Portlander Andy Hayes is as passionate about the ritual of slowing down with a cup of tea as he is about the ingredients inside the cup.
The founder of local, organic, and Fair Trade loose leaf tea program Plum Deluxe, Hayes was inspired to create the company after losing his mother Pam to breast cancer—the woman who taught him to always enjoy the little things in life. For each tea Hayes blends, he begins with an intention to create a singular calm moment—like the right blend for snuggling up with a book, a tea for holiday celebrations, or the perfect tea for that contented moment after a big meal.
Plum Deluxe's online-only shop offers a rotating selection of about a dozen signature blends, a blog with tips for slowing down and appreciating the moment, and a popular Tea of the Month club with a community of subscribers in over 40 states. For $10 a month, tea lovers receive up to two ounces of a limited-edition tea blend—enough for about 20 cups—along with an additional tea sample, brewing tips, pairing suggestions, and tasting notes from Hayes. Subscribers can choose between caffeinated or caffeine-free blends, and can change their minds at any time. Popular blends from previous months include warming Harvest Chai (with ginger, cinnamon, rooibos, cardamom, and vanilla bean) and Black Magic (black tea with vanilla, rose, and lemon balm), and each comes with a letter explaining the intention behind the flavors of the month to help create those moments that matter.
"My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 59, and the subsequent 5 years of her life while she battled the disease were some of the best years of her life," shares Hayes. "She took the opportunity for self-care days and spa treatments. She went out to dinner parties with friends to celebrate each day, and went to the gym regularly and became very fit. She laughed more. She traveled more. My mom taught me that no matter your circumstances, you can choose to create moments that matter, every day. And some of the most enjoyable moments are the small things—time to sleep in, relax in a reading nook, go on a neighborhood walk, or catch up with an old friend over a cup of tea."