Saturday, July 5, 2014

Holiday Blend by Simpson & Vail

The next tea to be featured in the Pageant of Winter Teas is this festive blend from Simpson & Vail. 

Seller Description: "This blend of tea and herbs was created to capture the tastes and treats of the winter holiday season. It is a magnificent blend of black teas, rooibos and peppermint that has been delicately scented with vanilla and vanilla pieces. This Holiday Blend tea will enliven all of your holiday festivities." 
Ingredients: Black teas, rooibos, peppermint leaves, organic alfalfa leaves, flavoring, malva blossoms, erica flowers, and vanilla beans.
WebsiteHoliday Blend by Simpson & Vail
Sample source: Provided

Teaware: 16oz glass infuser mug
Measured dry: 2 teaspoons
Water Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 3 minutes
Additives: 3 teaspoons of raw sugar

I knew from the start that this would be a peppermint blend, but my first whiff of the dry aroma promised so much more than that. This is not a single-note tea, and the different elements give it a surprising complexity... more like a journey through a Christmas village than a single destination.

The promise of the dry aroma transitions in an interesting way into the steeped cup. It's a much lighter flavor than I had anticipated, and I think in the future I will use 1-1/2tsp instead of 1tsp per cup. It's coming across more like an herbal than a brisk black, and I'm having a difficult time picking up many of the other elements.

Teaware: 8oz Depression Glass cup with tea ball
Measured dry: 1-1/2 teaspoons
Water Temperature: 212º F
Steeping Time: 3 minutes
Additives: 1-1/2 teaspoons

For my second cup, I went ahead and made a smaller, more concentrated batch. I do get a little more of the vanilla and floral notes here, but the black base is still proving light and elusive.

While it does still taste like an herbal, the presence of the black tea base does add a caffeine kick. This would be a nicely relaxing cup for a lazy morning.

Prominent Notes: Peppermint and vanilla
Aftertaste: Floral elements and just a hint of the black base
Overall: A black tea that keeps a low profile

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