Cacao Shell Trio from Oliver Pluff. . . . .

The Oliver Pluff tea company focuses on colonial-styled teas, like those leaves thrown into Boston Harbor during the Boston Tea party.  But is also has a variety of other products like mulling spices, pressed tea cakes, and more. Being both an American history-lover and a tea-fanatic, I’ve had my eye on Oliver Pluff products for a little while, and this post-holiday shopping season seemed like the time to give them a try.

I ordered the Cacao Shell Trio from Oliver Pluff and it arrived promptly at my doorstep. The tins were as sleek and stylish as they appeared online, with nicely embossed, heavy paper labels, and dark metal lids.  Careful when opening– these tins were filled to the brim!

According to Oliver Pluff, cacao shell tea was a big hit with our first First Lady, Martha Washington.  Neither black tea nor coffee, cacao shells make for a roasty blend with chocolate overtones.  I’ve reviewed other cacao shell tea on SororiTea Sisters before, and I’ll reiterate that I think they taste like chocolate-drizzled popcorn.  The cacao shells are surprisingly more buttery and savory than you would expect.  (Also, be aware that while the cacao shells don’t contain caffeine, they are technically stimulants, so make sure you brew this at a time that works around your sleep schedule).

The Cacao Shell Trio has three different blends, plan cacao shells, cacao and mint, and cacao citrus.  The plan cacao shells were comparable to other cacao teas I’ve tried in the past, a nice change of pace for the coffee-lover, or a lower-calorie take on a warm, chocolate beverage.

In the cacao mint blend the mint was very strong, like a less-sweet peppermint mocha.  It was a great blend to drink around christmas time, when everything is flavored like candy canes.  I would advise not over-steeping this blend, or else the mint really takes over.  Keep the steep times short to let the cacao shine through.

The cacao citrus  blend had both cacao shells and orange peels.  This was my favorite blend of the trio.  The orange peels were mild, but helped add dimension to the chocolate cacao.  This reminded me a bit of those chocolate oranges that come out around this time of year, or like some chocolate and orange pu erh teas I’ve tried in the past.  The buttery cacao shells were a nice pair with the tart and fruity orange peels.

Overall this trio was a great purchase and I’ll have to give more Oliver Pluff products a try in the future.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Oliver Pluff
Description: Martha Washington enjoyed steeping the shells of roasted cocoa nuts from the cacao tree for the interesting flavor and health benefits.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Bai Mudan Organic White Tea from Samovar Tea Lounge

Bai Mudan Organic White Tea from Samovar Tea Lounge
Bai Mudan Organic White Tea from Samovar Tea Lounge

Tea Information:

Leaf Type: White

Where to Buy: Samovar Tea Lounge

Tea Description:

Hand-picked, sun dried for three days, baked, then cured. Woody hints of roasted hazelnuts, and sweet corn. Lingering notes of hot cocoa. A golden infusion to soothe monkey mind. Explore the darkest of the white teas.

Tea Type: White

Origin: Fujian Province, China.

Caffeine Level: Low

Processing Details: Hand-picked, dried under the sunlight for 1-3 days and then briefly oxidized from 30 minutes to 3 hours, varying by weather, before being baked to package.

Tasting and Aroma Specs: Smooth, sweet, woody flavor with hints of roasted walnuts, sweet corn, and hot cocoa.

Food Pairing: Any dessert, including chocolate walnut brownies and Samovar’s Honeycomb Platter.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

The aroma of Bai Mudan Organic White Tea from Samovar Tea Lounge is so scrumptious that I almost don’t want to drink it, but I will. You don’t have to twist my arm either! I am not a big fan of white tea as a rule, but when I find one that I do like, I am overjoyed! I like this one a lot! Samovar spares no effort in finding the best teas to offer their consumers. I only wish there were a Samovar Tea Lounge local to me. I am happy that they offer their fine teas to us online, and if you keep reading you will find a special surprise for their online customers!

I agree that this tea would pair lovely with a dessert as mentioned in Samovar’s tea pairing suggestion, because it has such a sweet, yet earthy quality to it. I can see how it would compliment dessert beautifully. The notes of sweet corn are prominent, and the cup provides a full, but cleansing mouthfeel. I love the earthy flavor in this tea, and there is such a wonderful caramelized note within it but my taste buds keep going back to the more woodsy, nutty notes. There is also almost a mineral like quality to the tea that is deeply intriguing. A bit like a Wuyi rock mineral flavor without the oolong taste.

There is a velvety, buttery sensation on the palate as I allow it to sit in my mouth, and it causes a mouth watering effect in a slightly vegetal way. The tea finishes with a dash of sweetness that lingers on the palate but as you exhale you taste fresh hay, sunlit fields, a very slight flavor or sesame. I also think this tea would pair wonderfully with Asian food.

This tea is so mysterious, so much mystique, it romances your mouth and makes you want to just take sip after sip to uncover the next note, the next tease on your tongue. The sensation in the mouth long after the sip leaves it feeling slightly numbing, but not medicinal. It is sparkly and tingly, and kind of trippy.

And now, for a limited time, you can use coupon code sororiteasisters for 25% off any online order! The coupon is active now, and is good through May 11, 2013. This is an amazing discount offered by our friends at Samovar Tea Lounge. Thank you to Samovar for offering this special discount to our readers! The coupon is active now, and is good through May 11, 2013.

The head feel of this tea is something else! It leaves you feeling heady, dreamy, and a bit outside of yourself. This is a tea to drink before and after meditation, or when you just want to release and escape from the troubles of the world. Perhaps with a great book, or movie. This is like the champagne of tea, not to steal from the description of a darjeeling, but this is a tea you could toast to or serve at a romantic occasion, or as an aphrodisiac! It does release stress and gives you a freeing feeling.

Love it!