Simpson & Vail

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Recent Tasting Notes

72
drank Yellowstone by Simpson & Vail
27 tasting notes

With plans to go to two Nation Parks next year, this tea was on my list to try first out of the collection box as reservations for Yellowstone are made. I’ve traveled there twice before and it’s a magical place. I’m not sure this tea lives up to the name but The tea leaves were pretty with red and blue coloring from strawberries and cornflower. I found it to be a rather fruity tasting tea strong on the strawberry. The tea has a good lingering scent and for those who like fruit teas, I do recommend.

Flavors: Strawberry

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 30 sec
Cameron B.

I still need to try this one from my sampler!

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50

Sipdown! (44 | 321)

Not a fan of this one…

It’s quite chalky, and the main flavor seems to be a custardy vanilla. So it ends up sort of tasting like a vanilla pudding-flavored Tums to me… I’m not sure I taste orange or cinnamon at all. The chalky quality is almost slightly floral, like those powdery violet candies.

Nope, nope nope…

Flavors: Chalk, Creamy, Custard, Floral, Sweet, Vanilla, Violet

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

Aw, it sounded so good in theory!

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75

I got Tea Mail from Shae! Yay!
This tea smells awesome, as if I’ve just been in the kitchen cooking apples and cinnamon, with a good whiff of maple syrup too. As for the taste, I’m wondering if I used enough leaf because I find myself wanting more, more cinnamon or more apple or more both. The maple syrup is quite tasty but its suffering from my mental comparison to Cuppa Geek’s Morning Waffles. I’ll try again with more leaf and less water and I’ll add a sample to my next S&V order to experiment with. Thanks Shae for sharing this yummy tea.

Flavors: Apple, Cinnamon, Maple Syrup

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Kiki:

“It’s really good, I think I really like it, let’s get back to the show! Fruity, floral, very satisfying, thirst-quenching, berrylike, thank you very much whoever sent it. hahahaha! OK? hahahaha! It’s an 8!”

we’re watching the newest episode of Big Sky

derk:

This is like Simpson & Vail’s Carrot Cake Cupcake blend but with jammy blueberry. It has the same powdered sugar-cream cheese frosting vibe to me, like churros with vanilla frosting. Very sweet, mellow cinnamon. I think I taste a kind of crumble note, that oaty-pastry flavor. It’s pretty good and as Kiki says, thirst-quenching. I think the berry-currant tartness and green rooibos base play that role.

Flavors: Black Currant, Blueberry, Cinnamon, Frosting, Jam, Oats, Pastries, Powdered Sugar, Sweet, Tart, Vanilla

tea-sipper

The verbatim Kiki quotes never get old. :D

Cameron B.

What, no burps this time? XD

Mastress Alita

My tea-drinking has become noticably more burpy since I started carbonating my cold brews, hahaha!

Dustin

Oooooooo, are you using a sodastream to carbonate, Mastress Alita? I’ve noticed such a change in flavors when carbonation is added to tea!

Mastress Alita

A Drinkmate, but basically same thing, different brand!

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drank Almond Sugar Cookie by Simpson & Vail
1005 tasting notes

You know what this reminds me of? Butiki’s Lemon French Macaron without the lemon. And with black tea. Wild.

The flavoring for this is spot on for an almond sugar cookie, a crispy one with lightly toasted almonds. The flavoring is beautiful and it lasts through the second cup. The base tea is weak and woody with no depth. This makes me sad because the flavoring is very well done. I brewed 1.5 tsp in what I think is an 8oz mug. Maybe this needs 6oz to really shine.

Recommended because… because the name is a dead ringer for me.

Flavors: Almond, Brown Sugar, Cookie, Nutty, Toasted, Vanilla, Wood

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drank Almond Sugar Cookie by Simpson & Vail
1005 tasting notes

Kiki in da house:

“Is it chocolate? It tastes ok! A little dusty? Carob or something. It has some kind of artificial flavoring. You know what, it does kinda taste like an almond sugar cookie now that you say it. Buttery- a little buttery. Maybe cuz I just took a little bite of cream cheese. It’s better with cream cheese. It wasn’t really that thrilling. It has a very subtle taste. It’s not something I’d buy but hey, I did drink all of it!”

I dunno about you Kiki. I think the dry and wet leaf smelled like chocolate and that’s the only aspect that seemed artificial to me. I stole a few sips before I passed it off to you and it smelled and tasted a lot like an almond butter cookie with darker notes, not subtle for me but also not in-your-face. There’s still one serving left, so I’ll have to brew a greedy cup for myself :P

Cameron B.

Hmm I don’t remember chocolate!

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85
drank Zion by Simpson & Vail
2402 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

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

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.

tea-sipper

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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85
drank Zion by Simpson & Vail
2402 tasting notes

“An Ode to Tea” Alphabet Challenge – Z

Yay, the last letter! And I actually ended up mostly having a tea for every letter, which is somewhat concerning, heh… >.>

Anyway. I was a bit nervous about trying this one, as I’m not really a lavender fan. I’m okay with it in small doses, but it often tastes like soap to me. Happily, it’s not like that here. The sage is stronger than the lavender, and it helps to push things in more of a savory, herbaceous direction. The rooibos is quite strong as well, and has a woody flavor with a bit of a medicinal quality. Sometimes the combination of rooibos and berry can come off as very medicinal, like cough syrup, but it doesn’t quite go to that place here because of the savory nature of the herbs. The elderberry is also quite subtle, mostly adding a dark syrupy base note.

I quite like it, and I drank it alongside a rather sweet wagashi, which was a nice pairing. I don’t think I’ll reorder it though, just because it’s a bit of a niche tisane for me, and I don’t even drink tisanes very often in general. And maybe it’s just a touch too medicinal? But I am enjoying it, and will happily sip down the rest of the packet. :)

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

Flavors: Berry, Elderberry, Herbaceous, Jam, Lavender, Medicinal, Pine, Rooibos, Sage, Savory, Sweet, Wood

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

Congrats on making it to Z!

Cameron B.

Thank you, it was a fun challenge!

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65

“An Ode to Tea” Alphabet Challenge – V

This was part of my S&V order late last year, but I haven’t gotten around to trying it yet. Today’s the day!

I admit, I’m not expecting much after seeing the other notes for this tea. But it’s honestly not bad. I do taste bubblegum, as tea-sipper mentioned, but I have that issue often with Dammann’s orange teas as well. I don’t really get vanilla, and only a little orange. Mostly it’s a strong jasmine green tea with some bubblegum.

Not exactly good, but not awful either. I’ve been spoiled by Teavivre’s lush jasmine teas, so this pales quite a bit in comparison. That being said, the jasmine is okay, it doesn’t taste like perfume or anything. But I am happy that I only have one ounce to sip through!

Flavors: Bubblegum, Candy, Floral, Jasmine, Orange, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
tea-sipper

I’m glad you didn’t hate this anyway! I probably lowered expectations with my tasting note. And yeah, it’s hard not to think of Teavivre jasmine teas when I drink any jasmine tea now.

Cameron B.

I really need to order some of their pearls but every time I look at them, I can’t decide which one to get! XD

tea-sipper

My opinion, the superfine pearls are hardly different from the premium. Both are very great.

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70
drank Yosemite by Simpson & Vail
27 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
2402 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
1354 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
2402 tasting notes

Sipdown! (31 | 352)

Another one that I really enjoyed from the National Park sampler!

This has such a wonderful deep and syrupy blueberry jam flavor to it. Very subtle grassiness from the green base and I think a touch of oats and hay from the oatstraw.

It’s like blueberry oatmeal but very heavy on the blueberries hah hah. Another one I’ll need to order a tin of later!

Flavors: Blueberry, Grass, Hay, Jam, Oats, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
gmathis

I need to put this on my must-try list. It sounds delicious.

Cameron B.

Definitely recommend it if you like blueberry!

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88
drank Acadia by Simpson & Vail
2402 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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75
drank Yosemite by Simpson & Vail
2402 tasting notes

Sipdown! (72 | 276)

Sorry for another note on this so soon, but after drinking it for my “Y” tea yesterday, I noticed that there was only one serving left. So finishing it off today!

Still a mildly minty black tea with (sadly) only a hint of pineapple… More pineapple please!

Flavors: Hay, Herbaceous, Mint, Pine, Spearmint, Wood

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

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75
drank Yosemite by Simpson & Vail
2402 tasting notes

“An Ode to Tea” Alphabet Challenge – Y

Still need to finish off my alphabet!

This is a pleasant tea. It’s mildly minty with a soft herbaceous note and just a tiny hint of pineapple fruitiness. I enjoy the combination of the hay notes from the black base with the herbaceousness of the spearmint, and yet it doesn’t become too herbal-y, like peppermint sometimes can for me.

But I want more pineapple! T.T

Flavors: Earth, Hay, Herbaceous, Mint, Pineapple, Smooth, Spearmint

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

I was browsing S&V today looking at the park teas! The pineapple sounds like the most appealing part of this one, so it’s too bad it doesn’t show up more!

Cameron B.

It’s definitely verrrry subtle, unfortunately. I was hoping for more pineapple too.

Cameron B.

But I will say I’ve really liked every other National Park tea I’ve tried so far!

AJRimmer

I ordered a package of Zion! I’m excited to try it (:

Cameron B.

I’m actually planning to try that one later today for my “Z” tea! Not sure if I’ll love it because of the lavender, but we’ll see ha ha…

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75
drank Yosemite by Simpson & Vail
2402 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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