Oliver Pluff & Company

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Recent Tasting Notes

Now we’re talking. Not artificial, no alcohol or chemical whang, just authentic smells-like-a-Hershey-bar chocolate. I’ve been nursing a cup for a couple hours now, bag in, warming up the water as needed (is that granny style instead of grandpa style if you use a filter but keep adding water?) and reveling in the scent. Flavor is starting to weaken, but I’m on my third? fourth? iteration. Take that, fakey-fake chocolate teas :)

ashmanra

Ashman was very impressed by this!

Martin Bednář

Wishlisted. And yep, maybe it is granny style :D

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A few days ago I received a handmade card in the mail and a sample of this tea from gmathis! I don’t deserve you, G! Thank you!

I saved it for Valentine’s Day because today is just all about chocolate to me. Yes, I know, love and such but also chocolate. I made myself a special little breakfast to have with this.

It is astonishing how chocolate-y the cup smells. With eyes closed, this could be a cup of super rich hot cocoa. I did not add milk or sugar. It did not need anything at all to dress it up. I would definitely love to purchase this someday.

The color of the steeped tisane is gorgeous, such clarity and a lovely color quite like a cup of black tea that steeps on the lighter side. The aroma, though, is what gets you. Sooooo good. I even saved a little for Ashman to try when he gets home.

ashmanra

I gave Ashman the bit I saved for him without telling him what it was. His eyes were huge after he sniffed the cup. He wouldn’t even sip it at first. He said, “You know how I tell you that chocolate in tea smells like mildew? You know? It does to me. It smells like mildew. But THIS smells like real chocolate!” He enjoyed it very much, so I think once a couple more sipdowns happen, I will splurge on a tin!

gmathis

Oliver Pluff has turned into one of my favorite purveyors.

ashmanra

There was a shop that carried some of their teas locally. I need to find out if they still do….

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85

Well I don’t usually like smoky teas, but I figured I should try this anyway. This is smoky and meaty, but maybe they chose a milder one to be enjoyable to a general tourist palate because I really don’t mind this as much as every smoky tea I’ve ever tried. Of course I diluted this heavily with milk and sugar, but I found this meaty in a comforting and not overbearing way at all. I liked it even more with almond milk. It was just so hearty.

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87
drank Congou by Oliver Pluff & Company
2356 tasting notes

This was hearty, meaty, and almost smoky. With milk and sugar, it was really pleasant. The meatiness passed after my first surprising sip. Then I tasted the pleasant, full bodied tea – a bit desserty, so rich and good. I considered buying some, but it was a little pricey, so I ultimately didn’t.

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77

This was super smooth without any bitterness. I’m actually not exactly sure how to describe it since it’s different from the teas I usually drink. There is a bit of an emptiness that I start to notice after a while. On my second and third cups of this, I enjoyed it more. It became desserty and almost biscuity.

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68

This tea was a bit more vegetal than I prefer. It was fun to try, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the Singlo. I was also mostly saving room for the black teas.

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75
drank Singlo by Oliver Pluff & Company
2356 tasting notes

I was in Boston recently, and I had to visit Abigail’s Tea Room, which was attached to the Boston Tea Party Museum. The museum tour was a little too expensive, but I spent a lovely hour in the tea room sampling the tea types thrown overboard during the Boston Tea Party. It was only $4 for an unlimited supply of the five teas, plus sugar and milk options. I drank way more tea than was reasonable, but it was really fun.

I’m not much of a plain green tea person, but I enjoyed this! It was served hot, which isn’t how I usually drink my green teas. Sweetened a little, it was pleasant, a little bitter, but mostly smooth.

ashmanra

Wow! That is an amazing price and sounds like a fun experience!

AJRimmer

It was such a delightful way to start the day! And there were actors in costume stopping in too!

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77

The cranberry in this one sneaks up on you. There is black tea in the background and a slightly sweet unknown berry flavor and then you realize this is what cranberry tastes like without all that added sugar. Thanks Gmathis for letting me try this one, its going on my list!

Flavors: Cranberry

gmathis

Isn’t it nice? My husband wants me to save enough to try some iced when the weather finally accommodates.

Michelle

I like unassuming teas that make you think, hmmmm this is pretty tasty :)

thereadersteacup

I keep seeing their teas on amazon, I think I may need to try a few. I always struggle to find good cranberry teas that don’t taste like cough syrup

gmathis

…or are so tart they make your eyes sweat!

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Says Oliver, since days of yore, elderberry was considered “capable of restoring good health, and an aid to longevity.” Not sure I need a longevity aid tonight…it’s chill-you-to-the-core icy outside, I spent a good deal of the day out and about, and I feel about a hundred and two.

However, this little sample included with an Oliver Pluff do-over order did a lovely job of thawing me out. The recommended steep time for the sachet is 5—10 minutes, what you’d expect for an herbal, but I just left it in the cup. As a result, mint was the first thing I noticed in the flavor lineup, but the berries added an interesting flavor note.

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Final answer after my sipdown cup: best chocolate mint blend I’ve ever tried.

ashmanra

Okay, I officially have to order this one but since I have a buying ban I will buy it for someone else and we will share a cup.

gmathis

I have the straight-up cacao as well…if it performs equally well, I’ll send you a cuppa.

ashmanra

Thank you! I was going to get it for someone but she isn’t sure she would like chocolate in tea, so whatever I get will just be for me, I guess!

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This turned out to be a really happy accident. Our friends at Oliver Pluff mislabeled or mis-filled and I ended up with Cacao Mint instead of just plain Cacao. (And here’s a shout-out to the Oliver Pluff order fulfillment folks, who cheerfully corrected the error when I reported it).

However…this is probably the best chocolate-mint blend I’ve enjoyed over the years, steeped long and strong. The cacao is the real thing—rich and thick, with enough mint to add a little zing without overshadowing the chocolate. Some with a little milk last night was pretty close to a liquid Andes mint.

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This was part of last fall’s anniversary surprise, and I left the mini-tin sealed until now. However, the label said just plain “cacao,” so when we opened and got a whiff of peppermint, I went to the website and confirmed that they do sell a mint version—just a labeling boo-boo. (I emailed the company to see if they would consider making good on what was originally ordered…results yet unknown.)

But, all that said, let’s talk cacao mint. Oliver Pluff has done well with the blend—crunched up the cacao enough that it steeps richly and smoothly. The mint is neither too mild nor too spicy to overshadow the cacao. Not what I expected, but in an unexpectedly pleasant way.

ashmanra

Now have some Junior Mints with it!

Shae

One day I’m going to make an order with Oliver Pluff. Their teas look really interesting and I like the history lesson that comes with each one.

gmathis

My care package contained Congou, Cranberry, Whiskey Rebellion, and this “oops” mint. The cacao part was evidently a favorite of Martha Washington.

gmathis

Oh, and Oliver Pluff is just fun to say aloud!

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When one works in the finance department of an academic institution, the day before Christmas break leaves one feeling like Bob Cratchitt, slaving away over the ledgers while everyone else has already departed to make merry. (Anyone who asks, “Are you off on the 22nd?” should be boiled in his own pudding ;)

Kidding.

But the mug beside me is a tribute to Cratchitts everywhere — a lapsang that leans to the lighter side, laced liberally with honey. Bracing without being overpowering. Poor Bob couldn’t have afforded anything overpowering.

Michelle

I hope there is more soothing tea in your future, along with a peaceful holiday break.

gmathis

Actually, a little P&Q allowed us to make some headway on January projects.

Tiffany :)

I love your tasting notes, so entertaining! :)

gmathis

Aw, thanks! I am unable to review anything objectively, consistently, or scientifically, so you get wonky and quirky instead.

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Been waiting for a rainy day to unleash this for the season. The scent is all lapsang, but there are some other things going on the background (oak and caramel, so the purveyor purports). To keep the smoke at bay, I added a little honey to my cup. That made a positive difference.

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Glum weather today. Rained all night and the sky stayed cold, thick, and heavy all day. This was appropriate. Wood smoke and a little fruit at the end. I added a teaspoon of mulling spice to the second steep, and that made it even cozier.

ashmanra

Glad you had a cozy and cozier tea! Clouds for days here, rain off and on, more rain tomorrow, but on Monday we are supposed to have sun and I intend to spread eagle on the grass and absorb it. Hope you see some sun soon!

gmathis

We had a few hours’ worth on Friday—every time I walked by a sunbeam in the window at work, I stopped and stretched like a cat.

Nattie

Ooh, mulling spice! That’s an idea!

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This one is really growing on me. I do keep it light on the steep time (3:30) to diffuse the smokiness, but there’s a caramelly-fruity underpinning that makes it really pleasant on a cold morning.

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As I was adding this to the library, I laughed at the “slight hints of smoke” notation in the purveyor’s description—when I opened the tin, I actually reared my head back at the Charge of the Smoke Fumes. (I can only imagine the Attack of Oliver Pluff’s Lapsang Brigade.)

However, liberated from captivity and steeped with a light hand, the smoke dissipates and the caramel and oak notes do make their presence known. It’s downright appropriate for the cool and cloudy weather today, and has the potential, with some additives (maple syrup?) to be bracing and comforting when winter comes to Valley Forge.

gmathis

Postscript: we have some bourbon barrel aged maple syrup. Perfect to beef up a second steep.

ashmanra

Wow, where does one find such maple syrup?

gmathis

Lucky break at Tuesday Morning about a year ago. Since then, the quality and variety of their foodstuffs has rocketed downhill.

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drank Cranberry by Oliver Pluff & Company
2929 tasting notes

I really like this mellow cranberry gem and have been experimenting with its summer potential. Conventionally steeped on ice, it’s very nice—authentic cranberry, but no nasty tartness.

Last night, I threw some random spoonfuls into a quart jar and left it unattended in the fridge overnight. This sloppy method results in a more bitter brew, but I don’t mind that with an iced tea. Steeped like this, it would be a better base for some Ocean Spray cranberry juice to make a juicy tea cooler.

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drank Cranberry by Oliver Pluff & Company
2929 tasting notes

I’ve been working my way through a 4-ounce tin of this cranberry tea since last fall, and though I haven’t written long odes to it, I could have. Any time I encounter a fruit tea that tastes like fruit and not hibiscus and battery acid, I’m thrilled. This qualifies. Black tea. Authentic cranberry. What else do you need?

Cameron B.

Ooh I might have to jot this one down to try later!

gmathis

I haven’t hit a clunker with Oliver Pluff yet.

ashmanra

Neat! I liked CuppaGeeks cranberry tea a couple of years ago. This sounds like a good one.

gmathis

CuppaGeek is greatly missed!

Michelle

I got my dad the colonial trio and the tea brick for Christmas, and he wanted to try the tea brick first. I spent a while shaving some off of the brick and then my dad put it in a vice and went at it with a hacksaw. That tea is tight! Literally you could build a house with it. And surprisingly it was not bitter. I will add it to the steepster database so I can log it.

gmathis

I can just envision the tool shop operation!

gmathis

Yes, that’s it!

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drank Cranberry by Oliver Pluff & Company
2929 tasting notes

Routine medical appt allowed me not to have to leave for work quite so early, so I had high hopes of tea on the veranda (ahem, cracked back patio slab) while watching the tomatoes grow. Grandpa used to do that in an old, stinky canvas-backed chair with a metal tumbler of iced sassafras tea and I thought it was weird. Now I get it.

This was in my tumbler, and I was able to enjoy it for three whole minutes before the bugs started using my feet and ankles for their breakfast buffet. However, it’s as tasty indoors as out — not a hint of artifice about it, no tart hibiscus to interfere with the “just plain cranberry.” Recommended for a good, no-frills summer sipper, either hot or cold.

ashmanra

So much I get now. Glad you had a peaceful morning!

gmathis

And four tomatoes by day’s end! They probably could have gone one more day, but I wanted to beat the caterpillar to them. (We had to uninvite one from the salad bar.)

ashmanra

Four! Wow! We have only picked one thus far, but we were just peeping at one in the dark to see if it might be Sunday lunch! We have to pick early before the squirrels and birds help themselves!

beerandbeancurd

Ah, gramps had it figured.

(And how… is it June already.)

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drank Cranberry by Oliver Pluff & Company
2929 tasting notes

Many, many years ago, when Snapple was just a baby niche market product, they had an unsweetened cranberry tea that my husband loved. The gold standard for all flavored tea as far as he was concerned—nothing has ever measured up properly. Bottled, oversweetened tea won’t do; neither will the chemical-and-hibiscus cocktails some try to pass off as genuine cranberry flavor.

As of this morning, we might have found a close substitute. It’s a beautiful tea replete with real cranberry shards and safflower petals. Wasn’t abusively, tongue-shriveling tart thanks to the safflower, and the fruit was genuinely fruity. Smells a little muffin-y in the cup. I have the leaves from our morning pot steeping in the fridge. We’ll see how it does cold.

gmathis

Follow-up: Absolutely refreshing cold!

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64

I bought this tea on the basis of it coming from the only American tea plantation: Oliver Pluff & Company, in Charleston, South Carolina. I was intrigued by their slogan “A leaf from America’s tea heritage”. I would like to know how they determined this to be like the tea drunk in Colonial America. Whence came the recipe(s) for curing the tea to produce this flavor? I don’t know, but here are my impressions, from my first two cups, today:

It seems a bit weak. I used three teaspoons, had the water to the suggested 195 degrees, and steeped it 4-1/2 minutes. I’m glad it’s not too strong, as it’s not bitter. There’s a subtle smokiness, much lighter than the Lapsang Souchongs I’ve experienced. It’s an all right cup of tea, but not as distinctive as I would have liked, considering its presumed heritage of “America’s” tea. Perhaps it’s simply that American soil is not the right place to grow tea. I shall try to use a bit more the next time I try it.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Fireplace, Smoke, Smooth, Tannic

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 30 sec 3 tsp 30 OZ / 887 ML

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25

A friend of mine went to Charleston and brought this tea back. I was excited to try it, but unfortunately, this wasn’t a favorite for me. The flavor is quite aggressive for a green tea, strongly herbaceous with mineral notes and an oddly metallic aftertaste. I’m still curious to try more from this company, but this isn’t one I’ll be drinking again.

Flavors: Herbaceous, Metallic, Mineral

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Martin Bednář

Oh well, I guess it was indeed bad :/

Mastress Alita

I remember taking this from a teabox once and I wasn’t a fan, either. It tasted like a tobacco ashtray, which is pretty much my most disliked flavor note in a tea.

gmathis

Bummer. I have had one black and one green variety from Oliver Pluff and the black was far better.

Inkling

Guess I’ll have to go for a black tea next time!

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