Muskoka Chai from Pluck Teas. . . . .

It’s a gloomy day in the city. Rain all day keeping everything wet. High winds keeping everyone cold. The threat of snow looming. Perfect day for snuggling up in bed with a good book and a hot cup of tea. Alas, I had to get my butt to work so I sat in traffic and and then under the florescent lights of the office for what felt like forever. When I finally returned home, I wanted something special and a chai latte just seemed right. I mean, when done properly, a good tea latte is like a nice hug for your tastebuds.

This particular chai is a little bit different. Sure it has the typical cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and ginger. It also has some sneaky star anise which I wasn’t pleased about and a dash of black pepper which I think I am okay with. However, among all those traditional chai elements, Pluck stuck in a little bit of Canadian goodness by adding Muskoka cranberries to the mix. Like I said, I wanted something special and in theory this fit the bill.

I brewed this up in water, and topped it off with frothed skim milk and the end result is nice. I think this would have done better done the non-lazy way of steeping the tea in the milk on the stove, low and slow to really let the flavors sink in or even with a richer milk (skim can get a bit watery in lattes). As it is now, it is a little harsh. You expect creaminess but the tea really takes over. The ginger is strong in flavor, though not in spice, and the cardamom lurks somewhere in the middle. The star anise is nowhere to be found, which makes me happy, but if I am being honest, the cranberry is missing too and that is the whole reason I was drawn to this tea in the first place. One nice element is actually the pepper. I find at times it jumps out and really makes the other flavors, like that of the cinnamon, cloves, and other chai spices pop.

It’s an alright chai and I can see it doing well in the right conditions. However, it fails to deliver on the one ingredient that is supposed to make this stand out and that makes this tea disappointing for me. I shouldn’t have to search for the very ingredient this is named for.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:
Where to Buy:  Pluck Teas

Dried Muskoka cranberries add an unexpected twist to this premium traditional Chai made with an organic Assam black tea, that also features whole cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Southbrook Berry Blend Tisane from Pluck

Southbrook_Berry_BlendTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Fruit/Herbal Tisane

Where to Buy:  Pluck Tea

Tea Description:

A blend of dried grape skins from Niagara’s Organic and Biodynamic Southbrook Vinyards, layered with hibiscus and berries for a delicious fruit tea.  Enjoy hot or iced.  Caffeine – free

Learn more about August’s Postal Teas shipment here.

Learn more about subscribing to Postal Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

Of the three teas that I received in this month’s box from Postal Teas, this is the tea that I was putting off trying.  I was not looking forward to it.  I can see the hibiscus!  UGH!  And because it’s dried grape skins, berries and hibiscus (all dark red) … it just looks like pure hibiscus!

So, needless to say, I didn’t have high hopes for this blend.  To steep this, I got out my Kati tumbler and added 1 bamboo scoop of the dark, burgundy red leaves into the basket of the tumbler and poured water heated to 195°F into the tumbler and let it infuse for 4 1/2 minutes.  Normally, I’d steep a fruit/berry/herbal tisane like this for 5 – 6 minutes, but because this looked like pure hibiscus to me, I went with slightly less time.

The thing about hibiscus is that the longer you let it steep, the tarter the flavor.  Tarter?  Tartier?  More tart?  In addition to a more tartness, the hibiscus turns the liquid into a thick, almost viscous syrup that is quite tart and not very enjoyable to sip.  At least, not for me.  I guess there are some people that dig that sort of thing.

Anyway, this tastes much better than I anticipated it would.  Because of the short steep time, I don’t have a tisane with an unpleasantly thick texture.  And because of the short steep time, I’m not tasting an overwhelmingly tart, hibiscus-y drink.

I can taste the berries!  I can taste the grape!  In fact, the grape is what I taste most.  This tastes a whole lot like warm grape juice.  I suspect that this tisane would taste really good iced and would go over well with children, and it’s a caffeine free alternative to all those sugary sodas.

The “berries” in this blend, because they meld in such a seamless way with the grape and the hibiscus, it’s difficult to discern what type of berry I’m tasting.  It tastes like a berry/grape medley.  The hibiscus is still there, of course, but it melds with the flavors of grape and berry in such a way that it doesn’t taste “hibiscus-y”.  It tastes like a grape and berry juice that’s both sweet and tart.  I am not one who particularly enjoys tart flavors so I added about half a teaspoon of raw sugar to the cup and this toned down the tartness to a tolerable level for my palate.

This is alright.  It’s not my favorite tisane, but given how much I thought I’d dislike it, it turned out to be much better than I thought it would.

Overall, I enjoyed this month’s box from Postal Teas.  And after perusing Pluck’s selection of teas, I’m finding a whole lot more that I’d love to try.  Hey, Postal Teas, if you’re reading … you should feature Pluck again, soon!

Apple on the Green Tea from Pluck Tea

appleonthegreenTea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Pluck Tea

Tea Description:

Warming, soothing and fruity with a hint of cinnamon. This dried apple tea has been layered with premium green tea and just the right amount of spice for a flavourful but sophisticated tea, hot or cold.

Apple on the Green features MacIntosh apples grown in Niagara Ontario.

Learn more about August’s Postal Teas shipment here.

Learn more about subscribing to Postal Teas here.

Taster’s Review:

OK, so far it’s been 2 for 2 with this month’s box from Postal Teas.  I loved the Peach tea and I’m loving this Apple on the Green!  Apple isn’t always the easiest flavor to get right in a tea.  But this is one of the best apple teas I’ve tried … at least that I’ve tried recently!

That’s because everything is balanced nicely.  The green tea has a sweet, slightly grassy, slightly creamy flavor that seems to elevate the apple notes in a very pleasing way.  The apple has a strong flavor, but it doesn’t taste fake.  It has a very good, authentic apple-y taste.  The cinnamon is strong enough to be tasted and add a vibrant zesty flavor to the cup without giving the tea too warm or spicy a flavor.  Everything is done just right with this blend!

OK, so I know that Pluck is a Canadian company and I don’t mean to take anything away from that, but this tea seems very “American” (United States) to me because here we’re all about the apple pie.  This cup of tea is like apple pie a la mode without the crust.  The creaminess of the green tea gives it an a la mode sort of flavor, the apple is sweet and juicy and the cinnamon gives just the right amount of warmth – it’s just like a delicious apple-y filling that my gramma would make for her amazing apple pies.

Maybe this tea is just making me feel a little sentimental.

To steep this tea, I used my small teapot and measured 1 bamboo scoop into the vessel.  I heated the water to 180°F and poured about 12 ounces of tea into the teapot and let it steep for 2 minutes.  Then I strained off the tea and enjoyed.  For the resteep, I added an extra minute onto the steep time but did not increase the temperature.

So far, this is the best tea that I’ve tried from my Postal Teas boxes.  This tea has made my subscriptions worth it.

This one also offers a pretty decent resteep.  The apple flavor is a little softer than in the first steep, but it’s still quite tasty and I think it’s well worth it to resteep these leaves.