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?
Can hardly wait to taste the APRICOT!!!
Oh, boy! Another variety of tea to add to my collection. My husband will be soooo thrilled. I have several teas that I just love and try to have something different each day. Dilmah’s Yata Watte is a lovely, smooth tea that I tend to save for Sunday afternoon. Weekday mornings will find me sipping Typhoo, Rington’s Kenyan Gold, or Barry’s Gold. These I buy from Teadog.com. In the afternoon I might have Paris, Holiday Tea, or Tower of London by Harney & Sons. If I need a pick-me-up I might have Ginger Peach or 500 Mile Chai from Tao of Tea. If I’m having chocolate cake I especially like to have either Harney’s Valentine tea or Kusmi’s Spicy Chocolate tea. These are just a few of the teas I have on hand at any given time. Since variety is said to be the spice of life, it goes without saying that I have a very spicy one.
I love tea hot or iced, especially Earl Grey Imperial and African Autumn, a rooibos with cranberry and orange flavoring, both from Harney & Sons. They have a shop in NYC where you can taste the various teas before you buy. I love the tins their teas come in.
My favorite green tea is Green Tea Premium from YamaMoto of Japan. The Japanese green teas have a lovely slightly smokey note to them that no other ones seem to have.
The best place for tea in NYC is Tea and Sympathy, an English tea salon that does a full afternoon tea. They have a shop next door where I buy my darjeeling and tea accessories like hand knit tea cozies and strainers. Next door to that is their fish and chip place called A Salt and Battery.
This is very cool. I love discovering new teas and the history aspect is an added bonus. I can’t wait to give these a try.
How very interesting! I definitely look forward to hearing more about this company and enjoying their wares. Certainly wish them success.
Others have mentioned some of my favorite teas and tea merchants; but one must also include Darjeeling and good quality Jasmine. I do enjoy teas from The Charleston Tea Plantation. They were visionaries. My two tea plants which I purchased by mail from them 35+ years ago continue to thrive!
Hot or cold, tea is the nectar of the gods!!
I love the labels! I will have to try their teas sometime. My favorite tea was Tea Forte’s Flora in the silk pyramid bag with the cute little leaf that sticks out of the specially designed cafe cup but alas, I have not seen it listed in quite some time. I also love the Hot Cinnamon Spice by Harney and Sons. I recently bought a sampler package from PBS of the Downton Abbey teas. So far the two I tried were delicious. When I’m finished tasting them I plan on buying the larger can that has the characters on the label to display when emptied. I display cans that I love around the kitchen. I have a vintage mini Watkins Baking Powder can. I also love bottles with pretty labels. I have made aprons and crocheted covers for soda pop bottles. My chocolate mint plant is growing so I plan to make tea from fresh leaves. I love mint tea but have never made it before. Thank you for spot lighting this company.
I’m another tea lover! My dear Grandmother when I use to visit her
during the summer in the Sierra’s use to say “It’s tea time, pinkies out”
and she would send me out to her flower garden to pick some fresh flowers for the table and we would have herbal tea and biscuits with her homemade jam. She introduced me to teas and I felt so grownup with her at 10 years old. It’s hot here in No. Ca. and I’m doing sun tea everyday now. My large sun tea container sets out side in the Ca. sun seeping some good herbal flavors to enjoy and I love having different styles of glassware and cups to sip from. It’s definitely iced tea time here in Ca.! Enjoy your summer days…..Carmel
Thanks for information on a new company! I confess my favorite is Lyons Irish tea! Twinings Irish Breakfast tea is a close second. I drink it all day, even through the summer in the high desert of California! It’s unfortunate that there is not as much of an interest in tea out here in the west as there is in the east. I must look up the website! Thanks for sharing, and I too love Tea Time!
I love tea!
And, I love “TEA TIME”.
Thank you for this info and exposing me to this tea company.
Tea and history are my favorite hobbies. I love the packaging and wish Plufg the best of luck in discovering the bill of lading from the British East India Trading company. I just curated a merchants exhibit in our local museum
and having access to old bills brought the exhibit alive! Thank you for creating such a beautiful product!
What an interesting concept. I am definitely a tea lover and except for my one cup of coffee in the morning, the rest of the day is “devoted to drinking tea!!”
My favourite is still Earl Grey with lavender petals and I really like anything with ginger, lemon, cherry,or peach in it…hot or cold.
I simply cannot wait to find this company’s website and order some of their delicious sounding blends.
I am a fanatic tea drinker, hot every morning, iced during the day, and in cool weather, taking a cup of hot tea to bed with my book or kindle. One can never have too much flavorful tea.
Thank you Phyllis, for once again sharing a great and upcoming company with your readers. In addition to Victoria, I just may have to order Teatime as well!
How sweet, how fun I love it when we can learn more about our country, and it’s founder’s .
Thank you for sharing the background of this tea company. The packaging and history behind their products is wonderful. I’m already looking at the website and trying to decide which tea to order.
As a tea lover myself, and long time ‘TeaTime’ subscriber, I’m happy to see new entries into the market that will add even more variety to my choices.
Oh I totally agree. How fun to combine historic images and with historic tea recipes. I’m inspired to brew a cup right now!