet for a few months until spring arrives!

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Nutty

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

My favorite breakfast tea as a builders brew with sugar substitute, my mother drank this on me while I was walking Buddy so I’m a bit sad because it was the last before it was sipped down so I have to grab more.

Flavors: Bread, Cream, Honey, Malt, Toast

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95

I definitely prefer this one over the blueberry, the raspberry flavor is more present than the blueberry one, but you can still taste the matcha.

Flavors: Cream, Honey, Raspberry

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79
drank Fancy Assam by Simpson & Vail
1805 tasting notes

Sample from the last TTB. I’m not sure what makes this fancy, but it certainly tastes like an assam. It’s malty and almost fruity. It’s pretty high quality seeming. It tastes best at room temperature with milk and sugar.

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90

A smokey Earl Grey? I’m in! This blend was the perfect amount of smokey swirled with a nearly perfect Earl grey with bits of beetroot to give it a blood red color, or a bright hot pink as a latte!

Flavors: Bergamot, Cream, Earl Grey, Earthy, Smoke, Wet Wood

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec

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90

Another win from Simpson and Vail! I’m not surprised, there isn’t much that they have that I don’t love. Don’t go into this blend expecting rich chocolate and berry, it’s more on the berry side with a touch of cocoa to enhance the berry flavor. Its rich and smooth with a buttery base and it’s lovely overall. It smells super familiar, like a bath and body works scent that I just can’t place.

Flavors: Blackberry, Candy, Floral, Vanilla

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Michelle shared a bit of this fluffy, very pretty to look at tisane containing the biggest chamomile heads I think I’ve ever seen in a tea. It was representative of most of the chamomile-mint evening blends currently in circulation, but gentle and soothing and hit the spot a couple evenings ago when I was blithering tired.

Michelle

Fluffy is a good descriptor. Not very memorable, but does the trick.

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93

Super subtley sweet, tastes just like a blueberry muffin

Flavors: Blueberry, Cream, Honey

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This is one of those teas that, to me, didn’t have any standout characteristics, but it was such a smooth and seamless blend, my cup was empty very quickly! Credits to Michelle for helping get my eyes open this morning. (I’m trying to adjust my mornings a little: after three weeks of sleeping in and taking naps, next week’s 6 a.m. wake-up calls are going to be ugly!)

Michelle

Drinkable but not quite memorable, sometimes just what’s in order!

gmathis

Precisely!

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73

Sipdown!
This one is almondy but not in a marzipan or amaretto way, it’s very subtle. There is a sweet vanilla note too, for the rest of the cookie vibe. I had fun sipping this down, but I prefer Upton almond tea if it’s ever back in stock.

Flavors: Almond, Cookie, Vanilla

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66

Made a pot of this for Christmas morning tea! It’s ok, a muted chocolate mint that is pleasant enough to drink but not good enough to remember or purchase again.
Merry Christmas!

Flavors: Milk Chocolate, Mint

Cameron B.

Merry Christmas Michelle!

Martin Bednář

Merry Christmas!

Courtney

Merry Christmas!

ashmanra

Merry Christmas!

Nattie

Merry Christmas! Sorry it’s late, I hope you had a lovely day.

tea-sipper

I hope you had a great Christmas!

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77

How long has this been in my cupboard with out a review? And will I need more of this when I sip it down? Yes! Nicely chesnut and caramel flavored, not roasty at all but that doesn’t detract from the overall cuppa. And it steeps twice. what’s not to like?

Flavors: Nutty, Sweet

gmathis

You are turning me into an S&V fan. The other afternoon, two hours after I had a cup of the Apple Cinnamon French Toast, I could still smell the scent in the empty cup :)

Michelle

Yes they do both flavored and plain tea very well!

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Wowza! The dry leaves smell so good! With a sloppy steep and no additives, I’m still catching it all: pan-fried apples, a little maple-osity, the stick-to-your-lips bread and egg thing. Just enough for one more cup with a little milk and sweetener. Thanks, Michelle!

Michelle

Top rated on steepster for a reason! I will say I like Cuppageek morning waffles better, but this is still really good!

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Advent Tea: Day 6 from Michelle
I’ve heard great things about Simpson & Vail Teas and especially some of their holiday ones. I’ve been wanting to try them for quite some time now so it’s been a real treat trying these advent samples from Michelle! This one has an interesting assortment of ingredients and holiday flavors. The ingredients include cranberries, orange, almonds, cinnamon, and chocolate mint. In flavor, the only flavor I could pick out was the chocolate. The mint and almond I think sort of blend in with the chocolate. The chocolate flavor is maybe reminiscent of a tootsie roll or at least that’s how I’ve seen others describe this particular flavoring. I don’t think this one fits the name or concept. I would’ve expected more nuttiness or more almond or something. It was an enjoyable cup and I’m glad I got the chance to try it. Dessert blends are the perfect pick me up during a stressful week or just whenever. Thanks, Michelle!

Flavors: Chocolate, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Michelle

This one wasn’t a favorite of mine, but it seemed appropriate for an advent tea!

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75

More like Russian Earl Gray, bergamont comes through over a nice quality black. Not a hint of smokiness whatsover- which may be good news for some. Despite the exotic notes by the maker, I just get bergamont/citrus. Not terrible, not great.

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Advent Tea: Day 5 from Michelle
My advent tasting notes will be rather sporadic this week due to finals. So sorry about that. I prepared this one according to Michelle’s steeping instructions and added a tiny splash of soymilk to my cup. It’s been a while since I’ve had a CTC tea and this one surprised me. It was so malty and lacked the bite or harshness that has been present in other CTC teas I’ve tried. I was able to get multiple steeps out of this one. Another tasty tea from S&V and one I would add to a future order. If I hadn’t had the chance to sample it I probably never would’ve included it in a future S&V order. Thanks Michelle!

Flavors: Malty, Smooth

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
ashmanra

All our best to you on exams, and wishes for good rest and peace when you need it!

Martin Bednář

All the best!

Michelle

Glad you liked it and for multiple infusions!

Lexie Aleah

Thanks Guys! :) Same goes to you with your exam Martin

Nattie

I might be a bit late now, but good luck with your exams!

Lexie Aleah

Nattie: Not too late at all. Thank You! (My last exam is on Monday but I’ve got paper finals through Sunday) :)

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69

Another from the Literary Tea Collection I bought myself last Christmas. Years ago, I toured The Mount (her home in Lenox, MA) while they were renovating it. The grounds are lovely. I was required to read Ethan Frome in high school and have picked up a few of her other writings over the years.

I’ve been enjoying this one over the last few weeks. Today I broke out the Christmas tea set and made a pot of tea while avoiding the pile of work on my desk. It has a light floral taste. I don’t notice the citrus or ginger that others mention on the SV website. It’s a decent cup of tea but doesn’t excite me. I will continue use it until it’s been used up but not on my “must re-order” list.

Flavors: Floral, Flowers

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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