Cacao Shell Trio from Oliver Pluff. . . . .

The Oliver Pluff tea company focuses on colonial-styled teas, like those leaves thrown into Boston Harbor during the Boston Tea party.  But is also has a variety of other products like mulling spices, pressed tea cakes, and more. Being both an American history-lover and a tea-fanatic, I’ve had my eye on Oliver Pluff products for a little while, and this post-holiday shopping season seemed like the time to give them a try.

I ordered the Cacao Shell Trio from Oliver Pluff and it arrived promptly at my doorstep. The tins were as sleek and stylish as they appeared online, with nicely embossed, heavy paper labels, and dark metal lids.  Careful when opening– these tins were filled to the brim!

According to Oliver Pluff, cacao shell tea was a big hit with our first First Lady, Martha Washington.  Neither black tea nor coffee, cacao shells make for a roasty blend with chocolate overtones.  I’ve reviewed other cacao shell tea on SororiTea Sisters before, and I’ll reiterate that I think they taste like chocolate-drizzled popcorn.  The cacao shells are surprisingly more buttery and savory than you would expect.  (Also, be aware that while the cacao shells don’t contain caffeine, they are technically stimulants, so make sure you brew this at a time that works around your sleep schedule).

The Cacao Shell Trio has three different blends, plan cacao shells, cacao and mint, and cacao citrus.  The plan cacao shells were comparable to other cacao teas I’ve tried in the past, a nice change of pace for the coffee-lover, or a lower-calorie take on a warm, chocolate beverage.

In the cacao mint blend the mint was very strong, like a less-sweet peppermint mocha.  It was a great blend to drink around christmas time, when everything is flavored like candy canes.  I would advise not over-steeping this blend, or else the mint really takes over.  Keep the steep times short to let the cacao shine through.

The cacao citrus  blend had both cacao shells and orange peels.  This was my favorite blend of the trio.  The orange peels were mild, but helped add dimension to the chocolate cacao.  This reminded me a bit of those chocolate oranges that come out around this time of year, or like some chocolate and orange pu erh teas I’ve tried in the past.  The buttery cacao shells were a nice pair with the tart and fruity orange peels.

Overall this trio was a great purchase and I’ll have to give more Oliver Pluff products a try in the future.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Oliver Pluff
Description: Martha Washington enjoyed steeping the shells of roasted cocoa nuts from the cacao tree for the interesting flavor and health benefits.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Cider Spices Wassail Kit from Oliver Pluff & Company. . . . .

Today we have a little bit of a different review of sorts to share with you! Cider Spices Wassail Kit from Oliver Pluff & Company is what’s on tap!

One random weekend in the not-so distant past I grabbed 2 half gallons of local cider and stopped to visit my parents with Cider Spices Wassail Kit from Oliver Pluff and Company in the other hand. My mother and I were like the Swedish Chef and Beaker in the kitchen having FUN with this nifty tin of wholesome ingredients!

This Cider Spices Wassail Kit includes their 3 Muslin Spice Bags with Drawstrings, Cinnamon Sticks, Cut Ginger, Ground Nutmeg. It’s an Old English Recipe with Spice Bags and 3 ounces of Spices Brews 3 Gallons of spicy-cidery-goodness!

The directions on the tin for this Cider Spices Wassail Kit say – For a Gallon Brew: Fill a pot with 1 gallon of fresh apple cider, or ale, or mead. Fill spice bag with ⅓ cup of wassail spices. Add spices and ½ cup sugar, and simmer at low heat for 1-2 hours. Serve hot or chilled.

I’m a rebel. I don’t follow instructions well. So this is how I did it…I used 3/4 of a gallon of Cider and filled one of those little bags with 1/3 C of wassail spices. I did NOT add any sugar or sweetener. I brought to a boil and then simmered for 1 hour. I didn’t have as much time nor did I feel it needed to simmer any longer as I was sampling the flavor as I went along. My own personal opinion is that this was sweet enough and didn’t need the additional sugar or other sweetener of your choice but if you would like to add it I certainly won’t stop you! I started off with HOT mugs full and LOVE LOVE LOVED it!

Later in the day I drank a couple of these ICED and it was just as NICE! I also did a taste test of the cider straight-up prior to the aftermath of using the kit. You could certainly tell a difference! I have used other cider kits in the past where you can’t even taste a difference but THIS Cider Kit was AWESOME! The flavor was INTENSELY WONDERFUL!

The ginger was the ingredient that was upfront – for sure! Then you could taste the cinnamon. The nutmeg was a more mellow afterthought but still part of the mix of flavors that made it all tie-in nicely!

I’ve had teas and tisanes that used these 3 ingredients mixed in or stand alone and I think it would make a fantastic herbal infusion by itself, too! I know Nichole-aka CuppaGeek – a fellow Sororitea Sister – has been infusing teas and tisanes with her favorite adult beverages lately and I bet this would work well, too!

I can’t help but make another tea/tisane connection with this Wassail Kit to something memorable in my life. Years ago my husband and I went to a dinner theatre called The Canterbury Feast – a Station Dinner Theatre in Cambridge Springs, PA, and then a few years later when it moved to Erie, PA. It’s a Musical Comedy Stage Show that has been taking place for over 36 years! It’s a FUN time! Why this Wassail Kit made me think of it is because the show encourages audience participation! There are phrases you shout out, songs you sing along with, and sometimes they drag members of the audience up on stage! (One year – I was the ‘Keeper of the Salt’). The MOST memorable thing was a cast member would yell “Drink Hail” and you would yell back “Wassail!” So this was a fun experience for me on many levels…reliving fun times in the past while making new lasting memories with my mom this year while simmering the Cider Spices Wassail Kit from Oliver Pluff & Company.

I LOVE everything about this kit! It comes with everything you need and when you hit bottom and are all out of the spices you are able to keep the stylish tin (which I think my father has called dibs on!)

In closing…do I think this is a great product? Of course I do! How will I pay tribute to my LOVE of this kit? Well…I have one thing to YELL…DRINK HAIL…WASSAIL!!!!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Tisane
Where to Buy:  Oliver Pluff & Company
Description

History: Wassail (Middle English ‘wæs hæl’ – ‘be you healthy’) refers both to the salute ‘Waes Hail’ and to the drink of wassail, a hot mulled cider drunk as part of wassailing, an English ritual intended to ensure a good apple harvest the following year.  Historically, the drink is a mulled cider, mulled beer, or mead, made with sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and topped with toast.  A group then sings: “Old Apple tree, old apple tree, we’ve come to wassail thee, To bear and to bow apples enow, Hats full, caps full, three bushel bags full, Barn floors full and a little heap under the stairs.”

Hand Blended and Packaged by Oliver Pluff & Co. in Charleston, South Carolina

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Cacao Tea from Oliver Pluff & Co. . . . .

I recently found out something VERY interesting! Martha Washington and I had/have something VERY IMPORTANT in common! We both admire and appreciate Cacao! Therefore I MUST tell you more about Cacao Tea from Oliver Pluff & Co.

Cacao Tea from Oliver Pluff & Co. is a WYSIWYG type of tisane! What you see is what you get – that is! The one and only ingredient in this herbal tea is roasted cacao shells. According to the company’s website Martha Washington enjoyed steeping the shells of roasted cocoa nuts from the cacao tree for the interesting flavor and health benefits.

There have been historical documents pointing to this. On the back of the label and tin there is mention of how George Washington asked his agents to get 20 pounds at a time of ‘shells of cocoa nuts’ from chocolate makers. Martha Washington would sip on cacao shell tea during breakfasts. I like to file this tidbit of information under ‘Learn something new everyday!”

Upon opening the tin the wonderous aroma of dark, dark chocolate filled my nose. It tasted as such, too! Dark and Roasted. Those are the two adjectives that come to mind while describing Cacao Tea from Oliver Pluff & Co.

I suppose one could add their favorite milk or milk alternative to this but I don’t think it’s necessary. For those who don’t eat many sweets in the form of desserts this might be your new best friend. Whether you are looking for that or a historical piece to contemplate during your cuppa…give Cacao Tea from Oliver Pluff & Co. a whirl, won’t you?


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Oliver & Puff
Description

Cacao Shell Tea – roasted cacao shells

Martha Washington enjoyed steeping the shells of roasted cocoa nuts from the cacao tree for the interesting flavor and health benefits.

Tasting notes: Aroma of toast before brewing. Steeping in hot water unleashes a tonic of chocolate. The brew yields a full-bodied, slightly bitter infusion with strong notes of chocolate, and light flavors of melon.

Caffeine: Cacao shell tea is caffeine-free, but it does contain other natural stimulants.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Let’s Chat About Blackberry Cold Brew from Oliver Pluff & Co

Blackberry Cold Brew from Oliver Pluff & Co consists of Orange Pekoe Black Tea Leaves, Blackberry Leaves, and Blackberry Flavoring and was created for cold brew. What’s really neat is if you purchase the 3oz (85g) it not only brews 3 gallons worth – it comes with an extra large wire mesh filter ball! The instructions for cold brewing in half gallons are clearly stated on the label/tin and on the website which are both handy.

Even COLD – Blackberry Cold Brew from Oliver Pluff & Co – was even better than it was hot but then again that is probably what this company had in mind, hence, the “Cold Brew” in the tea name.

Though Blackberry Cold Brew from Oliver Pluff & Co was MADE for COLD BREWS I rebelled and also tried it HOT. I made a single cuppa and it was delightful! There was just enough blackberry flavor to it! The black tea base was of a more gentle-medium strength which I appreciated. The flavoring didn’t stomp over top of the black tea base! Woot!

I really DIG the labels, tins, and tea offerings from this company. We have some flavor combos coming up in near future reviews that I think you will find interesting. They are herbals, tisanes, and spice and fruit flavor combos mostly, but we also have a gunpowder on tap, too!

Blackberry Cold Brew from Oliver Pluff & Co is certainly something I would recommend for anyone who likes to cold brew but also for anyone who likes a flavored black tea where the flavor and the black tea base ratio is nicely done and not OVER done like some tend to be. Two thumbs up on Blackberry Cold Brew from Oliver Pluff & Co from me!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Flavored Black Tea
Where to Buy: Oliver  & Pluff Co.
banner_oliver_pluff_0001_1448570868__46213Description

Blackberry Cold Brew – a Refreshing Black Tea Blend with Blackberry Leaves

Description:  Tea. Water. Pitcher. Cold. Cold Brew by Oliver Pluff & Company- fruit-forward teas easily brewed by steeping in cold water.

Contents: 3oz Blackberry black tea in Cold Brew Tea Tin comes complete with a large wire mesh tea brewing ball.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Colonial Remedy No. 6 Lemon Balm from Oliver Pluff & Co.

Sometimes I need occasional stress relief. And sometimes I need MORE than occasional stress relief. One of the herbs I enjoy for just about any reason is Lemon Balm. But did you know that Lemon Balm is has been used for YEARS for occasional stress relief? Enter Colonial Remedy No. 6 Lemon Balm from Oliver Pluff & Co.

Another way to spin this herbal tisane is that it’s a good herbal to make your heart merry and joyful. Who couldn’t use more merriment, eh? Colonial Remedy No. 6 Lemon Balm from Oliver Pluff & Co. is straight-up Lemon Balm. You know what they say ‘sometimes LESS is MORE’. I truly believe that in this case. But don’t take that as this herbal being weak because it’s not! Colonial Remedy No. 6 Lemon Balm from Oliver Pluff & Co. is wonderfully flavored Lemon Balm! I chalk that up to the company using HIGH QUALITY Lemon Balm and not the run-of-the-mill and/or ‘cheap stuff’.

Colonial Remedy No. 6 Lemon Balm from Oliver Pluff & Co. smells AND tastes like lemon and herb. I really LOVE the overall colonial theme of Oliver Pluff & Co. It’s one of those teas and companies that offers KNOWLEDGE tidbits while you sip.

In the case of this specific tisane offering…”Steeped as a tea, the colonials sipped lemon balm as for its uplifting effects: “balme makes the heart merry and joyfull, and strengtheneth vitall spirits…it drives away the care of the minde*.” (The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes (1597) – J. Gerard). I know sometimes I tend to pass over or roll my eyes one many herbal/tisane offerings but Colonial Remedy No. 6 Lemon Balm from Oliver Pluff & Co. might be listed on one of my future FAVORITES Lists!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal Tisane
Where to Buy: Oliver Pluff & Cobanner_oliver_pluff_0001_1448570868__46213

Description

Lemon Balm – Loose Leaf

Makes the Heart Merry & Joyfull (For Occasional Stress Relief)*

Lemon Balm as a Remedy: Steeped as a tea, the colonials sipped lemon balm as for itsuplifting effects: “balme makes the heart merry and joyfull, and strengtheneth vitallspirits…it drives away the care of the minde*.” (The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes (1597) – J. Gerard)

Notes: Lemon balm has an subtle aroma of citrus that makes it useful as a strewing herb to freshen rooms. It is also valuable as a plant that is known to attract bees.

Brewing Tips: Boil 1 cup water, then pour over 1 tablespoon lemon balm. Steep for 15 minutes. Strain, and sweeten with honey.

* Please be advised: You should consult with your doctor before making dietary changes. Pregnancy and Lactation: Do not use without the advice of your doctor.

Hand-packaged by Oliver Pluff & Company in Charleston, South Carolina.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!