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. […]
August 10, 2015

Keep Your Pot Hot with a Tea Cozy

by Connor Lofink It’s late in the afternoon and you have a few friends over to enjoy a hot cup of tea and some juicy gossip. Everyone sits around the small table in your drawing room and you pour each guest a piping hot cup of the aromatic drink. In between sentences, you each savor small sips of your beverages, enjoying every aspect: the flavor, the warmth, the gently wafting steam filled with tempting aromas. Every so often someone reaches out to grab one of the small sandwiches or delicate cakes that sit on the table. The conversation drifts from Mr. Havisham’s new haircut to Mrs. Gentry’s new job to the exciting news about Mrs. Cutter’s eldest who has recently gotten engaged. Everyone is having a good time […]
July 16, 2015

From Cape to Cup: The Beginnings of Rooibos Production

by Connor Lofink When Benjamin Ginsberg traveled from Moscow to the Cape of South Africa in 1903 with plans to make his fortune in the tea trade with his father, he was quickly introduced to what the Dutch settlers called “bush tea.” It was a brew made from the leaves of the Rooibos plant that grew in the nearby scrublands. The Dutch settlers had enjoyed this not-quite-tea for over a hundred years before Ginsberg’s arrival, but its popularity outside of the South African settlements was limited. Ginsberg recognized that an herbal beverage like Rooibos, which the locals assured him had medicinal properties as well, offered an appealing alternative to the Chinese and Indian black teas that people were used to. Those black teas were a rare treat down […]
June 18, 2015

The origin of Iced Tea

by Connor Lofink A heat wave burned across the midwest on the morning when the India Tea Commissioner Richard Blechynden and his staffers set up the East Indian Pavilion for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Blechynden hoped that free cups of tea would convince people more familiar with the Chinese variety that his Indian tea had potential. But when the fair got underway, the temperatures did not subside. Instead, they rose and rose as more and more people gathered to see exhibits from 62 different countries. Women wandered the fair in full-length dresses and wore wide-brimmed hats to protect them from the sun while the men wore three-piece suits. The fashion of the day meant that everyone was suffering from the high temperatures. 20 million people visited the […]
April 13, 2015

Tea Infuser Mugs

I remember when I was a kid and working for S&V in the 1980’s & 90’s, we didn’t have many choices of teaware items. There were teapots, of course, but many of them didn’t have infusers. The ones that had infusers, the holes were so large that quite a few tea leaves would go through them when straining. The preferred, traditional, method for tea brewing was to put the loose leaves in the pot and use a strainer on your cup & saucer. My mother, Joan, scoured resources searching in many places for new items, which, without the internet, was not an easy task. Tea mug Infusers with larger holes               Today the world of tea brewing has exploded with so many […]
February 9, 2015

Tea Flavor Chart

Check out our new tea flavor chart. Each person has a unique “flavor profile” that they prefer. By selecting those flavors that you enjoy you may find other loose leaf tea flavors that you would also enjoy. Choose teas based on their flavor profile and find your new favorites by clicking on the boxes below. Here at Simpson & Vail, the Harron family’s mission is to uphold the highest standards in quality, service and value, in order to best serve you, our faithful customers. We are dedicated to bringing you the finest quality, most health conscious products available at the fairest prices.  Simpson & Vail Inc., one of the oldest Tea companies in the USA, is a family owned business dedicated to offering quality teas from around the world. […]
January 13, 2015

Chai Masala Recipes – more than just tea!

Chai Masala originated in the areas in and around India and Tibet thousands of years ago. There are a few legends surrounding the invention of masala tea. One is that an Indian king was made this tea by his chef and so loved the drink that he banned the chef from revealing the recipe to anyone else. After his death, the secret recipe was given out, whereupon it was changed based on the ingredients people had available to them.  Another legend claims that the Tibetans were the originators of this recipe, using it as an offering and as a sign of hospitality. Their recipe used spices with salt and whatever dairy products were available (goat’s milk, yak butter, etc …).  Whoever was the originator of chai and masala […]