Latest articles by Ciaran Keast for Plum Deluxe

Ciaran Keast

20+ Mother’s Day Tea Gifts She’s Going to Love

Is your mom a tea lover? Mine certainly is! And with Mother’s Day fast approaching, I’m already gathering up tea gifts for mom. If you’ve been struggling to find something for the tea loving mom in your life, here are over twenty Mother’s Day tea gifts we know they will adore. For Early Rising Moms […]

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celebration tea cocktail

Tea-Infused Pomegranate Celebration Cocktail

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Get ready to celebrate with a fun and festive Pomegranate Celebration Cocktail! Our new favorite way to toast friends and loved ones is a blend of gin, tea, and winter-time fruits, with chilled Prosecco floated on the top for a bubbly finish. It’s both sweet and tart, with hints of blueberry and pomegranate and herbal […]

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Overhead view of a bag of loose leaf herbal tea surrounded by two teacups and flowers.

Herbal Tea List of Herbs and Their Properties

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Herbal tisanes don’t actually contain any camellia sinensis, and so many folks regard them as being not as good. But herbs are amazing in their own right, with each plant having its own special properties and benefits. This herbal tea list will walk you through some of the most commonly-used ingredients and what they’re often […]

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How Long Does Tea Last In the Fridge?

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Iced tea: It’s cold, it’s refreshing, and it’s what everyone looks forward to on a warm day. Many folks like to make big batches of tea ahead of time, for easier as-needed sipping. But just how long will it stay good? Today, let’s answer the question of how long does tea last in the fridge. […]

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Gifts for People Who Like to Entertain

We love parties: throwing them, going to them, wining and dining with people we love. When invited to a party — or even a small gathering of friends or family — it’s good practice to bring a token of appreciation. Or maybe you just need a little something for a party-throwing friend. The best gifts […]

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Tea for Two: Featured Community Member Jess Humble

Plum Deluxe is not just a blog, not just an online tea shop… it’s a community. Our popular and growing tea of the month club community is full of wonderful, thoughtful, creative individuals. We’re forever grateful for them, and we’re taking time each month to feature them. Take a look at their favorite moments (see […]

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mindfulness lessons foraging taught me

Lessons in Mindfulness that Foraging Taught Me

Several years ago, my fascination with plant life led me to add foraging to my food gathering repertoire. These days, thanks to some herbalism training, I hunt both edible and medicinal plants. At this point, I don’t even realize I’m doing it; my tendency to hit the brakes for plants on the side of the […]

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matcha iced tea

Easy, Delicious Matcha Iced Tea Recipe

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It’s hot out, and iced tea is a great way to cool down. But what about that hot matcha habit you started over the winter? The answer is easy: ice it! We’ll show you how to stay cool and energized all summer long with this matcha iced tea recipe. Blending Iced Matcha While you can […]

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The Curious History of Earl Grey Tea

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Earl Grey tea has become a classic, ubiquitous at tea parties and overflowing with variations. As we’re celebrating Earl Grey Month all of June, I thought it would be fun to dive into the history of this most notable of Western tea blends and find out exactly who was earl grey. What Is Earl Grey […]

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Guide to Loose Leaf Tea for Beginners

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Loose leaf tea is gaining in popularity, with many people trying it for the first time. Not sure what to buy or how to brew it? Here’s our guide to loose leaf tea for beginners. Choosing Loose Leaf Tea While tea bags are convenient, most of the flavor is lost, which is why loose leaf […]

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tea leaf reading symbols

How to Interpret Tea Leaf Reading Symbols

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As a tea leaf reader, I often get asked what, exactly, reading tea leaves is and how it works — and how on earth I go about interpreting those tea leaf reading symbols. So I thought I’d share the basics of this fun and relatively simple form of divination. Pop the kettle on and let’s […]

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matcha tea layer cake

Sweet Spring Matcha Layer Cake

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If you like tea and dessert, you’ll love this traditional layer cake with matcha green tea buttercream icing. It makes a perfect dessert course for your next tea party. Bake the Cake The type of cake you use is up to you, but I like the way a good yellow cake balances out the sweetness […]

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Making Matcha Tea

Easy, Unpretentious Guide on How to Use Matcha Powder

Matcha, matcha, matcha — it’s all the rage these days. But it doesn’t look like your typical loose leaf tea, and making it can seem intimidating at first. Plus, what’s the big deal with it anyway? Is it really that great? Let’s dig in to the matcha tea powder craze and break it down! What […]

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Tea for Two: Darling Dates for You and Your Sweetie

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Want to do something unexpected with your date? Forget the tired old “dinner and a movie” cliché. Whether you’ve been together a long time or have just met, these tea for two date ideas are great ways to have fun and get to know your partner a little better. Be Romantic Light some candles, snuggle […]

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irish breakfast tea vs english breakfast tea

Breaking Breakfast: Irish vs English Breakfast Tea

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English and Irish Breakfast teas have been staples in many a home’s tea cupboard for generations. Its strong shot of caffeine and bracing tannins are an excellent companion to a hearty morning meal. But what, exactly, constitutes a breakfast tea, anyway? And what’s the difference between the varieties? Here’s the lowdown on the Irish Breakfast […]

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The Right Way to Brew Tea

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When it comes to making tea “the right way,” everyone has their own opinion. What kind of tea is best, how much to use, water temperature, brewing vessel — these and more are all factors when it comes time to brew a cuppa. The British even have an ongoing argument over whether the milk or […]

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cocoa and tea

Cocoa and Tea: The Perfect Combo for Cool-Weather Sipping

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This time of year, one of the biggest, most important questions we hot beverage lovers face is: cocoa or tea? Well, we have a solution for that. Instead of using hot water or milk to make your cocoa, you can use freshly brewed hot tea! Trust us, tea and cocoa are not as strange a […]

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Best Wines for Mulling Spices

Best Wines for Mulling Spices

It’s the season we pull out all the stops for things warm and comforting, for cinnamon and vanilla, for clove and ginger. It’s the time for giant mugs of hot cocoa, steaming cups of tea, and fortifying mulled wine — a long-standing traditional drink for cold climates that marries the warmth of alcohol with the […]

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How to Wish Good Health with the Right Gift

Sometimes we want to give gifts that encourage healthy living. As Count Rugen so wisely said in The Princess Bride, if you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything. Whether they’re planning their country’s 500th anniversary or just want to feel better in the new year, here are some gift ideas for wishing good […]

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The Kindness of Tea

The Kindness of Tea

Serving tea is serving kindness. Kindness can change the world. You are gifting a moment of peace, reflection, healing, warmth, and care. Your thoughts and intentions go into the leaves as you prepare them, are steeped into the water, and are consumed into the body. Tea is magic, and hope. Tea is love.

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pumpkin spice tea smoothie

Pumpkin Spice Tea Smoothie

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Can’t get enough of pumpkin? This Pumpkin Spice Tea Smoothie recipe will help you kickstart your day with lots of vitamins, flavor, and a bit of caffeine. Aside from the obvious seasonal pull, there are many reasons why you might want to gulp down the pumpkin. Mainly, that spooky jack-o-lantern is a superfood chock full […]

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Featured Community Member: Nancy

Plum Deluxe is not just a blog, not just an online tea shop… it’s a community. Our popular and growing tea of the month club community is full of wonderful, thoughtful, creative individuals. We’re forever grateful for them, and we’re taking time each month to feature them. Take a look at their favorite moments (see […]

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watermelon tea cocktail

Summertime Watermelon Tea Refresher

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The heat is beating down, and it’s prime time for cool sips and summer fruits. If you’ve been salivating over sun-kissed watermelon and Southern sweet tea, then this Summertime Watermelon Tea Refresher is the tea drink you’ve been waiting for — and it comes as a tea cocktail, too! It’s perfect for picnics, family gatherings, […]

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Featured Community Member: Stephanie R.

Plum Deluxe is not just a blog, not just an online tea shop… it’s a community. Our popular and growing tea of the month club community is full of wonderful, thoughtful, creative individuals. We’re forever grateful for them, and we’re taking time each month to feature them. Take a look at their favorite moments (see […]

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Green Tea Sangria

Garden Grove Green Tea Sangria

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Looking for the perfect accompaniment to your warm weather cocktail hour or backyard barbecue? This green tea sangria recipe makes use of seasonal fruits and sweet, light rosé wine to invoke the feelings and flavors of summer. Any kind of icy cold green tea works wonderfully to make a refreshing sangria, but we thought we’d […]

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Featured Community Member: Tea Silvestre Godfrey

Plum Deluxe is not just a blog, not just an online tea shop… it’s a community. Our popular and growing tea of the month club community is full of wonderful, thoughtful, creative individuals. We’re forever grateful for them, and we’re taking time each month to feature them. Take a look at their favorite moments (see […]

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arnold palmer cocktail recipe

3 Arnold Palmer Drink Recipes With a Cocktail Twist

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Step aside, sweet tea! The Arnold Palmer is teeing up to be the go-to summertime punch. What’s an Arnold Palmer, you may ask? It’s a blend of iced tea and lemonade named after the famous professional golfer, who was known to order the drink at country club bars. We are utterly besotted with them, especially […]

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fruit tea sandwiches

Fresh + Fruity Tea Sandwich Recipes — Plus Perfect Tea Pairings

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Who doesn’t love tea sandwiches? They’re perfectly sized for mess-free nibbling, and they’re just fun to eat. Most tea sandwich recipes focus on savory ingredients, like egg salad, but let’s not forget the sweet! Any time you have a bounty of fresh fruit that is just dying to join you at tea time is a […]

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best iced tea pitcher

The Best Loose Leaf Iced Tea Makers for Your Summer Sipping

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So you want to make some iced tea, huh? Awesome! Iced tea is lovely any time of the year, but it really shines during the warmer spring and summer months. Iced sweet tea has been popular down South for generations, and the craze is finally catching on. Nowadays — just as with automatic hot tea […]

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green tea 101

Green Tea 101: Raise a Cup to Your Health

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With the release of our line of unflavored Royale tea blends as well as our new Inner Calm Green Tea, we thought it was time to delve a little deeper into the world of tea knowledge. Today, we’re getting up close and personal with green tea. What Makes It Green? As you may remember from […]

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Featured Community Member: Paulina Thorne

Plum Deluxe is not just a blog, not just an online tea shop… it’s a community. Our popular and growing tea of the month club community is full of wonderful, thoughtful, creative individuals. We’re forever grateful for them, and we’re taking time each month to feature them. Take a look at their favorite moments (see […]

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black tea 101

Black Tea 101: Digging Deeper Into the World of Tea

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Black tea is just… black tea, right? It’s a bit more nuanced than that. We thought it was time to delve a little deeper into the world of tea knowledge, so today we’re taking a closer look at black tea. What Makes It Black? All tea comes from the same plant, a tree-like shrub called […]

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chronic illness tips

How to Survive a Loved One’s Chronic Illness

We’d only been together for a few years when my husband was diagnosed with a severe case of Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune condition that affects every day of our lives. It is estimated that up to half the adults living in the United States deal with some form of chronic illness, which means that there […]

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tea biscotti recipe

An Almond Royale Tea Biscotti Recipe for Teatime Perfection

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Mmm, biscotti — that crispy, crunchy cookie that pairs perfectly with a good cup of tea. Our lovely black teas are especially delicious with biscotti, and what better way to enjoy them together than to combine them into a yummy Almond Royale Tea Biscotti recipe! It’s easy and will be your new go-to for tea […]

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Featured Community Member: Kari Norman

Plum Deluxe is not just a blog, not just an online tea shop… it’s a community. Our popular and growing tea of the month club community is full of wonderful, thoughtful, creative individuals. We’re forever grateful for them, and we’re taking time each month to feature them. Take a look at their favorite moments (see […]

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Custom Tea: The Best Tea Wedding Favors

The favors you give away at your wedding should be a reflection of you as a couple as well as as a way to thank guests for sharing this occasion with you. Wondering what will best commemorate your special day? These tea wedding favor ideas can also be used for bridal shower favors, bridesmaid gifts, […]

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high tea bridal shower

How to Host a High Tea Bridal Shower

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Bridal shower season is upon us, and with the popularity of television shows like “Downton Abbey” stirring people into a tea-loving frenzy, there’s no better time to break out the teacups. Throwing your bride-to-be a high tea bridal shower is elegant and easy, and it doesn’t have to feel stuffy, either. Choose a Theme So, […]

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beverage math

Party Math: Figuring Out How Much Beverage to Serve at Your Event

Everything is ready for your event: the invitations have been sent, the menu is planned, and the space is decorated. You even made up a playlist of the perfect party music. Nothing else to worry about, right? Not so fast! Unless the only libation you’re serving is water from the tap, you still need to […]

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toffee chocolate bark recipe

This Bark Is Better In Bites: 3 Chocolate Bark Recipes Beyond Peppermint

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Are you tired of holiday-themed peppermint bark? Me, too! But I always have room in my life for classic chocolate bark. Here’s the master plan for making your own chocolate treats, plus three chocolate bark recipes your sweet tooth — and your sweetie — will love. Find Some Flavor The awesome thing about chocolate bark […]

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The Best High-End Tea Making Machines for the Perfect Morning Cuppa

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Do you ever wish you could wake up in the morning to a preprogrammed machine making your tea for you? You know, kind of like all those coffee drinkers do? Well, you can! It’s rather funny how I, as a self-proclaimed tea snob, didn’t realize until recently that automatic loose tea makers do exist. All […]

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tea party baby shower

How to Host a Tea Party Themed Baby Shower: Ideas, Recipes, and More

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Oh, baby, put the kettle on! If you’re like me, half the gals you know are expecting, and at any given time you could be called upon to host a shower. Never fear — these tea party themed baby shower ideas will have them laughing with joy. Choose a Theme The first order of business […]

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Hot Toddy Recipe Basics: Warm Up With This Medicinal Cocktail

The hot toddy has a reputation as a medicinal, go-to-when-you’re-sick kind of beverage. While it can still be great for that (it’s sort of history’s version of NyQuil — but tastier), today’s more modern twists make it a terrific cold-weather cocktail. Here’s how to whip up some hot toddy goodness for yourself in three easy […]

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Tea and Soup Pairings to Ward Off the Winter Blues

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Nothing says “comfort” on a winter day quite like a bowl of soup or a cup of hot tea. So why choose between the two when you can have both? Here are some of our favorite tea and soup combos. Perfect Partners When it comes to pairing soups and tea, the usual convention of matching […]

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Keepin’ It Real Hot: How to Prevent Your Tea from Cooling Down

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You’ve finally settled down with a nice, big cup of tea and you’re ready for an evening of sipping and reading. Or maybe this mug is going to get you through the next phase of that project you’re working on. Either way, it’s almost guaranteed that — unless you guzzle it without consideration for burning […]

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Spice and Everything Nice: 30 Ways to Use Mulling Spices

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With the cold and chill of winter on its way, the time has come to stock up on warm and cozy things like blankets, candles, and Plum Deluxe’s own hand-blended mulling spices. I often get asked how to use mulling spices, and the answer is actually pretty simple: Treat them the same way you treat […]

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The Language of Tea: From Gezelligheid to Elevenses

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What’s in a name? I mean, a tea party, by any other term, is still a tea party, right? Maybe, or maybe not. Sometimes, it’s something deeper. Grab yourself a cuppa, and let’s explore the language of tea from around the world! Stay Cozy, My Friends When we invite someone to tea — or are […]

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Tea Lover’s Bucket List

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From tea with the queen to tea party picnics, every tea lover has goals. We understand, so we’ve made a checklist to get you started. Print it out, hang it up, and have fun! Don’t forget to add some ideas of your own, as well.

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Exploring the Natural Wonders of Glacier National Park

I spent a lot of time in the woods and mountains as a kid; my family really loves hiking, camping, and seeking out scenic vistas. It’s certainly why I enjoy nature walks as an adult. I’m not really a hardcore hiker — I’m too partial to showers and smelling pleasant — but I do love […]

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A Weekend Getaway in Glacier Country, Montana

Gorgeous vistas, adorable towns, plentiful activities, and delicious food: This is Montana’s Glacier Country, situated in and around Glacier National Park. It’s perfect for a weekend getaway — although you may find yourself wanting to stay longer! This was my first trip to Montana, and I admit that I expected lots of country music, cowboy […]

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Taste the Craze with Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

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Have you had enough pumpkin spice yet? No? Good, because we just baked up a little something wonderful for you with our seasonal Deluxe Pumpkin Spice Tea! For those of you not in the know, pumpkin spice-flavored items have been taking the nation by storm these past few years with everything from coffee, cookies, and […]

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Ways to Use Loose Leaf Tea

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Here at Plum Deluxe, any time is tea time! But did you realize there’s more to it than just the beverage? As our resident tea fanatic, I am happy to provide you with a bazillion (okay, 42) ways to use loose leaf tea, arranged in alphabetical order for your pleasure. Some are for drinking, some […]

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18 Places to Stick Your Chai

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We are excitedly gearing up for chai season — which pretty much lasts from the end of August until February (or maybe that’s just me). That’s a long time, so how to keep things… spiced up? Here are 18 ways to use chai that differ from the usual tea-in-the-cup routine. Food Believe it or not, […]

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Two Green Tea Treats to Revolutionize Your Tea Time

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At tea time — or any other time, really — a bit of a nibble really hits the spot. Cakes and cookies are all well and good, but sometimes it’s nice to stir things up. Instead of scones, how about a scrumptious chocolate bark made with almonds and green tea? Or maybe you’d like to […]

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How to Build the Perfect Tea Station

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Every bed and breakfast I’ve ever stayed at has had some kind of tea station for guests, and it’s always such a lovely, luxurious touch that I’m sad to leave behind. The good news is that it’s actually quite easy to appropriate this idea for your own space. Find Places Okay, first you’ll need to […]

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Summer Sweet Tea Rib Rub for Grilling Goodness

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When it’s too hot to use the oven, we here at Plum Deluxe like to get our grill on. And what better way to spend a summer evening than enjoying some barbecue? We recently took a pile of pork ribs into our outdoor test kitchen — I mean, back porch — along with our Summer […]

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Fancy Tea Ice Cubes to Chill You Out

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Welcome back to summer! Or, as we like to call it, iced tea season. This year, we’re taking our iced tea (and other chilly drinks) to a whole new level, and we’re inviting you along for the ride. So let’s talk details. Let’s talk about your ice cubes. Fancy Ice Trays First things first, you’ll […]

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How to Throw a Back Porch Pizza Party

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This feature was brought to you by Stonefire Authentic Flatbreads. Who doesn’t love a good pizza party? This well-loved tradition is perfect for everything from large gatherings to intimate date nights. No pizza oven? No problem. We’ll get a little help from some yummy pre-made, stone oven-baked crusts. Set the Scene This is so not […]

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Feel the Fizz: Sparkling Tea Spritzers for Back Porch Sipping

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We’ve discussed homemade soda here before, but not with tea in it! Okay, sure, you could buy tea soda at the store. But why do that when you can whip up something yummy and custom at home with just a tiny bit of work? Plus, your drink will have far less sugar than a store-bought […]

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Just Brew It: 4 Ways to Make Loose Leaf Tea Without an Infuser

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Alright, you just brought home some loose leaf tea (or maybe received your first Plum Deluxe tea club order) and you can’t wait to make a cup! But hold up — you totally forgot to pick up a tea ball at the store. Or maybe you’ve lost all your mesh infusers. What to do? Don’t […]

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Brighten Your Day with a Hibiscus Herbal Tea Smoothie

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I don’t know about you, but sunny days make everything seem better. On days I need a little extra sunshine in my life, I like to whip up a special smoothie with berries, Greek yogurt, and our Sunshine In a Cup hibiscus herbal tea. Shiny, Happy Goodness Okay, what’s so special about this smoothie? Let’s […]

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Tea and Cheese Pairings for Party Perfection

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We humans are a little obsessed with pairs; from watching celebrity power couples to setting up our friends on dates to shipping fictional pairings in television shows and books, we like nothing more than a good romance. Unsurprisingly, we’re not much different when it comes to our food. Wine and cheese, wine and chocolate, and […]

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A Tight Squeeze: How to Host a (Tea) Party In a Small Space

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I started out serving tea to friends in my tiny dorm room at college. Back then, I’d take a sturdy box, set it open-side-down on the floor, and cover it with a little tablecloth I’d borrowed from my mother during my last trip home. Pillows piled on the floor served as seats. It wasn’t fancy, […]

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Creme de la Creme: Flavored Creams to Heighten Your Tea-Drinking Delight

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Here at Plum Deluxe, we’re kind of obsessed with infusing things: vodka, sugar, salt. That’s because infusions are one of the easiest ways to put your personal stamp on your culinary masterpieces. So it should come as no surprise that today we’re sharing a new twist on our old favorite: infused creams! Making infused creams […]

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Be a Salty Dog: Infused Sea Salts for Kitchen and Bath

Remember not too long ago when we made infused sugar? Well, we’re going to do it again — only this time we’re going savory! Here’s how to make your very own infused salts for kitchen and bath. For Kitchen We throw salt into our food almost without thinking, but what if that salt could pack […]

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Four Movies for Teatime Entertainment

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It’s amazing how many movies use tea as a plot device or to set a scene. From love stories and rivalries to grand poetry and murder, many things have happened over a cup. With that in mind, we’ve chosen four films you might like to show during your next tea party, along with pairing suggestions. […]

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A Freshly Minted Cocktail for Year-round Enjoyment

When we first blended our Evergreen Mint Tea, I was blown away by its extraordinarily minty — yet well-balanced — potency. But I confess, I don’t normally drink mint tea straight up, so I decided to do a little experimentation. The results? My friends, this tea makes a Really. Good. Grasshopper. (Teahopper? Mintyhopper?) The creme […]

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Getting Fancy With Infused Sugars

Want to take your sweet tooth to the next level? Infused sugars are easy to make and can be utilized in a number of deliciously awesome ways. Stir them into hot beverages, shake them up in cocktails, or sprinkle them over baked goods. They also make great little gifts when poured into a tin and […]

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Elderflower White Wine Sangria

For a recent family get-together, I wanted to serve something light and sweet that would evoke feelings of celebration — and, after champagne, nothing says “happiness” to me like sangria. I love the way elderflower liqueur complements the nuances of orange and pineapple in Vidal Blanc, a up-and-coming white wine grape that is used in […]

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Sweet Things: 3 Sugar Alternatives to Love

What was that, sweetie? You’re thinking about cutting down on sugar? Well, good on you! If you’re anything like the Plum Deluxe crew, though, you’d rather not turn to artificial sweeteners. Never fears, my dears, we have three all-natural alternatives that will hit your sweet tooth just right. Stevia You’ve no doubt seen stevia branded […]

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Sweet and Spicy Chai Rice Pudding

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During the colder months, my beverage of choice is, inevitably, chai. It’s lovely piping hot in a mug with milk or mixed in a variety of cocktails. I love it so much, I usually blend a huge batch and give it away to people for Christmas. But chai is good for more than just drinking; […]

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4 Surprising Add-Ins for Tea

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When it comes to doctoring up your tea, cream and sugar are all you need, right? And maybe a lemon wedge now and then if you’re feeling adventurous. My friends, there are so many other delicious tea add-ins to explore! Even if you’re a tea purist, I think you’ll have a hard time resisting these. […]

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The Perfect Vanilla MarTEAni

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I don’t know about you, but as much as I love a good cup of tea, as soon as 5:00 hits I’m ready for something a bit… stronger. Yes, dear readers, I am talking about vodka, and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way. If you, too, are ready to turn […]

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Best Apps for Tea Time

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Shout out to all you tea lovers! There’s an app for everything these days, and tea is no exception. Naturally, we’ve been downloading and playing with some of the fantastic different apps out there, and we’ve agreed on a few favorites. Here are some of our top picks for Mac and Android users who enjoy […]

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Skin So Sweet: Honey Treatments for Your Body

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Hey there, honey. No, not you, silly reader — I’m talking to honey, that delectable and versatile gift from the bees. For so long we’ve been using it in our tea or spreading it on our toast, but there’s even more depth to this sweetie. Here’s why you should drizzle it on your face instead. […]

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Spice Is Nice: Three Perfect Chai Cocktails

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It’s my favorite time of year: chai season! Actually, if you know anything about me you know I think any time or season is perfect for chai, but the crisp air and spicy scents of fall make the autumn months even more so. To celebrate, I thought I’d share some of my very special, very […]

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Cocktail DIY: How To Make Your Own Flavored Vodka

Vodka has the uncanny — and rather well-known — ability to leech flavor and color from anything steeped in it. And flavored vodka is good for a great many things, from cocktails to cooking to generally just impressing your friends. To make your own, all you need is a little imagination! (Ok, you’ll need a […]

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