I am not a picky tea drinker. I know some people only drink pure, unsweetened, unflavored loose-leaf which I admire but could never do—sure, I enjoy a cup of pure oolongy goodness, but I also like putting crazy things in my tea like cookie butter or milk candy. I also like teabags when they’re high-quality: I mean, you really can’t beat the convenience! I haven’t tried a whole lot of the nicer ones though, mostly grocery store offerings. The good ones I’ve tried have come almost exclusively from my local asian grocery store. So when I saw a few teabags in my fire sale/stash clearout box from Emilie (which got to me 2 days after I ordered it—talk about fast shipping!), I was pretty enthusiastic about trying them out.
The name of this is so wonderfully evocative—Black Raven! Makes me think of creepy poetry (obviously, since it’s named for Poe), dark nights, fog, strange noises… and it also makes me want to try my hand at a Lovecraft blend. But what would I flavor it with, madness and ooze? Black Raven is flavored with the much more appealing blackcurrant, which has become a favorite flavor of mine since I found out it’s the berry goodness in Paris. Plus this is decaf, which means I can safely drink it before bed. I am not really that affected by black teas normally, or at least I usually seem to think that… my sleep schedule is so weird that I’m trying to switch to only decaf and herbals and see if that helps. So this tea has an evocative name, one of my favorite flavors, AND no caffeine—a winner right from the start!
The bag doesn’t really smell like anything, but then again bagged teas usually don’t. Brewed, though, it’s nicely fragrant. This is a smooth, brisk, clean black—not overly complex, but warm and comforting. The blackcurrant is bright and lively, with jammy berry notes and that rich fruit flavor it brings to tea. This is so very English I feel like I should be sitting in a cafe in London drinking it! One of the best bagged blends I’ve had for sure.