January 7, 2017

Matcha Tea – The Tea that’s on everyone’s lips

  It’s National Hot Tea Month and I don’t think we can have a discussion about tea without highlighting the hottest tea trend right now  Matcha green tea. Matcha is a powdered green tea grown in Japan and used in the famous Japanese tea ceremony.  It is also made in small quantities in other countries such as China and Vietnam, although tea producers in these countries use a different leaf than in Japan. Today this lovely tea is consumed in a variety of ways.  It is prepared in the traditional manner, made into lattes and other beverages and is added to smoothies, cakes, cookies and more as an ingredient in baking. Production Matcha is grown in the same way as Gyokuro tea.  When new shoots on the tea bush […]
June 20, 2016

The Eight Limbs of Yoga – An Introduction

  In honor of International Yoga Day (June 21st) we offer this brief introduction to the practice of yoga, the eight limbs of yoga. When people think of yoga, they associate the practice with the physical movement of the body in a variety of poses.  This, however, is only one aspect of yoga.  Yoga is about a way of life, a road-map (if you will) of how to live your life.  In the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali details the steps one should take to enrich their lives and reach enlightenment.  He describes the eight limbs of yoga.  The physical movement of the body in postures is actually called Asanas and is the 3rd limb.     The first two limbs are Yama and Niyama and correspond to our approach […]
June 6, 2016

Test your knowledge of Iced Teas!

How much do you know about Iced Tea?  June is National Iced Tea Month so we’re celebrating with specials on a variety of iced tea blends throughout the month.  Test your iced tea knowledge below!   1) Iced tea became popular in: 1904, 1875, 1776, 1935 1904 at the Louisiana Exposition (St. Louis Fair) click here to read our blog on the origins of Iced Tea. 2) Iced tea was introduced to the masses by: Sir Thomas Lipton, Martha Washington, Richard Blechynden, Betsy Ross Richard Blechynden – click here to read our blog about Iced Teas 3) Of the tea drunk in the US, iced tea accounts for: 25%, 50%, 73%, 85% Currently 85% of all tea consumed in the US is Iced Tea according to the Tea […]
January 6, 2016

Enjoy National Hot Tea Month

January is recognized as national hot tea month – so let’s celebrate! You can start new habits and make new plans any time of the year, however, January is generally regarded as the month of re-birth and re-discovery.  The New Year is our opportunity to meditate on the previous year and make plans for the coming year.  It’s a time to assess the aspects of our life that are going well and work on the areas that need improvement.  While you contemplate the direction your life will take this year don’t forget to put on the kettle!     With 31 days to delve into the tea world we’ve listed a few suggestions below to help you make the most of National Tea Month this year.     […]
November 20, 2015

Literary Tea Line: Bronte Sisters, Potter, Carroll

This is the final blog of our Literary Tea Line introduction series. We only have three authors left and, as you can see in the title, they are some big names. This week, we’ll go through the life of the Bronte sisters, Beatrix Potter, and Lewis Carroll and explain why we chose the blends we did for each of them. First off, we have the the Bronte sisters. We decided to make one tea blend for all three so we didn’t have to choose between them. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne lived and wrote in Yorkshire, England. Born in 1816, 1818 and 1820, respectively, the sisters lived very short lives, with Charlotte living the longest at 38. During their tragically truncated lifetimes, each sister produced novels that would become […]
November 14, 2015

Literary Tea Line: Dostoyevsky, Joyce, Dickinson, Whitman

To continue our series of Literary Tea introduction blogs, we move on to some authors who are less well-known. You may have heard their names before or be familiar with their work, but these four don’t command the same immediate recognition that Shakespeare, Austen, and Dickens enjoy. Some of the greatest works of literature require a knowledge of multiple languages or a great translator to be enjoyed by English readers. Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote many such novels. He was born in Moscow in 1821 and spent the first sixteen years of his life among the orphans, criminals, and asylum patients with whom his father worked. The 1846 publication of his novel Poor Folk gave the young Dostoyevsky his first taste of literary fame, but it is Crime & Punishment […]
November 6, 2015

Literary Tea Line: Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens

The Literary Tea Line is here! To introduce this brand new collection of tins, we’ve written a series of blogs that will provide both a short biography for each of the authors we’ve been inspired by and an explanation for how we decided what goes into their blend. Each of these authors provided unique challenges and we did our best to make sure that our tea blends captured their individuality. The scents and flavors of these blends will transport you to the cities and countries that your favorite characters knew and loved. Curl up with your favorite book and enjoy a cup of tea inspired by the life and works of its author. This week, our blog will focus on an introductory set of authors with whom everyone’s […]
October 19, 2015

Breaking News – our new Literary Tea Line

Simpson & Vail is unveiling a new line of tea tins that we’ve been working on for months. The Literary Tea Line is a collection of blends that were created with a specific author in mind. The teas vary from a black tea blend to a flavored herbal blend and each is inspired by the authors’ works and lives. The Literary Tea Line is inspired by William Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Emily Dickinson, James Joyce, Beatrix Potter, Lewis Carroll, and Charles Dickens. A warm mug of tea and a good book go together like, well, a warm cup of tea and a good book. Keep warm in any armchair with occasional sips of tea while letting the words of brilliant writers wash over […]
October 5, 2015

Support Nepal with these New Aarubotay Garden Teas

by Connor Lofink Support Nepal – Simpson & Vail recently imported five new teas from Nepal’s Aarubotay Gardens. This organic and ISO-certified garden is located almost 400 miles east of Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, and is perched in the misty hills of Pashupati Nagar at an altitude of 6000 feet. Aarubotay, which means “Plum Tree,” is a small, family-owned garden that produces between 11,000 and 17,500 pounds of tea each year. They are the first Nepalese facility to process their teas with Japanese machinery, technology, and expertise. Their size allows them to take great care in ensuring that their high standards of quality and cleanliness are maintained. The tea plants at Aarubotay Gardens are a mix of Japanese, Chinese, and Clonal varieties that are grown in rows and pruned […]
September 21, 2015

Tea Blending: Creating Our Valentine’s Day Blend

by Connor Lofink Simpson & Vail offers over 300 varieties of teas and tisanes and many of those are blends. Each tea blend had to be invented by someone and most of our flavored ones come from the wonderfully creative mind of Cyndi Harron. Ideas for new blends can come from anywhere. She might be struck with sudden inspiration or she might have to build an idea from scratch. The latter was the case with our new Valentine’s Day blend. This holiday is usually associated with creamy, decadent chocolate and rich, red fruits so when a customer emailed looking for a fruity chocolate tea, Cyndi went to work creating one. “When I first made the Valentine’s Day blend I was torn between rose and fruit,” Cyndi told me. […]