Beware. This is going to get long.
I had an AC Perch’s order arrive yesterday, but it was mainly a stock-up parcel, so this one was the only new thing in it. (Meanwhile Chi of Tea is tempting me with tempting temptyness, but my bank account insists that I wait until nearer to the end of the month. Oh well.)
To me black currant is a classic flavoured black flavour. When I was a child, my mother would only occasionally have a cup of tea. Mainly if she had asked me dad if she should make so coffee and he hadn’t wanted any, she would sometimes make a cup of tea instead. Or sometimes, I could get her to have a cup of tea with me.
That was way before I really started liking it much and I could only have it with milk and sugar, otherwise I didn’t like it. But having a cup of tea with my mother made me feel like a big girl, because I was drinking something hot with my mother the way she and my dad had coffee. It was just your average mediocre teabags with artificial flavouring, mostly, and black currant was my mother’s preferred flavour. And that’s why it has come to represent classicism in tea flavouring for me.
So I was thinking recently-ish that I wanted to try some more berry flavoured stuff and explore that area for a while. Mainly due to the awesome raspberry oolong and the sudden emptying of the 4 Red Fruits tin from Kusmi. I was inspired, I guess. So I looked at what was available at AC Perch’s, found three interesting things (strawberry, black currant and blackberry.) and then agonised for a while over where to start.
Due to the above story, that turned out to be black currant.
As usual I’m throwing AC Perch’s brewing recommendations over my shoulder and hopping along my own little merry way. There’s just no way I’m going to voluntarily steep a black for seven minutes on the first go. It’s a lovely company, but their steeping instructions are so not for my particular taste. I consider myself sufficiently experienced to know better at this point.
The aroma is kind of sweet and creamy. There are some fairly large vanilla hints in there which pushes the actual berry (is black currant a true berry?) a little more towards the background. Of course it’s a bit difficult to tell for certain at this point, since I got distracted and didn’t get around to making aroma notes until after it had cooled some. I find that this always diminishes the aroma to some degree. Anyway, sweet, creamy and with black currant mingled with vanilla notes. It rather smells like dessert.
I wonder what sort of black this is based on. It seems to be a rather hearty one because I’m getting a lot of natural tea flavour out of it, but without any of the hints that would help me make an educated guess as to which part of the world we were talking about. I suspect Indian or Ceylon. Probably a mix. This seems to be fairly common with flavoured blacks.
There is lots and lots of black currant in this. It even has that tart sort of astringency that you get from the fruit. My tongue is feeling all prickly and shrivelly at the moment. It tickles! It’s not overwhelmingly fruity, however. You could probably drink an entire cup and not recognise it if you weren’t paying attention, but if you do pay attention, it’s very easy to find. It’s completely interwoven into the tea flavours that it end up feeling like a seamless whole.
The aftertaste has a lot more of that creamy vanilla-ness. It doesn’t taste like it has had milk added while you drink it, but the aftertaste does. It adds to the feeling of it being a dessertish sort of tea. I’m reminded a little of the strawberry zabaglione from 52teas. The creamy sweetness of this one is very reminiscent of that, only not quite as obviously custard-y.
It’s very nice, this. I’m not sure if I’ll be needing more than this one batch in the long run, though. Only time will tell.