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Recent Tasting Notes
Day 10 of the Plum Deluxe herbal advent calendar. Not sure I’m getting the “cookie” part of this, per se, but definitely getting the candy cane. Which is surprising, because Plum Deluxe is really really skilled at landing the cookie flavor. I don’t know if it’s the candy cane note interfering? The front of the sip is soft vanilla. The peppermint comes sliding in mid-sip and leaves a lingering menthol quality on the breath long after. But for the second time today I’m having trouble making out a cocoa note despite there being actual cocoa peel in this blend. My brain just doesn’t really know how to identify this tea other than “gentle creamy mint on a pleasant but undefinable base.” I made the second packet as an oat milk latte. This got it a little closer to “cookie” but softened the mint to a whisper, noticeable mostly in the cooling sensation at the end of the sip and after. This might be the first time I’ve had a cookie tea from Plum Deluxe that I haven’t absolutely loved, sadly. I think the balance is just a bit off for me today.
Adventageddon Day 10 – Tea 4/4
Definitely a “middle of the road” sort of tea for me from Plum Deluxe by which I mean there was just enough I liked and just enough I didn’t like for it to even out into something really neutral. Loved the brisk, full bodied black tea base and I’m always a fan of a hazelnut flavour not accompanied by chocolate. I especially thought the light touch of rooibos helped give some foundation for those nuttier notes.
The orange was strange with the hazelnut. Those two flavours definitely don’t go together in my opinion. It was just sort of distracting as I was drinking it. Everything was also really, really even in terms of where the flavours hit on the palate. It gave off this sort of vibe that the tea was flatter and duller than I think it actually was. I don’t know if that makes sense written out (I am exhausted) but that’s what it was like when drinking it…
Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0sEWVnuQOF/?img_index=1
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDYHWmUCiPQ
Day 9 of the Plum Deluxe herbal advent. Love both the chamomile flowers in here and the surprisingly juicy peach aroma. The dry leaf smells more apple-y, but the brewed tea smells distinctly peachy. Unfortunately, there’s an earthy quality to this particular chamomile that doesn’t play nice with the sweet, juicy, almost candy-like peach. The flavors just clash with each other. Not a winner for me.
Day 3 of the Plum Deluxe Hanukkah sampler. This smells and tastes incredible, which is a bit of a bummer because I couldn’t finish it due to a sensitive stomach. But it’s a really great balance of maple, sweet apple, and gentle cinnamon on a malty base. With some oat milk, this made for a phenomenal latte.
Day 2 of the Plum Deluxe Hanukkah sampler. Between the TTB and this blend, I’ve had more pear teas in the past couple of months than I’ve probably had in a few years. Yet somehow I keep expecting them not to be very good! Thankfully I have been repeatedly proven wrong. Both the aroma and the flavor are dead on for a nice combo of sweet apple and pear. The base is just sort of inoffensively there – really it just exists as a canvas for the fruit flavors to shine on.
Happy Hanukkah! Catching up on tasting notes after being sick for a few days. I liked Plum Deluxe’s Hanukkah sampler enough last year that I got it again this year. They’ve definitely upped their packaging game – not as nice as the advent calendar but nicer than last year’s sampler. There’s no numbered envelopes so I am just going in order of how they are packed in the box. This kind of black tea/black tea blend often messes with my stomach, so I only taste tested it but my partner drank the rest. I went with an overnight cold brew hoping that it might cut down on the tannic quality but no such luck, or at least not enough of it. It’s still very tannic and brisk. The lemon does complement those qualities well, and for a tea called “fog cutter” I can see why. But also – no. This flavor profile is just so thoroughly not my speed. I don’t want to feel like I’m fighting with my tea. I couldn’t even tell you whether the tea/blend is good relative to its peer group or not, because this kind of black tea is just so not what I personally enjoy that I’m entirely out of my depth.
ETA: My partner, who primarily drinks black tea when he drinks tea at all, added a bit of sugar to this and reported that it’s actually quite enjoyable. So take that for whatever it’s worth.
Day 7 of the Plum Deluxe herbal advent. The dry leaf smells candy-sweet, which had me worried that the brew would be overly sugary. Thankfully, it’s just the right level of sweet. There’s a bunch of fruit in here (apple, mango, apricot, etc.), but all I can taste is pineapple. Maybe apricot if I’m reaching. I’m perfectly happy with that, because this is just a nice, juicy refresher. I’m sticking the rest in the fridge and going to make a tea soda with it!
Adventageddon Day 9 – Tea 2/4
Steeped up both packs of today’s tea as a nice, big Western pot that I could drink while watching up on the Doctor Who 60th Anniversay special episodes.
For only nine days in I feel like the amount of stone fruit flavoured teas has been quite high, though that’s certainly not a complaint. Maybe it feels higher because there’s been a lot of stone fruit jams too (some of the best ones so far, IMO). What I found funny about this one was that even though it’s mango and apricot it just tasted so dang peachy to me. Like the peach ring gummy candies but without the malic acid.I did think this was a bit bitter rough on the back end of the sip. Just a smidge bitter and astringency with a more noticable cooked leafy greesn/vegetal note. Not my favourite thing in the world. Kind of a reminder of why I don’t love green teas. So a bit of a “mixed” impression of this one overall.
Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0pgjjIuitc/?img_index=1
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rizcm_Q4l2U
Adventaggedon Day 8 – Tea 4/4
This was pretty good and, honestly, the second day in a row that a lavender blend came in clutch for me during a particularly stressful afternoon. It was interesting doing it on a back to back day with another fruit and lavender tea (the Fortnum one). Obviously there’s differences in tea base and fruit flavours – in this case more in that “red berry” sort of vein with a little bit of a more distinct pomegranate flavour. Even still, this is the one I would have expected to like more since I have many other berry and lavender teas that I enjoy a great deal. However, I do think I enjoyed the brighter, juicier flavour of the apricot and lavender combo more than this… Which surprises me!
Now, let’s be clear – this is still 100% a tea profile that I can very much get on board with and would totally purchase for myself. It wasn’t overly floral/perfumey tasting nor was it too sweet, and the earthy full bodied density of the pu’erh was such a good anchor for the jammier forest berry notes – with the lavender as this lighter, aromatic element. There was a lot of dimension to the cup overall! So, another win from Plum Deluxe!
Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0m_Wc4uXps/?img_index=1
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0qm88fIL8k
Adventageddon Day 7 – Tea 2/4(ish)
Decided to cold brew this one and then add a little milk after it had been strained for a loose “iced latte” sort of vibe. I figured a caramel chai would taste really nice that way. Thing is that even though this Chai didn’t taste bad it was sort of weird. The strongest spice was absolutely the ginger, with the rest just kind of creating a muddled “background spice” without as much clarity. The caramel was there, but not as strong/rich as I’d expected and it had a slight fruity undertone to it that I don’t think was helped by the presence of orange in the blend. All together it created something just sort of “off beat” where none of the flavours totally clicked and, if fact, it almost at times tasted a bit cola-like.
Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0kaEKuO5Du/?img_index=1
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6Zq_9Guvz4
Adventageddon Day 6 – Tea 1/4
Unfortunately this one was a big miss for me – I thought it was just too dang ginger heavy and there was something about the maple flavour that was really artificial tasting to me. Like a bad off-brand table syrup. I think, generally speaking, I find more success with Plum Deluxe’s fruitier blends.
Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0hzetzu5km/?img_index=1
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_FxmwicbBY
Day 6 of the Plum Deluxe herbal advent calendar. I barely got it together to even open this but I’m glad I did. My migraine tea catalog leans heavily on ginger and mint, and this blend is green rooibos, holy basil, and peppermint. Also relieved it’s not a more cookie/cake/chocolate-leaning dessert blend – I’m just too nauseous for that. So already a win straight out of the gate. I did add a little bit of honey since I should be able to tolerate it and they suggested adding sugar.
Oddly, I’m not sure I’ve had a tulsi/peppermint blend before. Definitely tulsi/ginger and tulsi/rose, but not tulsi/peppermint. I’m into it. The two play really nicely together. The tulsi softens the menthol quality of the peppermint, while the peppermint adds a perkiness to the more savory, earthy quality of the tulsi. There’s a beautiful lingering aftertaste, like a gentle peppermint candy – those puffy little soft ones. I’m sure the honey is adding to that experience. I assume the green rooibos is doing… something? here, I’m just not sure what because I can’t make it out. Which is fine, this is still a very enjoyable blend.
Day 5 of the Plum Deluxe herbal advent calendar. I made this up as a latte without looking at the name or ingredients, since I’ve been having fun doing that. It’s frickin’ delicious, but my initial impressions turned out to be completely off base! I found it deeply chocolatey, undefinably nutty, and gently woody from the honeybush. Except there’s no chocolate here, the nuttiness is hazelnut, and there are orange peels that I just didn’t pick up on. Generally really pleased with this one, though, which is good because I picked some up for my dad as part of his Hannukah gift based on just the description!
Day 4 of the Plum Deluxe herbal advent calendar. I decided not to check the name but I didn’t need to – there was an unmistakable apple cinnamon aroma as soon as I opened the little plastic packet. I was a little nervous to see that this was a black tea, but I took it on faith that it’s a decaf and will take some extra melatonin tonight just in case. This is crisp red apple and sharp cinnamon playing wonderfully together over a pretty basic black tea base. It’s a little brisk, a little tannic, and more drying than I generally like my teas to be. I would have sworn that there was clove in here but the ingredients list says that my palate is lying. Since I don’t have any cream as they suggest, I drank half the mug plain and added oat milk to the second half. It actually works really well with oat milk! It softens the tannic aspect and makes it much less drying. The clove note also fades with the addition of oat milk, so my best guess is that I was picking up on some flavor aspect of the base.
Adventageddon Day 4 – Tea 4/4
Yes, we’re back to cold brewing Plum Deluxe blends – but damn this one was a banger cold brew! I have another tea in my assortment on a shou pu’erh backed called “Cuban Highball” which is lime and mint. These two blends aren’t identical, but they are similar. Bright lime top notes with a surprisingly sweet mint finish – not so much cooling/menthol heavy. Overall the tea reads very, very mojito-like. Quite refreshing, and just another really solid and well balanced offering from Plum Deluxe.
I would buy this again.
Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0cpM5NuW5Z/?img_index=1
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xHrBwa6VMA
AJRimmer Advent Day 1
I am loving the sweet advent calendar AJRimmer put together for me this year! The little packets are super cute and she put in a handwritten note each day sharing her thoughts on the tea and why she chose it. Such a fun way to start my morning!
On to this particular tea: There is a a LOT going on in this blend, but apparently the main flavors were supposed to be pineapple and bergamot. Honestly, I didn’t get much of either. The lemongrass came through most strongly with a bit of generic fruity flavor lingering in the background. Pleasant enough, but not really what was promised by the name/description.
Flavors: Fruity, Lemongrass
Day 3 of the Plum Deluxe herbal advent. I decided to brew this up without looking at the name, which was kind of fun! Might do that for more of the blends in this calendar. This smells and tastes strongly of chicory and hazelnut to me, reminding me a bit of the Honeyed Hazelnut from last year’s advent. Turns out there’s no chicory in the blend. Honestly I had not picked up on the cocoa being in here until I actually looked at the name/ingredients. My palate must be confusing the cocoa for chicory for some reason. Despite my failure to correctly identify the blend, it’s really tasty and enjoyable! Makes a darn fine oat milk latte.
Adventageddon Day 3 – Tea 2/4
As promised yesterday I didn’t end up cold brewing this one. Instead I steeped up one of the two servings with a small splash of milk and enjoyed the tea with some gingerbread sugar cookies to dunk into them. I didn’t really taste the cardamom at all or even really see it in the dry leaf. Instead this was very, very smooth and just a little bit vanilla-like. Honestly, though, a little bit bland? It was good dunking tea, but sort of sad for a vanilla tea and just not my favourite thing I’ve tried from Plum Deluxe.
Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0aC3COOTwI/?img_index=1
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olxdCY7hHEw
Day 2 of the Plum Deluxe herbal advent calendar. The instructions suggested cold brewing this one, so I set it up this morning in order to be able to enjoy it as an evening cuppa. The dry leaf has a creamy, almost vanilla frosting smell that, combined with the visible carrot pieces, made me think that this was a carrot cake blend at first (the packets aren’t labeled with the names of the teas). Actually drinking it, though, it definitely has a candy apple flavor – sweet apple up front, a hint of caramel mid-sip, and a candied orange peel note running parallel. It’s a bit of an odd flavor profile for an iced tea; it works, it’s just a combo I’d more readily associate with a hot beverage.
I really like that there’s enough tea every day to try it out a few different ways, but not SO much that it’s overwhelming and hard to get through. It allowed me to brew up a big mug of this blend hot for comparison. It was still good, with the same candy apple and candied orange peel flavors, but there’s also an earthy note – maybe from the calendula? It’s not bad, it doesn’t really add or detract from the flavor profile, it’s just… there. I can see why they recommend the cold brew, it really is better that way!
Flavors: Apple, Candied Fruit, Caramel
Day 1 of the Plum Deluxe herbal advent calendar. I enjoyed this advent so much last year that I’m doing it again. They’ve upped their game aesthetically this year, using higher quality individual envelopes for each day and a very pretty tin for the whole thing. Unfortunately they’re still using the plastic bags that drove me nuts last year because leaf would get stuck in them so frequently; maybe I’ll get lucky and they will be less staticky this year.
This year’s advent is off to a somewhat unremarkable start. The blend has a lot of butterfly pea flower, which I’m not generally fond of as a gimmick unless it’s making a lemonade blend/actual lemonade turn purple. Hot, this blend mostly tastes like hibiscus, backed by a sort of generic tart berry note. It’s more interesting when it cools, when the hibiscus tones down a bit and strawberry and apple notes become clearer and more prominent. I finished this off easily enough but I wouldn’t necessarily seek it out. And I still have high hopes for the rest of the month!
Adventageddon Day 2 – Tea 3/4
It looks like this tea is very similar to another Plum Deluxe blend, but there are a few extra ingredients in this one. I wonder if that means this is a holiday version of that tea? Or an updated recipe? I’m very intrigued.
I’ll try not to do a cold brew with my Plum Deluxe tea tomorrow to switch things up a bit, but I saw this one today and it really was too perfect a flavour to not make that way. Definitely my favourite of the day – and by quite a bit. It was just so rich and flavourful. Like a sweet melted cherry popsicle but with just enough of a hint of plum to make it feel more festive! For sure makes me want to do a deep dive to see if Plum Deluxe has another other cherry blends using the same/similar flavouring.
Today’s Advent Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0Xf_rYOG6Y/?img_index=1
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xes_rKezIB4
Adventageddon Day 1 – Tea 4/4
One of the somewhat more personally challenging parts of advents for me is that I usually have a daily 24 oz cold brew. Just with the nature of opening the teas up in the morning and many of them being sizes too small to make that large of a quantity of cold brew I never know if I’ll have a good cold brew during the day.
Thankfully the Plum Deluxe advent has two servings in each day that equal the perfect amount of tea for a cold brew when combined. I think that may mean many of the teas they include this year are gonna get cold brewed first thing each morning for me to drink during the afternoon. At least if the flavours make sense each day, like this one.
I enjoyed this a lot though! More than I expected to given that it’s a majority green tea blend with just a straight up orange flavour to it. It was very smooth though, and I thought the orange was really nice and fresh and bright tasting. Despite being called Candied orange I didn’t personally think it was a terribly sweet tea and definitely, at least to me, not a very artificial or candy-type of orange flavour. It was a bit more marmalade like, as I see Cameron said in a review from a previous year. But also sort of a fresher and more zesty orange note that kind of mirrored the smell of essential oils that mist the air when you break the skin of a ripe orange while peeling it.