Our final sample from Plum Deluxe is the Self-Care Blend, an herbal tisane that caught my eye for two reasons. First, how can you go wrong with a name like that for a tea? Everyone needs a reminder to slow down and take care of themselves, and tea serves as a good reminder of this. Second, this unique herbal blend features apricots and elderberries, two fruits that are known for their healing properties. It’s an intriguing combination – in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen apricots or elderberries paired together before, in tea or in food. So, I’m very curious how they’ll brew up together.
Let’s have a cup or two of Self-Care together and see what it’s like, shall we? 😉
Bingley’s Description: “A curious pairing of elderberry (tart) and apricot (sweet), this all-organic tea has mellow flavors and is packed with nutrients. You’ll love it paired with a hot bath, a good book, or after a nice spa treatment. Elderberry — believed to help us tap into our inner magic — helps expel toxins and helps with colds and viruses, and apricot is believed to be one of the most healing fruits in nature.”
Ingredients: Honeybush tea, elderberries, apricots, apple pieces, calendula / marigold petals, and natural apricot essence
Steeping Instructions: Use 1 ½ teaspoons 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.
Bagged or Loose Leaf?: Loose leaf
Caffeine Level: None
Looking at Self-Care in its dry form gives me a wonderfully warm feeling. It’s teeming with the colors of autumn: the honeybush’s earthy browns, the rusty orange of the apricot and apple pieces, and the sunny yellow of marigold petals. I also see the dried elderberries, tiny and raisin-like in appearance. A very pretty herbal tea, if you ask me.
The aroma of Self-Care is just as inviting. It’s slightly roasty and woody thanks to the honeybush, with a lively, jam-like sweetness courtesy of the fruit elements. I think I even detect a hint of peaches under the apricot tones. Mmmmmm, my mouth is watering at the thought of brewing this now!
Since I prefer longer steep times for herbals, I give Cup #1 of Self-Care a good 5 minutes before pouring. The infusion comes out a rich dark amber in color, close to bronze. The scent and flavor profiles lean more toward the honeybush side. Each sip is smooth and earthy, with traces of honey and stone-fruit sweetness. It’s charming, but I was expecting more of a fruit presence because of the apricot and elderberry. Then again, 1 teaspoon is on the low side for measuring herbal teas.
So, I try another cup of Self-Care, this time brewing 1½ teaspoons for 5 minutes. Now THIS is more like it! The extra half-teaspoon results in a juicier, velvety infusion that marries honeybush with apricots more evenly without losing the comforting aspects of Cup #1. There’s also a tart, tangy undertone from the elderberries. This is definitely my kind of fruity herbal tea. Any blends that include hibiscus tend to be overpowered by its distinct syrupy flavor. But with Self-Care, the honeybush, apricots, and elderberries all have their time to shine. Ahhhhhhhhh.
Plum Deluxe’s Self-Care Herbal Blend is as lovely as I hoped it would be. It’s mellow and well-rounded, with apricot and elderberry flavors that blend well with its honeybush base. This is a great alternative to stronger, berry-flavored teas and ideal for savoring at night, especially when reading a good book. (I bet it would make a lovely iced tea as well.) My only recommendation is to steep Self-Care for at least 5 minutes and with 1½ teaspoons instead of just one. That way, you can enjoy this warming, succulent tisane at its fullest.
Grade: 9 / 10
- Tea Drinkers Who: Like honeybush, rooibos, or fruity teas
- Time of Day and Year: Afternoon through the evening, especially in summer and fall
- Possible Book Pairings: This might sound odd, but Self-Care reminds me of Paulo Coelho’s stories. The simplicity of his prose makes it easy to feel at ease with his work, and the universality of his messages reminds us of what’s truly important in life. Try a cup of Self-Care with The Alchemist, The Devil and Miss Prym, By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, or Veronika Decides to Die.
You can purchase the Self Care Herbal Tea Blend directly from Plum Deluxe here.
A PARTING CUP
It’s been such a pleasure tasting new teas and sharing them with you here at A Bibliophile’s Reverie for the past 2 years. Unfortunately, my Tea Times have come to an end, and this review will be my last. So, I want to thank the ABR team (especially Justin) for their support of this column, all the tea vendors I’ve been in contact with for their generosity, and all our readers for their enthusiasm and for sharing their love of the world’s most wonderful beverage.
Tea Time will be continuing in the near future, though! Whether you’re a tea seller and would like to have one of your products reviewed here, or a blogger who’s interested in writing tea reviews, please contact A Bibliophile’s Reverie at firstname.lastname@example.org.