William Shakespeare’s Black Tea Blend from Simpson and Vail

ShakespeareTinTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Black Tea

Where to Buy: Simpson & Vail

Tea Description:

Possibly the most well-known name in western literature, William Shakespeare began his life as a tanner’s son in Stratford-Upon-Avon in the spring of 1564. After a seven year period following the birth of his children in which no reliable records of his life can be found, Shakespeare reappeared in London where he began writing and acting in plays.

Initially, his name was relegated to the corners of playbills, but as his productions grew in popularity, theaters began using “written by William Shakespeare” as their main selling point. The plays and poems he produced during the thirty year period when he was writing have endured the test of time and are studied and read across the world. He pioneered many styles and structures that have set the foundations for some of western literature’s greatest achievements. Shakespeare is even credited with inventing over 1700 words in the English language.

Gardens, herbs, and flowers appear in many of Shakespeare’s plays and oftentimes play a critical role in his stories. Our William Shakespeare tea blend is a combination of a few of the many herbs he references: lavender, roses, rosemary. The wit and playfulness of his verse means that Shakespeare’s plays can still be enjoyed today, ideally with a warm cup of tea.

This black tea and floral blend brews to an amber cup with a sweet, floral taste. The slightly earthy and woody notes are rounded out with the citrus taste of bergamot and sweet rose petals.

Ingredients: Rose Congou black tea, lavender petals, rose petals, rosemary and bergamot oil.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

This is the first of many new teas (from Simpson & Vail) that we will be reviewing here at Sororitea Sisters – William Shakespeare’s Black Tea Blend from Simpson and Vail – that is!  I’ve always been a fan of poetry but this specific name and tea go beyond my love for writing!  Whether or not it’s TRUE or a case of mistaken identity – I ‘may’ be distantly related to William Shakespeare.  The family rumor is that I am related to a ‘John Hall’ from Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England.  There was a John Hall that was a Doctor there in the 1500’s that married William Shakespeare’s Daughter Susanna.

So there were MANY reasons I was excited about this tea!  But let’s get to the ACTUAL tea experience – shall we? This William Shakespeare’s Black Tea Blend from Simpson and Vail has a black tea base and is blended with lavender, rose, rosemary, and bergamot oil.  After reading the product description and learning about the connection and inspiration of this tea I was blown away at the creativity and artisan-ship!

First and foremost the powerful aroma smacked me in the face as soon as I opened the bag!  This is some STURDY stuff!  William Shakespeare’s Black Tea Blend from Simpson and Vail is like a special flavored Earl Grey.  Not just your standard EG but with a little extra something.  But the aroma was magnified that is for sure!

The color of the post-infused tea in the cup was a lighter color of brown that I thought it would be.  But that didn’t mean the taste was going to be lacking.  The flavor on the tongue was almost as intense as it was on the nose!  I could taste the Earl Grey as well as the heavy-duty lavender.  The rosemary was subtle but contributed.

I really enjoyed this William Shakespeare’s Black Tea Blend from Simpson and Vail.  Sure – the tea was a winner – but – when you have a theme, tribute, or personal story with it – it makes it even better!


Tropical Green Tea from Octavia Tea

Tropical-GreenTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Tea Description:

This tea is so much more than what “tropical” might conjure in your mind. There’s sweet tropical flavours for sure, but there’s also an amazing floral character that envelopes the entire tea, a fun citrus finish that blends well with the vegetal notes of the green tea. So hard to describe, you should probably just try it.

This tea is available from Amoda Tea.

Learn more about subscribing to Amoda Tea here.

Taster’s Review:

It seems to me that most tea companies out there that offer flavored tea selections offer a ‘tropical’ flavored tea.  Some might offer a tropical flavored black tea, some might offer a tropical flavored white tea, and some might offer a tropical flavored green tea.  But it seems to be a very popular flavor profile.

And these tropical flavored teas may be a little different from one another.  They might have any flavor combination of coconut, pineapple, mango, papaya, banana or passion fruit – or other ‘tropical’ fruit.  The name ‘tropical’ leaves the door open very wide for interpretation.

But even though the base might be different and the fruit combination different, it seems to me that most of the tropical flavored teas that I’ve tried in the past (and I’ve sampled quite a few in my years as a tea reviewer!) … well, most of them blend together into a very abstract sort of painting that represents the many different tropical fruit flavored teas that I’ve tasted.  Not many of them really stand out as a memorable tropical fruit flavored tea, not many of them really step forward in my memory as one that is uniquely different from the crowd.

Until now.

This.  This Tropical Green tea from Octavia is deliciously different.  Uniquely different.  Memorably different!

It’s the grapefruit!  The grapefruit adds a really lovely note to this tea that is quite unlike any other tropical fruit flavored tea that I can remember.

The passion fruit and mango are two sweet fruit flavors and they are beautifully contrasted by the tart and slightly bitter notes of grapefruit.  The grapefruit adds a bright element to the cup that really perks up the flavors and keeps the tea from tasting like your average, every day tropical tea offering that you’ll find from other tea companies.

Not to say that those tropical teas are not tasty – I enjoyed most of what I tried.  But this one is on another level.  And the grapefruit has made all the difference.

I don’t taste much of a floral note from the rose, but that’s alright.  The rose can be there just to beautify the blend and make it visually interesting.  I’m alright with that.  Because the grapefruit makes this tea a delightful tasting tea that it doesn’t need anything else.  There is a tantalizing sweetness from the passion fruit and mango and there is appealing contrast from the grapefruit.  Perfection!

I’ve enjoyed the other teas that I’ve tried from January’s box from Amoda, but this tea elevated the box from really good to GREAT!  Have you subscribed to Amoda yet?  If not, why not?  What are you waiting for?

Provénce Rooibos Blend from The Secret Garden Tea Co.

ProvenceRooibosTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  The Secret Garden Tea Co.

Tea Description:

French lavender, rosebuds, and berries yield a sweet melange.

Ingredients: Rooibos, rosehip, elderberry, and blueberry pieces, lavender, rose petals, natural flavors.

Learn more about this blend here.

Taster’s Review:

This is a really lovely melody of flavors.  I like the way the floral notes of lavender and rose contrast with the earthy and nutty flavors of the rooibos and the sweet-tart berry notes of elderberry and blueberry.  It all comes together in a really pleasant way.

To brew this, I used my Breville One-Touch and added 3 bamboo scoops of leaf to the basket (I usually use a little more leaf with herbal tisanes) and 500ml of water to the kettle.  I set the temperature for 195°F (my go-to temperature for most rooibos or honeybush blends as well as other herbal tisanes), and the time for 10 minutes (again, my go-to steep time for rooibos or honeybush blends – except for tisanes with hibiscus in them).

The sip starts with floral notes of lavender and lighter notes of rose.  Almost immediately after I pick up on the lavender and rose, I start to notice the tart notes of elderberry and a hint of sweetness from the blueberry.  A moment later, I start to recognize the honeyed sweetness of the rooibos, followed by the nutty and earthy flavors.  The finish is sweet with fruit and flower tastes, with the floral notes lingering in the aftertaste along with that tingly berry tartness.

It’s a really enjoyable cup and it’s one that I’d recommend to those who feel that rooibos blends are one-note.  This one will change their mind.  There are some really wonderful layers of flavor to it.  The berry flavors as well as the sweet floral notes bring to mind thoughts of spring or summer and this would make a really nice warm weather blend (it’s really quite nice as it cools!) but because I am finding it to be a very calming blend, I think it’s just as appropriate a blend to have in the winter season because let’s face it, we could all use a little bit of calm during this busy holiday season!

Postal Rooibos Blend from Monarch Tea Co.

MonarchTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Rooibos

Where to Buy:  Monarch Tea Co. or Monarch Tea Co. on Etsy

Tea Description:

Warm and rich, perfect for dessert or just when you want that sweet fall moment to yourself.  

Ingredients:  Rooibos, caramel pieces, sunflower and calendula petals, chamomile blossoms, natural flavors.

Learn more about subscribing to Postal Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

This rooibos blend is a very finely chopped tisane!  It appears to be both red and green rooibos and they’ve been chopped into near dust particles, along with the petals and the chamomile.  Everything appears to have been pulverized to a near “powder like” consistency:  a very fine cut.

I brewed this in my Breville, measuring 2 bamboo scoops of the tisane into the basket of the tea maker and adding 500ml of water to the jug.  With most tisanes, I would use 3 bamboo scoops, but because of the fine chop on this, I decided that more than 2 would be too much.  The finer cut means that there is more surface area exposed and lots of flavor will be released and more loose leaf would result in too strong a brew.  I set the parameters for 195°F and 10 minutes and let the tea maker do the rest.

This is a tasty blend.  Not my favorite of the three teas that I received in my Postal Teas box for October, but I’m certainly not disappointed by it.

Because it’s a blend of both green and red rooibos, I find that the flavor is sweeter and slightly more fruity tasting rather than a strong, nutty flavor.  This fruity note accentuates the chamomile flavor which has a natural apple-like flavor.  There are hints of nutty flavors in the background which complement the caramel notes.  It is sweet, soothing and relaxing to sip.  It’s a light cup – both in taste and texture.

It has a pleasing, autumnal taste to it, making it just the right thing for the October box.  It’s cozy and would make a great tisane to sip late at night when you’re craving something a little bit sweet but nothing that is going to be too filling or overstimulating.

Organic Green Tea Pomegranate from Tea of Life

TeaofLifeTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Tea Description:

Organic green tea, organic pomegranate and organic rose petals with pomegranate flavor.

Learn more about Tea of Life and Amazon Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

I’m actually tasting more rose than pomegranate with this tea.  Kind of a surprise, but, it’s not a bad surprise.  I find the combination of flavors:  the floral notes of the rose, the sweet notes of the green tea and the sweet-tart notes of the pomegranate to be appealing.

The green tea has a nice buttery note to it that lends a creamy note to the cup, and I like the way this marries with the notes of fruit and flower.  The rose is a subtle flavor, but as I said before, it’s actually a bit stronger than the pomegranate, especially during the sip.  In the aftertaste is where I notice a real punch of pomegranate flavor.

Overall, this is an enjoyable cup of tea.  I appreciate that all the ingredients are organic.  It’s good as a hot tea (but do allow it a couple of minutes to cool as the flavors seem to benefit from some cool time), and it’s even better as an iced tea.  I cold-brewed the pyramid sachets and was pleasantly surprised at how refreshing the tea was.