Jennifer Commins of Pluck Tea at the Shangri-la in Toronto

Jennifer Commins of Pluck Tea at the Shangri-la in Toronto

If there is good tea revolution it is perfectly embodied by Jennifer Commins of Pluck Tea. Commins is a Tea Sommelier and a George Brown trained chef, but she paid her dues in the design world before launching Pluck. It’s a bespoke, loose leaf tea supplying business that will celebrate its first birthday on March 1. Commins uses sustainably grown teas and other exotic aromatics and blends them with locally grown fruits and herbs. “When I saw Jamie Kennedy eating one of my fruit teas with his hands,” she explains, “I knew I was on the right track.”

Pluck Tea is run from a loft office in Riverdale, which doubles as a storehouse and packing centre; when I spoke to Commins recently she was assembling 750 tins of custom blended tea for an event at the Shangri-la. She says she’s puzzled as to why more restaurants don’t pay attention to their tea service. She explains, “It’s usually the last thing customers experience before they pay the bill and leave,” adding the margins on tea ought to be attractive enough for more restaurants to become interested.

Pluck Tea selections

Part of Pluck Tea’s service is staff training, and while Commins says she gets a few eye rolls from skeptical sommeliers and waitstaff, most come on board once they see the possibilities of a proper tea program. Among her most enthusiastic clients, Commins reports, are chefs like Kennedy, Brad Long from Café Belong, and Eric Wood at The Beverly Hotel to name a few. In fact she’ll only name a few as she’s careful about tipping off a growing number of competitors trading on the new interest in tea.

Pluck Tea can also be found in a handful of retailers, like McEwan Foods, and online at the Pluck Tea website.

Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the company that publishes it. Follow him at