Oliver Pluff & CompanyEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Sampler Sipdown September! This is another tea I pulled from the last Here’s Hoping Teabox, so thanks to tea-sipper for organizing and those who contributed to the box!
I’ve never tried a Young Hyson (that wasn’t in a blend), and I’m going to try not to judge all Young Hyson tea based on this one, because… it smells odd. The brewed cup has a slightly musty sort of scent? Also a little of that smoky aroma, but that I’m at least used to, from gunpowder green, and the Azerbaijan Azercay green I sampled the other night.
The flavor is really unappealing to me, like something fermented (I’d say pickle brine, though not as acidic/tart), with a flavor that I can only equate to “musty attic,” and a slightly smoky finish. I’m getting a bit of a metallic aftertaste as well. There is possibly some mild grassiness there, but the “off” flavors detract from it too much. I can’t imagine it used to be like this, so I’m thinking that this is a case of green tea well past its prime; pure greens don’t exactly age gracefully. If that isn’t the case, then my palate is just picking out some rather odd flavors here that aren’t working for me.
Flavors: Dill, Dry Grass, Metallic, Musty, Smoke
The best cups of tea I have ever had have not been determined by tea variety, but by circumstances—cups that signify the end of a traumatic event because I am home and safe and warm.
I had one those “best cups ever” yesterday after watching my dad pass away. He was warm and comfortable, unhooked from the monitors and machines that had been troubling him, and his kids were there to say goodbye. Arrived in Heaven just in time for morning coffee (he wasn’t a tea guy).
I drove four hours home (it’s hard to merge onto an interstate while you’re weepy; don’t try it yourself) and collapsed with a cup of this Congou. It is excellent, whether you’re in the throes of tragedy or not…as I posted this, I noticed the “dried baked apples” description—I’ll have to pay more attention, but maybe that’s the thing that was making me think, “Something about this is really distinctive.”
I believe I’ll have me another one this afternoon as I bolster myself for a week of funeral plans and bustle and remember how my dad mistrusted restaurants that didn’t have hat racks, loved polka music, bought odd-duck grocery items in crazy bulk quantities, taught me to be 15 minutes early for any occasion, always advised that “it’s just as easy to fill the top half of a gas tank as it is the bottom half,” and what he said to me just before he escorted me down the aisle at my wedding: “Don’t walk too fast.”
Savor whatever’s in your cup today.
Very pleasant aroma from the dry leaves. The finish is lightly astringent but not bitter, which I appreciate. A very mellow Darjeeling. I poured the boiling water directly over the leaves. Since I only had the 1oz sampler, I didn’t do much experimenting.
Since Oliver Pluff and Company packages its teas in my state, South Carolina, I’ve begun trying out their selections to see if I want to make a steady diet of them. Their containers are extremely similar to those sold by The Republic of Tea. Both companies just might be using the same supplier.
As is my habit with any Earl Grey that I am about to brew, I opened the lid and immediately stuck my nose near the opening to breathe in the bergamot amongst the long dark tea leaves. The promotional information on the can seems to imply that the actual fruit is somehow infused into the tea. However, the Oliver Pluff website (http://www.oliverpluff.com/earl-grey-tea-loose-tea-in-signature-tea-tin/) states that the oil of the fruit is utilized. In any event, the smell was pretty recognizable as bergamot in its unsteeped state.
I brewed my first cup at 212 degrees for six minutes. Boiling water is my standard treatment for teas in this category. The six minutes were an accident. I usually steep black teas for five, but someone in my office had the nerve to ask me a work-related question, and I lost track of the time. The Pluffster recommends 195 degrees for three to five minutes. The finished product was dark brown, like molasses. The odor had a sweet aura but I could not locate the bergamot.
My first cup tasted completely like black tea with only a hazy fruit (of some kind) note in a place far, far, away. There also was a bitter twinge to the flavor. In all honesty, this could be my fault due to the hotter than recommended brewing temperature and exaggerated brewing time.
In the interest of fairness, I cleaned out my infuser and started from scratch with another cup. This time I followed the container’s instructions to the letter. I brewed the leaves for five minutes at about 195 degrees.
In my second cuppa, the bitterness I experienced in the first one disappeared. The tea flavor was definitely more pleasant but my taste buds still had to put out an all points bulletin for the bergamot. The aftertaste was mild but it would have been more memorable if the advertised bergamot hadn’t been missing in action.
To summarize my final analysis after two differently infused cups of the brew, it wouldn’t have been a bad morning black tea if that was what I purchased. However, I laid my money down for an Earl Grey tea, and I wanted bergamot, doggone it! So, this selection was disappointing, lacking, and came up short.
Okay this is a tea I never would have tried if it didnt come in something like the traveling tea box.
This tea is interesting, and its not nearly as strong as a lapsang souchong tea, its much more mellow with the smoke , letting the natural malty sweetness of the base black tea shine though.
The liquor is clear reddish brown, and very aromatic. The flavors are pretty expected, smoke is still the primary flavor, then malt, sweet, chocolate, maybe some dark fruit. The flavors you would expect from a high quality black tea. The thing I really like is the base tea flavor still plays an important role rather than just getting hammered with smoke like lapsang souchong often does.
Im not sure this is listed under the correct tea, since it says for the botson tea party museum , but it is Oliver Pluff and company Bohea.
I have to say, this impressed me..
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt, Smoked, Sweet
My favorite “treat” tea is Upton Tea Import’s Lapsan Souchong Black Dragon. But I always felt like it wasn’t a “daily tea.” This much more mellow yet still smoky tea is perfect for me: it has the smoke to begin with, it remains flavorful throughout my entire day, and ends on a gently sweet note.
Two things to note: I fill my filter almost 2/3 full to make it through the day. I noticed that when I added more leafs, I gained more end sweetness. It could just be my crazy taste buds. ALSO this may be the absolute perfect daily tea because it handles oversteeping like a pro. I tend to forget my tea’s steeping at work. Leaving it steeping for up to a half hour is more common than not. It still tastes awesome and not bitter. Yay!
This tea is from the gift shop at Biltmore Village in Asheville, NC. I didn’t really expect much from a ‘gift shop’ tea. I was pleasantly surprised by this tea. It has a nice orange pekoe base with blackberry leaves and fruit. The scent is blueberry but not over the top. I like flavored teas but have gotten tired of some of the really artificial tasting flavorings. This one works for me.
The tin has 3 oz. and I think I’ll share some with my daughters and then I’ll be able to drink it up over the next few months. It seems like a nice everyday kind of tea. Not terribly exciting but seems like it’ll be a nice consistent.
I’ve had a tough time on vacations buying too much tea, so I’m really proud of buying only 1 tin of tea. 2 years ago I brought 27 kinds of tea… some were individual tea bags but still 27! Last year I spent $95 at one tea shop. So yeah for restraint! :)
I have made this three times now and can’t believe I don’t like it. My very first tea swap was with TeaEqualsBliss and she included a Bohea. Back in the day, I found it to be a strong tea, but my tea palate has grown up a lot and now I like smoke. I also want the smoke to have a nice base.
This tastes like thin, watered down tea with a tiny bit of smoke. I tried adding a hint of maple syrup for flavor at breakfast even though I never add sweetener to my teas, but that made little difference. I just saw a review, however, that says two tsps. per cup is the sweet spot, so I will try that before chucking this tea out or sending it to a home where it will be loved.
So, finally! After trying a sad attempt at a true Colonial Bohea (The Spice & Tea Exchange), I have a feeling this is the tea that may have started a Revolution.
It took me two brews to find the sweet spot. Wow! Aromatic, rich, malty, fruity, and slightly smoky.
Flavors: Fruity, Malt, Smoke
It’s strong, malty, smooth, with a wonderful thick taste. I think this would definitely be good for multiple steeps, but I am still learning about multiple steeping. It brewed up to a nice rich brown that smelled amazing. It is a CTC tea that is absolutely beautiful in the tin. I may have over steeped… But I truly enjoyed the tea. There’s no bitterness or astringency to be found. Overall a really great morning tea.
I was also very impressed with the packaging Oliver Pluff & Company provided. What a great quality!
I have no idea why I can’t get a photo of this tea to show up. It’s mildly infuriating.
Anyway, I bought this bagged, in a sachet big enough to make a gallon. Of course, I didn’t want a gallon at a time since I’ll probably be the only one drinking it. My husband and brother both don’t like fruity tea. So, I opened up the bag and took a few teaspoons to make a single glass, and put the rest in a little Mason jar for later.
The fragrance is lovely. Sweet, soft raspberry with a hint of black tea. There’s also a note of rose in the aroma. The leaves, being bagged and all, are ground almost as fine as coffee. They slip right through the holes in my infuser. Great. Now I’m gonna have gritty tea if I’m not careful. As it steeps, the water gets really dark. It comes up to a deep reddish amber. Maybe a little too red to be natural…
The flavor, though, is surprisingly tasty. I’m not getting any rose, but the raspberry flavor is very upfront and nice. Perfect for a cool spring evening. It isn’t tart at all, and the black tea is smooth. Without bitterness. It sort of reminds me of raspberry candy, or maybe raspberry jam. Anyway, this isn’t bad. I’m glad I finally got around to it. It’ll most likely be my wake-up tea tomorrow morning, too.
Flavors: Berries, Flowers
Reviewing this tea, I am resolved to get my cupboard under control. (How many times have we all said that?)
I was looking for something to share with hubby for breakfast, as he took the day off for our anniversary but we ended up having to wait for the internet guy and I ended up teaching in the afternoon because of people who rescheduled due to Hurricane Michael. Hubby likes black tea with milk and sugar but he prefers to avoid sugar where he can since he is not giving up cookies AT ALL, so since he likes all other types of tea sans additions, we tend to drink everything BUT black tea together.
I made this oolong to go with our everything bagels and holy cow I see that I have had it for four years. That is too long, although the tea was fine and some oolongs age very well indeed. It is that old because I have entirely too much tea. Yes, I have given away tea, by the boxful, I have shared tea, I have invited people over and had tea flights and sent samples home with EVERYONE who will take some.
And yet even while I was horrified to see how old this is, and how much tea I had to dig through to find it, my main thought was…gee, I really need to order some more Da Hong Pao.
This tea was good, but it doesn’t hold a candle to a great DHP or TGY.
I think it is time to start working on that desert island list. My cupboard only lists tea that I bought large amounts of, and does not include small samples or swaps. So whatever you see in my cupboard, add about forty or fifty teas to that at the very least. I have a container of samples packed to send to my daughter at college so she and her buddies can root through it and try lots of different things, but there needs to be a huge overhaul of my entire system here.
One mistake I made was buying a large quantity of anything I liked a lot, usually because the more you buy, the more you save. Henceforth I think I will purchase much smaller amounts and enjoy them while they are at their freshest and best.
I could have sworn at first that this was a Formosa Oolong, but the company website says it is from Fujian. The smell of the dry leaves even reminded me strongly of Formosa oolong, but the steeped tea did not. This is not a green oolong but not a heavily roasted one either.
We used my small gong fu pot and my daughter was suitably impressed with the magnificent expansion of the leaves from little rolled pellets to a pot more than half filled with unfurled leaves.
We made several steeps. The second steep came out a bit strong but was good with our snacks. It would have been too strong standing alone, so next time I will cut my steep time just a bit. I gave the first steep 4 minutes and the second was untimed, but I am guessing it was about the same.
This is lightly roasted, a little nutty, a little sweet.
This is another tea I picked up when Taste went out of business. I couldn’t resist. I’m getting to it now because I’ve caught a cold. Sigh.
Again, this is packaged in a white envelope with some cool art on it, but it’s basically just sealed in a ziplock bag on the inside. This packaging was made for Taste, though… if you were to order it from Pluff’s website, it would come in a nice tin.
The dry leaf smells nice, but not out of the ordinary. Tangy and pepperminty. It brews up to a medium tan and smells much better. Still a little tart in the scent. The resulting tea is soothing and light-bodied, leaving a cool sensation in my mouth. It’s making me feel a little better, at least. All around this is a nice peppermint tea. Not spectacular, but you can taste that the leaves they used are quality.
Flavors: Mint, Peppermint
A local kitchenware boutique, Taste, went out of business recently. I saw that they were having their final clearance sale, and couldn’t resist cleaning out their tea section. This was the first thing I picked up. I took all three remaining envelopes, mostly for the picture of the moose. And because of chai, of course.
Sadly, though, I’m pretty disappointed with it. First of all, inside the pretty paper envelope with the old-timey art, there’s just a ziplock of tea. Seriously, just a clear plastic baggy.
The mix looks nice enough. A few cardamom pods, lots of cinnamon, bits of ginger root, mixed into a lower-quality black tea. Pretty standard. It smells alright, sort of weak on the ginger and no real cardamom scent. It’s mostly just cinnamon. The flavor is even more disappointing. The spices aren’t very potent, and there’s some sort of weird earthy flavor. Like they mixed a little bit of dirt or something into it. Or maybe it’s just really stale. Who knows how long it sat on a shelf until I bought it? Either way, I’m glad I used it all up so I can move on to something better.
We went on a little getaway trip to Asheville for the past couple of days. It’s hard dating someone who’s family is 12+ hours away, since it means that holidays are always stressful figuring out who’s going or staying where. We usually switch for Thanksgiving and New Years, but Christmas is always spent apart with each of our own families. So this year we decided to go to Asheville for a little trip to spend some quality time together before the boy heads to St. Louis. We love Asheville and had plenty on our to-do list, which included the Biltmore Estate. I had been plenty of times in school, but Gary had never been, and it is decorated beautifully at Christmas time. We spent a nice, relaxing part of the day browsing around the house and gardens and then went to the little winery on the estate and had lunch and sampled some wines. I saw that they have their own tea that they sell in the little shops on the estate, by Oliver Pluff & Company. When I saw this one, the only other choice in that particular shop was Earl Grey. Later in the day, in other shops I saw a Southern Mint blend and a Blackberry black tea. This is a pretty good tea. It has that deep, malty flavor with just a little sweetness that I love! Glad I picked this one up, and every time I drink a cup of it it will remind me of our Christmas trip to the Biltmore Estate. :)
-Dry blend has large black tea leaves and twigs.
-Dry leaves smell malty and musty. Tea liquor aroma is sweet and malty.
-Tea liquor is a clear dark reddish orange color.
-Robust flavor and finish. Rich malty aftertaste with a hint of sweetness.
-Best with milk and sweetener.
-Very good tea. Deep malty flavor that is a perfect cup with milk and sugar.
It is a Bohea morning!
Loving the smokey notes in this one. I still can’t get over how big some of the leaves are. I did end up transferring to a tin, just because I have my doubts about the packaging over the long haul. Definitely an enjoyable tea, even if it is from a touristy source. I feel so colonial!
Usual teapot method.
I did find a downside for me and smokey teas….I am sitting here with a little general morning congestion and I keep getting a whiff of something smokey. Then I have the sudden urge to figure out what is burning when it is just my tea!
Tea of the morning…..
We have been on a short vacation. We spent a few days in the area of Williamsburg, VA. It was nice to get away, and it looks like our construction is mostly done except for the painting we need to finish ourselves. It has been a great face lift for our house, even though it was necessitated by minor storm damage. Next up is a new a/c system. Yes, definitely first world problems. However, I do feel blessed that we can fix what needs fixing at this point, and the only real issue is the inconvenience. Yes, we are blessed.
Tea by Oliver Pluff seems to be teas that are offered at many touristy type period general stores. This particular listing is sold at Charleston, mine was sold at the Prentiss Shop in Williamsburg. They had a few other types of tea like Young Hyson, Earl Grey, Pinhead Gunpowder, Darjeeling, Oolong, English Breakfast. They come in a heavy zip baggie inside an envelope. I paid about $9 for 1/4 lb of this Bohea. The ingredients are Orange Pekoe and Lapsang Souchong. I figured it would be a nice, lightly smokey tea. I will eventually sample a more expensive Bohea, but this just sounded good. It is pretty much what I expected. I am amazed at how large the leaves are. For a tourist vendor tea, this is actually pretty nice. Lightly smokey, decent quality black teas. I did see that Oliver Pluff has a website and the prices are a little more reasonable there (really, I would expect that.) Would I buy it again? Probably not, but only because I will likely mix my own out of the two teas mentioned in the ingredients. I will enjoy this to the end, though!
Usual teapot method.