I just love hot tea! The flavors are incredible and it is always a welcomed time in the day to sit and enjoy a cup. Publishing TeaTime affords us the great opportunity to sample all kinds of teas from wonderful companies.
Oliver Pluff & Company really got my attention because of the packaging. I am a history buff and I was drawn to the exquisitely illustrated labels on the tea cans. I sat down with the proprietor of the company, Kyle Brown, to learn more.
Phyllis: What inspired the packaging for your teas?
Kyle: Our vision is to connect people to American heritage through historic beverages. We package our products with art and fonts that help our customers step back in time. These historic images are an important part of the experience and the finished products. Oliver Pluff & Co. is the leader in the Early American tea niche, a market that is growing quickly with all the new interest in tea. Many of our connections to the history of tea in America are decidedly Southern, which gives us a chance to tell lesser known stories from the Charleston Tea Party, or to share old Charleston recipes for iced green tea cocktails.
Phyllis: Where does the name Oliver Pluff originate?
Kyle: We invented and trademarked the name of a fictional character who was born in England, then immigrated to America as a tea trader, Oliver Pluff. For those who are not familiar with the Charleston area, “pluff” is a soft coastal mud that reveals itself at low tide.
Phyllis: Are your logos for each tea from a specific historic town or place that you love?
Kyle: The art we select is relevant to American history during the colonial years. We employ designs such as a Paul Revere silver teapot and the tea tax stamp of King George III. The American colonies were enveloped in a tea craze, but they were also experimenting wildly with all the newly discovered botanicals of the day.
Tea, coffee, and cacao were exotic and expensive imports that were all served in the taverns of the colonial era. Our product line of historic beverages now includes tea, coffee, cacao shell, and wassail spice blends. We still have work to do to bring a few more tea products to market that were sold by the British East India Company. There were plenty of teas with obscure names going around such as Singlo, Congou, and Twankay. I have a goal to complete the entire line of products that the colonists were drinking and make them available for sale, as well as the ceramics and silver that were used for brewing.
Phyllis: What do you love most about your business?
Kyle: We hear from so many people who find us and are elated to discover a company that is focused on American tea traditions and culture. We just began a program through the History Department at the College of Charleston to begin year-round tea history research from the archives in Charleston. It would be a dream to lay eyes on the bills of lading from the British East India Company and share the images with our customers. They are going to be so excited to see what we dig up!
My collection of fabulous tea containers continues with this find. Thank you, Kyle, for sharing your story with us.
Do you drink hot tea? What is your favorite?