Simpson & Vail

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70
drank Yosemite by Simpson & Vail
22 tasting notes

As a huge NPS fan, I dashed off to purchase the sampler set from Simpson & Vail. It was delivered quickly and neatly packaged. A little gift to myself! We’re in the midst of planning a trip to Yosemite, so I thought I’d start there.

I’ve now finished the Yosemite sample and tried it at several steeping lengths. I felt 4 minutes was the best steeping time and brought out the pineapple flavor more. That said, I hoped for more pineapple taste. I felt the spearmint was a more noticeable flavor.

All and all, a nice tea to kick off our trip plans but I’m not likely to order again.

Flavors: Pineapple, Spearmint

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Cameron B.

I wanted more pineapple from this one, too!

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62

I picked this one up in my last S&V order because I love passion fruit and fruity oolongs, plus they offer it in a 1-ounce package! I wish that were true for all of their teas…

I was a bit worried about the hibiscus, but it steeped up a pretty pale coral color, so it can’t be too bad. Unfortunately, it’s quite bland. I get a bit of tart fruitiness, but nothing that I would ever describe as passion fruit. Mostly rose hips, I think? The oolong looks green but tastes a touch roasty and also has some mineral notes.

Quite meh! But that’s okay, I’m glad to have tried it. I’ll have to try it as a cold brew as well.

Flavors: Fruity, Mineral, Roasted, Rosehips, Sweet, Tart

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
AJRimmer

Ha yeah I have a cart ready to go, but I haven’t ordered it yet because I don’t really want 32 more ounces of tea at one time…

Cameron B.

It doesn’t help that their teas are so inexpensive lol, I always end up with so much!

AJRimmer

Exactly! They could definitely charge more and still have me as a customer since I love their teas.

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82
drank Grand Canyon by Simpson & Vail
2247 tasting notes

Sipdown! (14 | 218)

“An Ode to Tea” Alphabet Challenge – G

Yay, time for another National Park tea! No idea what eleuthero root or pau d’arco should taste like, but I’ve had some prickly pear-flavored things before, and they’re usually sort of vaguely fruity and tart, but tasty! And almost always fuchsia, ha ha…

I’m really liking this tea! So far, most of the National Park teas have been quite good, which I’m pleasantly surprised about. This has a subtle fruity-tart flavor to it that reminds me quite a bit of rhubarb. And I love rhubarb, so that’s a good thing! Not sure about the other herbal-y ingredients, I don’t get much of an herbal/earthy note here. Bit of hay maybe? The base is very mellow with a soft woodiness. Something is adding a nice bit of sweetness, not sure what that is, but I dig it!

Another yummy one from the National Park collection! Not sure that I need it in my cupboard, since I already have a couple of rhubarb teas. But very happy to have tried it!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CNYa1AnBy_R/

Flavors: Hay, Rhubarb, Smooth, Sweet, Tart, Wood

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

This one is quite tasty!

Cameron B.

I liked it! I think I started to get some of the herbaceous/earthy notes more as I finished the cup.

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86

E is for… Edgar Allen Poe’s Black Tea Blend.

I really loved this one! It’s been on my wishlist for a while, and Michelle kindly sent some for me to try. It turned a fun pink color from the beet cubes, but I couldn’t taste any earthiness from them. It’s really a lightly smoked EG and I’m here for it.

Flavors: Bergamot, Earl Grey, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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drank caribbean splash by Simpson & Vail
1282 tasting notes

C is for… Caribbean Splash.

This steeped up a deep, dark red wine color and I knew my husband would love it and I would not. It was very tart, even with the added honey, and had the flavor of bitter orange peel. With the name, I might have expected pineapple or something similarly juicy. It would have worked a little better for me if the flavor had been more orange juice and less orange zest/pith.

Flavors: Bitter, Hibiscus, Orange Zest, Tart

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79

National vacation day tea: I’ve never been to Kenya, but it and Tanzania are on my list. I am visiting my parent as my mom is having health issues so this is from my dad’s cupboard. I got him a variety of S&V teas a few Christmases ago and this was one he picked for repurchase. He can be particular about teas that leave an aftertaste, but this one is fairly smooth.
The tea has several notes, nutty, toasty, and malty with a slight caramel hay taste thrown in. I brewed a strong pot this morning, but a lighter afternoon brew might bring out some different notes. This reminds me of a much darker and smokier version of a yellow tea. A yummy cup that I’ll add to my next S&V order.

Flavors: Caramel, Malt, Nutty, Toasty

gmathis

Glad you could find some good tea on the road!

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88
drank Acadia by Simpson & Vail
2247 tasting notes

Yay, more National Parks!

This one is a green tea with blueberry, currant, cornflower, and oatstraw. I admit, I don’t think I’ve ever had oatstraw? Dry scent is deliciously blueberry with a bit of a toasty grain aroma that makes me think of Corn Nuts. Is that the oatstraw? (shrugs)

Yum yum yum yum yum! Sorry, I’m really liking the blueberry here. It reminds me of those dried blueberries that I used to eat in Blueberry Morning cereal (do they still make that…?) or even blueberry jam. Very syrupy sweet, concentrated, and rich with none of the slight tartness of a fresh blueberry. The green base is extremely mellow, just subtly dry grassy and smooth. I’m not sure about the oatstraw? I can taste something that could be oat, but that could just be part of the green tea itself. Anyway, there’s a bit of hay-oat thing going on.

So really happy with this one! It makes me so happy when these teas are yummy, because the packaging is so pretty that it would be a shame if they were all duds…

https://www.instagram.com/p/CM3FaY-hDvn/

Flavors: Blueberry, Dried Fruit, Dry Grass, Hay, Honey, Jam, Oats, Smooth, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
gmathis

This sounds good! I’ve had barley tea a time or two…I bet your oat straw is similar…and Corn Nuts was a good comparison.

Cameron B.

Oddly, I didn’t really get that flavor in the taste? (shrug)

Cameron B.

Also, I love barley tea!

tea-sipper

oh goodie, a decent blueberry tea to try at some point.

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60

This is quite bland?

There’s a hint of cinnamon, but otherwise I mostly taste green rooibos, and not much of that. It’s actually almost reminding me of watery cola?

Odd. Well I have two ounces of it, so it’ll certainly get another chance ha ha!

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cola, Spices, Wood

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

Wild how different our experiences were. Was what you sent from the same batch?

Cameron B.

Yes, it’s the same bag. Maybe I just got unlucky somehow ha ha!

AJRimmer

Maybe try overleafing? I remember loving this one.

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67

Kiki:

“I smell a little vanilla. Marshmallows. lots of smelling Pie, some kind of pie. Flan. Is this another banana cream pie? sips I dunno smells like, fragrant, like perfume. Is it fruity? Is it custard, like a custard thing, like vanilla? Rice pudding. heh I got no clue. What is it? Is it rice pudding? Is it custard? Is it vanilla? Cinnamon, has it got cinnamon in there? Ginger, say ginger! Gingerbread! Is that what it is — gingerbread? Ginger? Ginger? Has it got star anise in it? Is that it? Star anise? Haha.”

Carrot Cape Cupcake.

“Carrot cake cupcake? So it does have some cinnamon and some ginger. Haha. Just like carrot cake, dammit. Yeah, just like it. Son of a bitch. muffled cackles Yeah, that it. That’s good, very nice. Very natural tasting. What did you think?”

I haven’t had any yet. I’ve been typing your constant questions.

“Ohhkeh. a series of belches and giggles It’s a good digestive tea. I’d rate it an 8. I think it’s very good.”

derk:

It totally smells strongly of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Simpson and Vail nailed the aroma! The taste is smooth and less pronounced but the aftertaste retains some of that cream cheese frosting and ?sweet cinnamon? If I hadn’t known what it was I would’ve guessed churros with frosting. I wouldn’t choose to buy this since dessert teas aren’t my thing but color me impressed. Thanks, Cameron!

Flavors: Cake, Cheesecake, Cinnamon, Frosting, Mineral, Pumpkin, Sweet, Vanilla

Cameron B.

Ginger? Ginger! Ginger?! I was dying.

Mastress Alita

She needs to move onto police interrogations next.

Martin Bednář

My brother in homeoffice looked at me what I am laughing at. He didn’t get it.
But I had a good laugh. Thanks Kiki and derk!

Leafhopper

Kiki gave me a much-needed laugh this morning. :)

ashmanra

I love a good Kiki note! Thanks for the giggles!

Tiffany :)

This sounds like perhaps what I was hoping for the DT’s Carrot Cupcake. I love the real dessert carrot cake, have not found this translated in tea form yet.

derk

Mastress Alita: she got a kick out of that. Her favorite entertainment genres are crime/cop/action.

Mastress Alita

derk: Lately crime dramas have been my evening escape, as well!

Cameron B.

Her rapid-fire guesses make me think of playing charades, ha ha!

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78
drank Yosemite by Simpson & Vail
2247 tasting notes

I’d only tried one of these National Park Collection teas, and really enjoyed it, so I figured it was time to sample some of the other ones. So I picked this one out at random to try. Pineapple and spearmint sounds good!

It’s tasty, but I would like more pineapple! The pineapple here is very soft and is more of an accent to the spearmint flavor. I do like the spearmint, and it’s not too strong. Sometimes spearmint can taste like chewing gum, but it’s just soft and refreshing here. The base tea is a little musty with some hay notes, which actually goes rather well with the herbaceous spearmint.

This probably isn’t one that I would reorder, just because there’s not quite enough pineapple here for me. But I’ll happily finish off the rest of the sample pouch! :)

https://www.instagram.com/p/CMaIRQiAgWO/

Flavors: Hay, Herbaceous, Mint, Musty, Pineapple, Smooth, Spearmint, Sweet

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

Ohhhh you had me at National Park… and now I’ve placed an order. I’m such a sucker for packaging

Cameron B.

These have the prettiest labels ever!

Mastress Alita

Wait, did they start making these in sampler sizes?

Cameron B.

I think you can only get the smaller size if you buy the whole gift set of 8 teas…

Mastress Alita

Ah. My problem with the gift sets is that, at least with the author’s collection, many of the blends are “missing” from the set and they don’t offer small sizes separately, not even for the missing ones. :-(

Cameron B.

In this case, there are only 8 teas so it is all of them, but you’re right that that’s not the case for some of the other ones.

Martin Bednář

I would place the order for their national park series, if only the shipping… I am afraid it being approximately same price as for the tea! Their labels rocks!

Too bad they offer mostly 4 oz of each (if not gift set)… that’s a bit too much for trying out.

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Finally getting around to trying my last untasted tea from tea-sipper! Thanks for sharing so many tasty teas, as always! I considered not adding milk because I found the tea to be decently rich and flavorful without. As it sat, it did gain a little sourness (my fault for not drinking more quickly) but milk fixed that completely. I prefer other S&V plain black teas, but this one is perfectly pleasant.

tea-sipper

You are very welcome! :D

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I didn’t check the ingredients for this one when I picked it, so the floral scent was very surprising! I’m not a big rose fan, but luckily violet was the dominating flavor. (I also cheated and tried not to scoop up much rose) I added milk and sweetener, and it’s like having one of those violet candies. Again, I’m not a floral tea person, so I would reach for this one very infrequently (but I would reach for it!) I think it does a really good job at accomplishing its flavor goals. The second steep is quite strong as well. Thanks for sharing this one tea-sipper! I’m really glad I got to try it.

Cameron B.

I love that they offer these literary blends! I’ll have to pick up the sampler next time…

AJRimmer

I think I’ve only tried 2-3 of the literary blends so far, but I definitely enjoyed them!!

Cameron B.

It’s a bit dumb that they only offer them in 4-ounce sizes…

AJRimmer

Yeah, they only sell some of their herbal blends in the 4 oz size too, so I just buy one or two on each order so I’m not overwhelmed. It’s a lot of tea!

Mastress Alita

It kills me they only offer some of their teas in 4 oz. sizes. Unless it’s a bulky, heavy fruit blend, that much leaf for just little ol’ me is not feasible.

tea-sipper

This is the rare one I bought a tin of, because it’s a great floral tea.

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86
drank Tippy Yunnan by Simpson & Vail
3325 tasting notes

From an order a while ago, so this is the 2018 harvest.  I keep trying it.  I think it’s aging well anyway.  It’s certainly a different flavor profile – not really a Yunnan as I’m accustomed to them.  The leaves are smaller with hints of gold here and there.  The dry leaf is fairly earthy, smokey and leathery and the fragrance is pretty much what you get in the flavor.  All of that, plus sweet but balanced with savory, maybe a light basil and black pepper.  Also, cascara cherries?  Though I haven’t had those very often in tea.  Definitely not like chocolate, which is Yunnan to me.   Two teaspoons isn’t really necessary — it isn’t bad but 1 1/2 teaspoons is never as deep as I want it to be.   A decent black but maybe not what I ever expect of a Yunnan. It’s four ounces for $5.90 though, and that is certainly an excellent deal (also available as an ounce).
Steep #1  // 2 teaspoons for full mug // 23 minutes after boiling  // 2 minute steep
Steep #2  // 3 minutes after boiling //  3 minute steep
2021 sipdowns: 20 (Steap Shoppe – Spring Time Berry )

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S&V offers a nice range of straight black teas, and though I don’t enjoy this quite as much as some of their others, it’s still pretty good. I grabbed a few teaspoons from a tea box. It has a delicious full flavor. It was good before I added milk, possibly even better without milk. It’s a little weaker than I’d prefer, but not bad.

Courtney

I’m always so drawn to their flavoured teas, I forget to check out their straight teas! I am planning a cart, so I’ll have to take a look. :)

AJRimmer

I only ever buy their flavored teas, but I really enjoy trying the straight ones when I find them in a tea box!

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45

I’ve been dreading writing a note for this one, since it’s the rare S&V tea that just isn’t good.   This seemed like a really nice combination of flavors.  I guess I missed the ONE Steepster rating that gave the score of a lowest of the low … a score of ONE.  Don’t see that too often.  The reviews on S&V’s site are much better.  I also seemed to have missed that the base of the tea was green and not black. It doesn’t seem to be mentioned on the website or the pouch.  When fresher, the leaves distinctly had the fragrance of all these lovely elements: orange, vanilla, jasmine.  But now that the blend is getting older, it definitely smells and tastes like only BUBBLEGUM.  The cup cools and the more I’m tasting bubblegum.  And then the green tea is also getting a little bitter.   But the bubblegum is so odd and not really what I wanted from this one.  Second steep: more bubblegum. I think I have learned that some orange flavoring tastes like bubblegum, so I think that is the problem here.  Can’t win them all.
Steep #1 // 1 1/3 teaspoons for a full mug // 40 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 32 minutes after boiling  // 2 minute steep   

Cameron B.

Uh oh, I have this one and haven’t tried it! And I totally get bubblegum all the time from some of Dammann’s orange + spice teas…

tea-sipper

Yeah, I kept seeing your notes on orange tasting like bubblegum and thought of this tea! Hopefully you like this one better than I did…

Cameron B.

If not, there’s always the compost heap, LOL!

AJRimmer

I know what you mean! When there’s a S&V tea that I don’t like, I always find myself making excuses for it like, “Oh it was probably my fault, not the tea!” :P

Martin Bednář

Vanilla, orange and Jasmine must clash in my opinion. Especially vanilla and jasmine. Both very distinctive aromas and can’t imagine them both in one cup.

As you write can’t win them all. That’s right. Totally!

tea-sipper

AJ – Yes, S&V is usually on point. This might be their first unlikeable tea for me.

Martin – Now that you mention it, some of these flavors do sound a bit odd together.

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82

So Courtney asked me about this one, which of course inspired me to try it! These poor S&V teas haven’t been getting any love since I ordered last fall… Poor babies.

I really like this one though! It’s a light black base with a lovely raspberry flavor, and the raspberry is somewhere between fresh fruit and candy, which I really like. It has a soft sweetness but still tastes fairly close to a real raspberry. The sage adds a lovely subtle savory note, and there’s a soft herbal flavor from the raspberry leaf.

This is a lovely soft raspberry tea with a bit of interest, and I really enjoyed it this afternoon. Thanks Courtney for inspiring me to try it!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CKhn1Q8gXdI/

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Candy, Herbaceous, Herbs, Musty, Raspberry, Sage, Smooth, Sweet

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

Thanks for giving me the low down on this one! :)

Mastress Alita

I live mere hours from the Rocky Mountains. :-)

Courtney

Us too (for the time being) Mastress Alita!

Martin Bednář

I just went through your Instagram Cameron, and saw the colourful and overall very cute and nice pouches of their NP teas. And how nice they donate 10 per cent to the actual parks!

Cameron B.

The pouches are so pretty! And thank you for reminding me to add the Instagram link here. XD

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drank Grand Canyon by Simpson & Vail
1090 tasting notes

I’ve never had any of the flavours in here: prickly pear, eleuthera root, or pau d’arco, but I am enjoying it all!

There’s hints of floral, but not like anything I’ve had before and a sour-y sweetness that seems to match the Google description of prickly pear tasting “like a strawberry and raspberry hooked up”. XD

There’s a somewhat drying feeling in my mouth, but nothing like astringency and almost imperceptible. All in all, an enjoyable cuppa!

Thanks for sharing such a unique tea Cameron :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 14 OZ / 414 ML
Cameron B.

I’ve never had actual prickly pear, but the prickly-pear-flavored things I’ve tried have been tart and fruity, and fuchsia in color.

Courtney

Yes, this is maaaybe slightly tart, but something is balancing it out. And this is just a normal black tea colour!

Lexie Aleah

Prickly Pear reminds me a bit of dragonfruit

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2021 sipdown no. 22

Amazing sample from Cameron!

This tea is so delicious. The dry scent is exactly raspberries and chocolate. Exactly! I never enjoyed fruit and chocolate when I was young, but as I get older, I am starting to appreciate it more. This tea was an absolute delight. The steeped taste is like eating raspberries and chocolate and I am here for it.

I even did a second resteep and it still had a decent amount of flavour! This is going into our S&V cart for sure!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 14 OZ / 414 ML
Veronica

That sounds delicious!

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2021 sipdown no. 18

Another fun one from S&V, courtesy of Cameron!

The tea is very much matched to the name, which is awesome. The scent is very reminiscent of French toast with syrup. The syrup flavour isn’t my favourite, sadly (in any tea, not just S&V). I am definitely an outsider with my thoughts on this one, but Lex at least agreed with me haha, but did say it tasted exactly like a sweet, syrup-y French toast tea!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 g 14 OZ / 414 ML
Cameron B.

More for me! XD

Courtney

Hahah yes! I wonder if this was partly user error, but alas!

Cameron B.

Well if you don’t like that pancake syrup flavor in tea, I’m not surprised.

Courtney

I felt the same about Cookie Butter from Deb. And there’s been another one recently too (I’ve tried so many new teas…oh! Mornin’ Waffles from Cuppa Geek haha)

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First sips: this tastes like liquified French vanilla ice cream. After some more sips, a hint of cinnamon comes out. It’s almost like I’m drinking warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream on top. Delicious.

Lex says the same and really enjoyed it too!

Thanks Cameron!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 3 g 14 OZ / 414 ML
Cameron B.

Yay, I’m glad you and Lexa are enjoying so many of them! ❤

Inkling

Wow, that sounds amazing!

Courtney

Cameron we really are! Thanks! :)

Inkling this one surprised me, but it’s super tasty!

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2021 sipdown no. 15 (another from Cameron) :)

Ooh, another cookie one! And it’s very cookie-like. I really like that! The only thing is that there’s a bit of a stevia-like sweetness at the very end of the sip that I don’t love, which I assume is the blackberry leaf. However, Lex loves this one and wants to order it for her collection. Yay!

Thanks Cameron!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 14 OZ / 414 ML

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This is all sugar cookie. That’s it. There are no other words needed. It’s the perfect balance of hints of almond with a sugar cookie sweetness that somehow isn’t sweet at all. Magic.

Thank you Cameron! ❤

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 3 g 14 OZ / 414 ML

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2021 sipdown no. 10 (sample sipdown, but I’ve decided it counts haha)

This tea is amazing. Amazing! Lex loves it. I love it.

The website says this is apple fritter-esque and I have to agree. I love a good apple fritter! The apple and cinnamon pair perfectly here, and the chocolate in the background isn’t overly noticeable in taste, but I think blends these flavours together to mellow them in the most perfect way.

This will go into the S&V order for sure. Thanks for sharing Cameron! :)

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 14 OZ / 414 ML
Cameron B.

Aww, yay! And tell Lex hello! ❤

AJRimmer

This has chocolate in it? I’ve definitely had at least 4 oz of this tea over the years and never knew that, so I guess I agree on its subtlety!

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85

Samurai TTB #43

I really enjoyed this one! The texture is super smooth and creamy and the flavor reminds me of a slice of toast with butter and honey. There is a slightly mineral note to the aftertaste that I wasn’t crazy about, but overall, this was a really nice straight oolong.

Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Honey, Mineral, Smooth, Toast

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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