Black currant is my favorite flavored black tea variety — there’s something about the nature of currants that marries especially well to the darker, heaver taste of a good black tea. Most flavored blacks don’t really let the tea body shine through; they’re heavily fruit or other flavoring agent, and that’s probably the way most Americans like it. Even crappy black currant is usually more dependable than other lesser flavored teas.
This one surprised me in a number of ways. First, when I opened it, I discovered clumps of something dark inside the tin — at first I thought they were balls of tea leaves. But no, they’re actually currants. Most of the time, currant teas are pure flavoring - they don’t often have fruit pieces inside them, so I was surprised by the presence of the currants themselves.
Second, it was way too weak when I brewed the first cup. Maybe there was too little tea and too many currants in the spoonful, maybe I’d let the water sit too long after the boil, but whatever the cause, it was not a good cup of tea. I was all set to not recommend it.
Today I used more tea, took it right off the boil, and it came out much richer and stronger — a nice dark liquor with a faint trace of purple in it from the fruit. The leaves are nice and big, there was no dust in the spoon, and no biting tannins after a slightly longer steep. This pairs really well with some cream and sugar, bringing the sweetness out with the extra fat. Very full-bodied, nice finish. I wasn’t so sure that my first Harney and Sons was worth it, but the second cup proved much better than the first. My new favorite black currant by a long shot.