Pluck Pekoe is Here!
A journey of a 7271 miles that started with a single steep.
For ages now, we have been asking ourselves, “Why is the Orange Pekoe tea offering on retail shelves so stale?” (Literally and figuratively). Certainly this question has also crossed your mind, dear reader.
From the fannings and dusty tea particles packed into plastic-sealed tea bags, to flimsy shrink-wrapped paper cartons that do little to maintain freshness, 'Orange Pekoe' (a uniquely Canadian marketing term) has been long overdue for a reboot.
How it started.
Our founder Jennifer grew up in a home where Orange Pekoe ruled the tea cupboard, and there were strong opinions about which brand was ‘good’ and which was ‘just awful’. (She’s got the collectable figurines to prove it!)
Fun fact: this kind of brand allegiance is uniquely common to Orange Pekoe tea drinkers, and they will not be persuaded to change brands easily.
So why on earth would a small upstart tea company like Pluck want to take the mega-brands on?
We created three unique Pluck Pekoe blends for three types of tea drinkers (or times of day) Light, Medium, and Bold.
- Tea is the fermented and dried new growth leaves of the tea plant, camellia sinensis. First, leaves are plucked (by hand in the case of our Organic Pekoe) then rolled, (to break down the cell walls and get the fermentation party started!) and dried. Depending on the tea factory, the leaves may be cut into various sizes during processing to achieve different results and price points. Tea is then graded by size and character using a confusing and quite subjective letter and number-based system that we won’t get into here.
- Here’s a good rule of thumb (or pinkie, if you will): The smaller the tea particles in a tea bag, the faster the tea steeps, and the darker the colour will be. However, because the tea leaf structure has been destroyed, and all particles exposed to the air in the process, the resulting tea will likely have a dull flavour profile and a short leave. Meaning, the tea flavour will leave the mouth early. Sad.
- By keeping our Organic Pekoe tea leaves in larger pieces, the tea is fresher and more complex, and their great flavour will stick around.
Pluck purchases the tea leaves for Pluck Pekoe from an Organic, Rainforest-Alliance Certified farm in the mountains of Rwanda.
Most of the big Orange Pekoe brands are still using tea bag filter paper that contains Polypropylene or Polyethylene which allows the bag to be sealed during manufacturing, using heat. (So yeah… melted plastic. Yuck.) At Pluck we use only plant-based compostable tea bag materials that are sealed ultrasonically (using sound waves! Cool!) and are petroleum-based plastic-free.
In addition, our Pluck Organic Pekoe collection is certified Rainforest Alliance and Organic (and Kosher, and Vegan). We have directly partnered with a farm in Rwanda as our sole supplier for these delicious teas, drastically reducing supply chain complexity, travel time, and travel distance.
Perhaps best of all (and we really debated letting you in on this little secret) our teas can be re-steeped. Yes that’s right… go ahead and save the tea bag from your first cuppa, and you can pour freshly boiled water on that bag for a second serving. The second cup will be milder than the first, but you may notice some different flavour notes emerging. If you typically enjoy tea with milk, add a little less the second time.
A tea plucker in harvests organic, Rainforest-Alliance Certified tea for Rwanda Mountain Tea.
With the launch of our new Organic Pekoe, we have cemented a unique and innovative direct-trade agreement with the farmers that produce these incredible teas. In addition to paying a fair price per kilogram for this tea, directly to the tea growers, we have also created a unique social premium program where we pay an additional fee per unit of tea purchased to contribute to important community initiatives such as free childcare, schooling, and clean water.
The purchase of Pluck Pekoe directly supports free childcare and education for the children of tea pluckers in the field.
Pluck Organic Pekoe Varieties:
Milk in first? Milk in second? It matters not. You may not add milk at all! You’re a straight-up kind of person looking for a light and refreshing tea with minimal astringency.
Brew Strength: Light
You’re a lover of the classics, but you seek something beyond your grandmother’s tea. (Of course, you’ll drink it if she serves it to you, because that’s only polite.) An elevated, smooth and balanced take on a classic Orange Pekoe. Milk, sugar, lemon, or straight up - it’s up to you!
Brew Strength: Medium
You are a serious tea lover who seeks a full-flavoured steeping experience. You might have strong opinions about things. (Especially tea.) This tea delivers on intensity, and is a full-bodied blend for fans of strong black teas. Excellent with milk.
Brew Strength: Strong