Today I’m exploring the Gratitude Blend Black Tea from Plum Deluxe in Portland, Oregon. All teas from Plume Deluxe are hand-blended by owner Andy Hayes who reached out to me after a customer mentioned that my blog might be a good fit.
I’m ever-so-grateful to have received three different black teas to taste. On Monday, I looked at Mindful Morning Black Tea. Today it’s Gratitude Blend Black Tea, and on Friday there will be another tea.
Plum Deluxe offers a variety of teas, a tea subscription box, teas of the month, coloring books, meditations, and more. The community also supports a variety of philanthropic projects.
Gratitude Blend Black Tea
The very first thing I did was open the Gratitude Blend Black Tea package and breathe deeply. Plum Deluxe calls this the strawberry Earl Grey, and the berry smell reminded me of plucking strawberries straight from plants.
I warmed the same glass mug with very hot (not boiling,) then heated additional water. As the second heating of water came to temperature, I emptied the mug, added two scoops and a pinch of tea, and added water again. Unfortunately, I let the tea steep too long and the result was a bitter liquid. That summer strawberry flavor was prevalent but completely overwhelmed by the ickiness of the bitter.
I tried again and, in fact, used the same leaves and a second steeping. This technique definitely works with any good quality loose leaf tea; you simply let the leaves steep a little longer.
The result of that second steeping was a liquid the color of burnt amber, of a deep sunrise or glorious sunset.
The summer strawberry smell was definitely there, as was a raspberry undertone. There was complexity.
Maybe it was just the wrong season, or maybe it was that first steeping, or perhaps it was the fact that this was my third mug of tea for the day. Whatever it was, this was not my favorite cup of tea. It has plenty of things I do like: summer! bergamot! black tea! I can’t put my finger on why this tea just didn’t do it for me.
That said, I’m wondering what this tea would be like over ice in the summer. Or what if you added sugar for a Southern sweet tea approach and garnished with sliced strawberries?
So, one smash hit in the Mindful Morning Tea on Monday, one flop with Gratitude Blend. Wonder what the tea will be like in Friday’s post? Stop back and see!
My mom loves strawberries, so I took the Gratitude Blend with me on a visit. We spent the day together, meeting a friend of mine at an author showcase, going to an estate sale, and walking through an antique store.
After all of this activity, we needed nourishment. For two cups of tea, I used two teaspoons and a light brew – maybe 4 minutes? Mom provided fresh strawberries and angel food cake.
The combination was fabulous. There was a sip of warm, fruity-smokey tea, then a bite of fresh strawberry. A sip of tea, a bite of angel food cake soaked in strawberry juice. Maybe the only thing missing was whipped cream.
But who needs that when you have amazing tea, delicious dessert, and great company?