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!
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!
Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Pluck Tea
This high grown luxury loose leaf black tea is blended with dried ripe peaches and apricots grown in Niagara, Ontario.
Soft and fruity… chill for an enchanting iced tea.
Learn more about August’s Postal Teas shipment here.
Learn more about subscribing to Postal Teas here.
My “August” box from Postal Teas arrived a few days ago, and I was eager to dive right in and try “this month’s” teas. This service is set up to ship at the end of the month, so these teas that I received in September are actually August’s teas, so it will be a little confusing for me to be calling this August’s box when it arrived in September. But it’s really not that important … at least the teas arrived, right? And I’m quite happy with this month’s selection.
And I’m even happier with the note that I received in the box. As I mentioned in my first review of the teas that I received with my first shipment, they include a handwritten note. I dig that, it communicates to me that they took a few moments out of their day to write something to me. While I love the convenience of shopping online and it’s how I do most of my shopping (at least for tea!), with the handling process of the many orders of so many companies out there it seems that the personal touch is lost. That “thank you for shopping with us” and the smile from the clerk is lost (and let’s face it, it’s lost when you shop at most of the big chain stores too) and that’s something that I – as a consumer – appreciate. So when I get a handwritten note with an order, even if it’s just something as simple as a hand-written “thank you” on the receipt, it tells me that a person was on the other side of this order. I like that.
And what I like even more is that this note … was written with ME in mind. They wrote this to me. They didn’t have some formed response that they wrote on everyone’s note of every package that they sent out this month. Let me show you what I mean. The note says:
We love having your feedback!
We hope these are a little more exciting for you!
Be sure to let us know what you think!
OK. So not only are they addressing the fact that I sit here and write tea reviews, but they’re acknowledging that they read my reviews and they’ve taken my feelings into account while writing this note because I did express some discontent with the previous box because the teas – while they were classics and quite good! – were just a little … well, it was like, OK, I signed up for this new service and they’re sending me teas from a new-to-me company but they were teas that I could pretty much find anywhere. I could go to my local coffee shop and find those teas. So, I was like, “Um … boring!”
Hey, what can I say. After writing reviews for over five years, I guess you could say that I’m needy and what I need is something different. Something that I don’t already have in my pantry. (And my tea pantry is extensive.) So, yeah, my apologies to Postal Teas and Tease for sounding less than excited about trying something that I’ve already tried.
BUT … I’m not here today to talk about last month’s box. I want to talk about this month’s box! This is the first tea that I’ve tasted from this month’s box from Postal Teas. This month’s supplier for Postal Teas is a company called Pluck and it’s a company that I’ve not yet tried. And THAT’S why I like to subscribe to services like this. I like to explore teas that I’ve not tried before from companies that I’ve not yet heard of. This month, Postal Teas delivered that right to my mailbox.
The dry leaf is deliciously fragrant! It smells a lot like my kitchen did about a month and a half ago when I brought home a big box full of freshly picked peaches. Yum!
I brewed this tea in my Breville One Touch. I put two bamboo scoops of tea into the basket of the tea maker and added 500ml of freshly filtered water into the jug, and then set the controls for 212°F and 2 1/2 minutes (my go-to settings for most black teas).
The tea has a peachy aroma, and I smell more “black tea” notes now than I did with the dry leaf. The dry leaf is all about the peach, but now that the tea is brewed, I’m experiencing a lighter peach note and a little bit of black tea in the fragrance. It smells delightful!
Nice! The peach is a little elusive while the tea is piping hot so I would suggest letting this tea cool slightly before taking a sip. As the tea cools, the flavors develop. (And it’s AMAZING iced!)
The black tea is strongest flavor of this cup, and that’s the way it should be. When I taste a flavored tea, I like it when I can taste the flavors the tea promises, but I still want to taste the tea part too. Otherwise, I might as well just consume a glass of fruit juice. I want tea!
But that’s not to say that I don’t taste the peach in this tea, because I do. The peach is there, but it doesn’t overpower the tea notes. It’s a flavor that starts out subtle and develops slowly.
And what I like best about the peach notes here is that it tastes very true to the fruit. It doesn’t have an artificial peach taste. It tastes like peaches that have been picked off the tree and then liquefied and added to a cup of Ceylon tea. The aftertaste is delightfully peachy!
As I was brewing this tea, I thought about additions. I didn’t add anything to the cup, but a little bit of sugar might encourage the peach notes to emerge a little bit more and it might temper the slight astringent bite at the tail of the sip. But, it wasn’t too astringent and I could taste the peach notes without the sweetener so it’s not something that must be added. I was thinking that maybe a splash of milk or cream would give this a ‘peaches and cream’ sort of flavor but now that I’m drinking it, I think that the dairy addition would overwhelm the delicate notes of peach and you don’t want that!
It’s a very enjoyable cuppa, and it captures what this time of year is about to me – the sweet harvests as the summer comes to an end and we welcome autumn.