Tea review: Mindful Morning black tea from Plum Deluxe

On a gorgeous day last week, I received a surprise email from Andy Hayes, founder of Plum Deluxe, offering me a spot of tea–his treat. Being fresh out of tea to review, it couldn’t have been better for me. I was happy to accept the offer, especially since I’d been on the prowl for new places to try.

There are a few things that make Plum Deluxe special. For one, there’s the tea of the month club, which is reasonably priced and offers unique blends only available to members. There’s also the fact it’s a small, independently-owned company. Then there was the part of Andy’s message to me that hit hardest; the way his mother’s vibrant life inspired the creation of the company after she succumbed to cancer.

Tea is a connection to my own mother, and one I wish we could share together more often than our 400 miles of separation allow. She’s always collected teapots, and while I grew up, she always had time for a tea party with her girls, often with a different beautiful teapot for every party.

So my mom was on my mind when I went to the mailbox and discovered the pretty purple envelope of teas waiting for me, several days sooner than I thought it would arrive. Fast shipping is always a plus for online purchases, and even better was the fact the contents were so fresh I could smell them through the envelope.

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I received four kinds, but since this post is about the Mindful Morning black tea, I’ll leave the others for later.

Since developing such fondness for Earl Grey teas, I was thrilled to see this one in the mix. The only thing I don’t like about Earl Grey is that it’s hard to find one with a good balance between robust tea and the soothing bergamot that creates the trademark flavor. I like flavorful tea, so a lot are too mild for my tastes, but nothing about this blend was disappointing.

IMG_3936I was surprised by the intensity of flavor, since a lot of Earl Greys I’ve tried in the past are a bit lacking on the tea side. This is a bold black tea that brews strong even in small amounts. Unsweetened, the flavor of the tea is what stands out most. Adding a little rock sugar brings out the citrus, creating a tea that’s refreshing and perfect for a morning punch, somewhere other Earl Greys tend to fall short.

But where this tea really shines is after the addition of just a splash of milk. Milk enhances the subtle vanilla flavor, creating a heavenly blend with just the right balance of full-bodied flavors.

So how does it compare to Persimmon Tree’s Earl Grey, which was the last type I reviewed?

They’re very different blends. Mindful Morning is much more robust and balanced, while Persimmon Tree Tea’s blend relies more heavily on vanilla to create a memorable flavor. The dynamic way the Mindful Morning blend’s flavor shifts depending on what you add to it also makes it easy to customize to meet whatever you’re looking for in a tea on any particular day.

Overall, I’d consider it a tea shelf staple, and I’m delighted to add it to my collection. If you’re looking for a solid Earl Grey blend, definitely give this one a try.

I have three more teas from Plum Deluxe to review, so I’ll be sharing more soon!

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