BROOKFIELD, Conn. -- When the Bronte sisters were relaxing in their family's orchards in Yorkshire, England, in the early 1800s, they may have enjoyed a cup of tea made of a blend of pear and apple with gooseberry flavors.
The Bronte Sisters' choice of tea is part of Simpson & Vail's Literary Tea Collection, which is the newest line of teas created by the 87-year-old business in Brookfield.
Simpson & Vail sells over 350 teas, including black, green, oolong, caffeine-free, flavored, flowering and white, which are imported from all over the world.
The business, owned by brother-and-sister Jim Harron Jr. and Cyndi Harron, has been in the family since 1978, when their father purchased it from the Vail family.
The Literary Tea Collection was co-created by Cyndi Harron and employee Connor Lofink. Aside from the Bronte Sisters' Black Tea Blend, the collection pairs 10 famous writers, such as Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll and Walt Whitman, with a specific tea. Each tea was created with the specific author in mind and each is inspired by the authors' works and lives.
According to Jim Harron Jr., 52, what makes Simpson & Vail unique is that it does its own blending and flavoring -- on site in the company's warehouse. "The tea comes to us in 100 pound bags. We break it down and use it for straight tea and for blending.
"Blending involves taking tea, flowers and liquid flavors and putting everything in a bin or blending machine," he said.
One bestselling tea blend is Winter Wonderland, which is made from a blend of green rooibos with cacao and cinnamon pieces, and flavored with Bavarian chocolate, cinnamon and hazelnut.
In addition to tea, the business also sells coffee, as well as teapots, cozies, tea bag filters, honey, scones and an assortment of other tea- and coffee-related accessories.
Jim Harron said his customers span three generations. "There has been an influx of college kids purchasing tea," he said.
Contact Simpson & Vail at 203-775-0240 or by clicking here. Simpson & Vail is located at 3 Quarry Road in Brookfield.