Sunday, March 1, 2015

Cozy Comfort Black Tea by Simpson & Vail

Seller Description"It's like a "throw-back" tea….brings up thoughts of snuggling in a cozy comforter by a fireplace, or being a little kid snuggled in a comforter sitting on your Grammie's lap, wrapped in the comforter and her hugs. It's like watching cookies bake in the oven and drifting off to peaceful places on the aroma wafting from the oven."

Ingredients:Black teas, organic cinnamon pieces, orange blossoms and Black Walnut flavor.
WebsiteCozy Comfort Tea by Simpson & Vail
Sample source: Provided

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

I made this tea up a couple times in a couple different ways, but it is amazingly consistent. It has a very light, buttery cinnamon flavor with hints of something like caramel, although part of that may be due to the raw sugar I used to sweeten it. It's not all of it, though, because I didn't use that much!

After trying it, I understand why the seller had such a difficult time naming it... and why the original name of Black Walnut didn't stick. There doesn't seem to be much nuttiness at all, for having walnut flavoring.

All in all, it's pretty difficult to pin down. The black tea blend remains firmly in the background, if not backstage. There is no astringency at all, and nothing in this tea even hints at a brisk bite of caffeine. It's just so incredibly gentle. If I hadn't brewed it myself, I wouldn't think it was even a black tea.

So I guess this blend is for people who'd like a sweet, slight hit of caffeine without the taste normally associated with it. 

Prominent Notes: Butter and cinnamon
Aftertaste: Butter and an itsy bitsy teeny tiny hint of the black tea blend
Overall: An interesting tea, but probably not a cupboard staple.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

St. Nick's Tea by Simpson & Vail

Seller Description"Add St. Nick's Tea to your holiday wish list because this blend is Nutty & Nice! Black teas are enhanced with the flavors of chocolate and roasted nuts with a hint of maple. The tea brews to an amber cup with a smooth, nutty, slightly sweet taste. It's the perfect blend to enjoy on winter nights while you're sitting by the fire. A definite crowd pleaser!"
Ingredients: Black teas, almonds, organic cacao nibs, vanilla beans, flavoring and orange blossoms.
WebsiteSt. Nick's Tea 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

Sipping this tea, it makes me think more about young love than Santa. I remember hearing that my great grandfather used to own a pharmacy in Eastern Oregon where they sold fountain drinks and malted milk shakes.

It was at a country fair not too far from that pharmacy that my grandparents started courting... and right there on main street where grandpa, as a groom, pushed his new bride down the street in a wheelbarrow. We were recently going through some pictures for my grandfather's memorial, and I don't remember if I actually saw a picture or just remembered the story, but I can so easily connect that image of young love with the flavor of this tea... old timey and wonderful.

As it was steeping, the fragrance lured my husband from his computer room into the kitchen. He took one sip of this and a smile ignited across his face. He told me, "It makes me think of hot chocolate malt. My grandfather used to make malted chocolate milkshakes. It has this chocolately, nutty flavor that's just wonderful for a cold winter's morning." He took a few more sips, then continued, "I actually smelled it across the house. I was hoping it tasted as good as it smells, and it does!"

The flavors of this tea hit me the same way. A fantastic, old-fashioned chocolate milkshake that just makes me smile... for a couple of reasons. The first being the memories and stories it evokes, and the second being the slightly more practical (but no less celebrated) way it compares to the original in terms of calories!

Like Simpson & Vail's Victorian Earl Grey, this may have been introduced to our household as a sample, but will probably end up a cupboard regular.

Prominent Notes: Chocolate, cream, and a certain level of nuttiness
Aftertaste: A hint of the black tea base with a stronger chocolate element
Overall: A new favorite!