Pluck’s Spadina Blend

Spadina Blend by Pluck
Black Tea / Flavoured
$8.00 for 30g

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Pluck’s Spadina Blend came to me as part of The Sugared Teacup’s June themed subscription box.

First Impressions

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Spadina Blend is described as being inspired by Toronto’s Chinatown, and it’s not surprising based on the ingredients found in this black tea blend. Pluck describes it as having notes of “lychee, lemongrass, ginger, and coconut” and besides the coconut, the rest of the ingredients are very familiar to me as someone who grew up going to Vancouver’s historic Chinatown on a weekly basis. The first thing I could smell when I opened up the bag of tea was the mix of lemongrass, ginger, and coconut. The lychee fruit has a sweet floral aroma to it, and I did note some sweet fruity smells to it, but nothing overly floral. I must acknowledge the fact that lemongrass and ginger are both very strong aromas, so it’s hard for something delicate and floral to make an impact in comparison.

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In Spadina Blend is the following ingredients: black tea, lemongrass, dried ginger pieces, dried mango, unsweetened coconut, lime leaves, natural flavours.

Preparation

Pluck recommends steeping Spadina Blend in 100°C (212°F) water for 5 to 7 minutes. I opted to do my initial steep for 5 minutes.

First Taste

Spadina Blend steeps to a beautiful golden orange, it’s such an inviting colour! The aroma from this tea is primarily ginger and lemongrass, which I don’t find surprising given how intense those ingredients can be on their own, in teas, or in a dish. This tea honestly reminds me a lot of when I was younger and if I was sick or had a sore throat, because my mom would make me a drink that had a lot of ginger in it (and honey).

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The taste of this black tea blend is primarily lemongrass and ginger to me, I didn’t really taste a lot of coconut or the mango, but I can smell the lime from the lime leaves. There’s a hint of spice to this tea from the ginger, and sweetness that I believe to be derived from all the fruit that is in this tea, which helps to balance out the ginger.

I set aside a cup of this tea to cool down to room temperature before I added some ice. I think it makes a fantastic iced tea, the ginger adds a bit of refreshing heat but the other flavours get to be more forward when the ginger is toned down. There’s more fruity notes that I can make out when the tea is iced and it allows me to taste more of the other ingredients, which is nice.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped Spadina Blend once, and found that the flavours were lacking compared to the initial steep. The intensity of the lemongrass and ginger wasn’t there anymore, and the rest of the flavours were a bit muddled in the background. I would say that Spadina Blend is good for one steep only.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Pluck’s Spadina Blend. The ingredients are a nice window into Chinese ingredients, and the ginger and lemongrass were very forward and bold ingredients that Pluck had chosen for this black tea blend. I found that when hot, this tea reminded me a lot of the times when I was sick as a child and that the ginger was the strongest part of this tea. However, when iced this tea is so different. The other flavours get to come out to play, and there are more fruity notes in this tea which balance well with the strength of the ginger.

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Pluck’s The Canada 150 Blend

The Canada 150 Blend by Pluck
Black Tea / Flavoured
$8.00 for 50g

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Pluck’s The Canada 150 Blend came to me as part of The Sugared Teacup’s July themed subscription box.

First Impressions

I’ve always been a sucker for good packaging, and Pluck does pass the test in that regard. A simple foil-and-plastic bag, it does the trick to keep the tea from getting stale due to exposure to air. The nice thing is that there is some of the tea that is visible on the clear side, so you can see what you’re getting. I really like the themed label – the red and white with the maple leaves just scream Canada to me, so it’s really nice to see.

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The Canada 150 Blend is made up of: black tea, sunflower petals, safflower petals, and natural flavouring. According to the product page on the Pluck website, the ‘natural flavouring’ is “natural caramel cream flavouring”. The smell of the dry leaf is primarily the black tea base. The tea has a sweetened aroma to it, which I’ll chalk up to the added flavouring, while the black tea base reminds me a lot of a straight breakfast tea – it’s generally has a bold, strong aroma to it that has just a hint of malty flavour in the fragrance.

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Preparation

Pluck recommends steeping The Canada 150 Blend in 100°C (212°F) water for 5 to 7 minutes. I honestly thought 7 minutes was a bit much, so my initial steep was for just 5 minutes.

First Taste

The Canada 150 Blend steeps to a really nice golden red, the colour was more intense in my teapot than in my teacup for sure. It has a nice malty aroma to it that was quite inviting. On first sip, I’m really glad that I did not opt to steep for the upper end of the recommended steep time (7 minutes) because I found that the aftertaste of each sip to be on the just a little bit bitter side. This tea could probably stand to be steeped for a shorter amount of time (perhaps 4 minutes?), just to avoid that aftertaste. I would describe this black tea blend as being strong – it has quite a bold, malty flavour to it, with just a hint of astringency in each sip. I would liken it to being very similar to a traditional English Breakfast tea. The one thing that does set it apart is just a touch of creamy sweetness that blends in well with the malty flavour. I think we can thank the caramel flavouring for that.

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I tried this tea also with some added honey and evaporated milk – the honey helped bring out more of the flavouring out of the caramel, and the milk helped to temper the bitter aftertaste. All in all, I think the tea accepts a bit of help quite easily and it makes for a tastier cup of tea if you accidentally oversteep it.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped The Canada 150 Blend twice (three steeps total). I found the flavouring to be fairly similar to the first steep for the first resteep, but the flavour just fell flat for the second resteep. Overall, I would say that The Canada 150 Blend is good for one more steep.

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My Overall Impression

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I liked Pluck’s The Canada 150 Blend. I love all things Canadiana, so it’s probably not too big of a surprise that I did like this tea. I’m always a fan of solid black teas, and this one has a bit of a twist to it (with the caramel flavouring), but I found that it held up really well to the addition of sweetener and some evaporated milk. I think if you’re a fan of breakfast teas, you’ll probably like this one as well – it has a strong, bold flavour profile. It’d be a good tea to replace your morning cup of coffee with, or to serve with an afternoon tea if you’re looking to change things up from the tea time staple of Earl Grey. This black tea blend smells amazing, and it does taste quite good. I would just recommend watching the steep times (try 4 minutes and go up from there, I think you’d be woefully disappointed if you started at 7 minutes).

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Pluck’s Ctrl+Alt+Delete Blend

Ctrl+Alt+Delete by Pluck
Herbal Infusion / Flavoured
$8.00 for 30g

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First Impressions

I received Ctrl+Alt+Delete as part of a swap package, and was rather tickled by the name of the tea, since I’m familiar with using that keyboard combination. The front of the bag is see-through on the sides of the label and I could see how fine the herbal blend is. Pluck includes all the usual information necessary for a tea drinker: how much to use, steeping time, water temperature, information on the ingredients, as well as a best before date. The slogan for Pluck is “Local. Natural. Bespoke.”. On the back of the bag, Pluck mentions that their source ingredients from ethical sources, local growers, artisan producers, and they produce their blends in small batches (hence, bespoke).

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Ctrl+Alt+Delete was opened up one night when my sister needed some kind of herbal infusion as she was coming down with a cold. Ctrl+Alt+Delete has a very strong ginger and lemongrass smell to it, the strong ginger smell kind of tickles the nose a bit. The ingredients are: ginger, rose hip, dried organic lemon peel, lemongrass, and dried Muskoka cranberries. I could not smell the rose hips or cranberries.

Preparation

Pluck recommends steeping Ctrl+Alt+Delete in 100°C (212°F) water for 3-7 minutes. I steeped for approximately 4 minutes.

First Taste

This herbal blend steeps to a nice yellow colour. The blend of ingredients is very fine, I would recommend using a tea filter over a stainless steel infuser because you’ll end up with bits of the herbs in your tea and in your mouth. The herbal infusion has a very nice warmed ginger smell, the lemongrass isn’t as strong in the steeped infusion fragrance as it was in the dry blend.

It has a mildly sweet lemon flavor with a very nice ginger taste to it, which I appreciate. The ginger isn’t overwhelming or spicy, as ginger can be, but it does make my entire mouth feel warm when drinking it. It’s quite pleasant and it’s a very relaxing cup of tea.

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A Second Cup?

I attempted to resteep Ctrl+Alt+Delete. It does okay for one resteep, the lemon and ginger is still very much present in the taste, but a second resteep leads to a watery cup of lemon and ginger that I would not recommend.

My Overall Impression

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I thought that Pluck’s Ctrl+Alt+Delete was just okay. I was a bit disappointed that the cranberries and rosehips weren’t more prominent in the dry or steeped herbal blend. If I was feeling under the weather, I think this concoction of ginger and lemongrass would do the trick. Ctrl+Alt+Delete is a decent herbal infusion, I do think a lot of people would like the ginger and lemongrass combination – but also that it’s a nice blend to have if you’re not feeling well. I would definitely make this again, especially if I have a sore throat, but I don’t think it’s something that I would buy or want to keep a stock of in my stash.

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