Our next two Tea Time samples come from Plum Deluxe. Since 2008, this Oregon-based tea vendor has been exploring all aspects of the phrase “Making Moments Matter.” From handcrafted organic tea blends and a Tea of the Month Club, to recipes and meditations and other gifts, Plum Deluxe is committed to reminding its customers to be well, mindful, and positive. I can’t say I’ve met another tea company with such an inspiring mission – not to mention the teas in their online shop look delectable!
And what better way to introduce you to Plum Deluxe than with a bookish tea? 😉 Reading Nook blends a cream-flavored black tea with floral accents to create a soothing, stimulating, and truly unique brew. One look at the picture and description, and I knew I needed to review this beauty!
Plux Deluxe’s Description: “One needs a touch of caffeine to keep the conversation flowing, the pages turning, or the pen on the move, so we start this blend with a wonderful cream black tea. We then added rosebuds for creativity and sustenance, lavender for flavor and aroma, and top it off with a bit of chamomile which adds a calming balance to it all. Customers often tell us this is our prettiest tea!”
Ingredients: Black tea, rose petals, lavender, chamomile, and vanilla flavoring
Steeping Instructions: Use 1 teaspoon of tea for every 8 oz of water. Heat water to boiling (205 degrees Fahrenheit / 96 degrees Celsius), and steep for 3 to 5 minutes.
Multiple Brews?: No
Bagged or Loose Leaf?: Loose leaf
Caffeine Level: High
I never pass up a pretty tea – and Reading Nook is. So. PRETTY! The black tea base lets the purples, yellows, and fuchsias from the floral accents stand out. And the fragrance… goodness, it’s heavenly! I smell roses, lavender, and citrusy Ceylon tempered with vanilla. There’s also a hint of chocolate somewhere… It must be a result of the other scents, since chocolate isn’t one of the ingredients. But I love what I smell, and I’m so excited to brew up Reading Nook now!
My intention is to steep Cup #1 of Reading Nook in boiling water for 3 minutes. But I accidentally take the kettle off the burner a teeny bit too soon, so the water’s just under boiling. Not a problem, though. The brownish-red infusion smells primarily of Ceylon and lavender, and the first sip – wow! What a beautiful layering of flavors! The lavender blooms first to give the tea a lovely softness and floral overtones. Then comes the rose, giving the tea a full-bodied lushness. Finally the chamomile creeps in for a clean, fresh finish. All the while the Ceylon and vanilla flavors carry the floral notes without overpowering them or making the brew bitter.
There’s still plenty of Reading Nook left to sample, so I play with the brew times and temperatures for later cups. A 4-minute cup in under-boiling water brings out more of the rose and chamomile, accentuating the tea’s soft, full mouthfeel. A 5-minute brew proves to be too long, however. The tea develops a tannic harshness despite the lavender’s presence. Most of the boiling-water brews also bring out the Ceylon’s astringency. They’re still delicious, but not as stunning as the under-boiling cups were.
Plum Deluxe’s Reading Nook really is wonderful to have as a reading companion or writing motivator. The Ceylon black tea base touches off a spark of briskness, but lets the vanilla and floral aspects of the tea’s profile do most of the enchanting. And do I mean enchanting! This is lovely to behold in dry form, intoxicating to smell, and simultaneously invigorating and calming to drink. My only suggestion would be to brew Reading Nook at the low end of its time range (3 to 4 minutes) and with slightly under-boiling water. This accentuates the rose, lavender, and chamomile flavors without any astringency.
Grade: 9 / 10
- Tea Drinkers Who: Like black, creamy, or floral teas
- Time of Day and Year: Mid-to-late mornings year-round
- Possible Book Pairings: Since Reading Nook pays tribute to reading, writing, and creativity, how about some books that do the same? Some of my favorites include Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, and Judy Reeves’ A Writer’s Book of Days.
You can purchase Reading Nook Black Tea Blend directly from Plum Deluxe here.
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In addition to being a tea enthusiast, Sara Letourneau is an avid reader and a writer who… well, enjoys writing! Currently she’s working on a novel, and she writes book reviews and articles on the craft of writing. She’s also a published poet with works available in various print and online publications. Visit Sara at her blog, Twitter, Goodreads, or Pinterest.
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