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Tea: Black Currant

02 Jan

I picked up 50 grams of Black Currant tea from TotaliTea in early December, based largely on the amazing scent.  That being said, I didn’t want to get too much tea from a new place, because not all tea is created equal!

Dry, this tea smells juicy and sweet – absolutely wonderful!  It starts with a black tea base and then black currants and black currant leaves are added for flavour.

When steeped, the scent remains, though it starts smelling a little less juicy, and a little more ‘candy’.

First taste

The taste, is disappointing.  There isn’t much of the fruity flavour, and even with a little bit of sweetener, there’s a  ‘bitter’ taste to the tea that I don’t care for.  I only steeped it for 3 minutes, so I am sure that I didn’t over-steep it… but for next time I’ll have to try steeping it for a lot less time or adding more sweetener. The package says that it is really good iced, so I might have to test that out too.

There are a few quick comments about this tea (or at least, a black currant black tea) on the Culinary Teas website.  The Little Yellow Teapot reviewed a black currant tea from The English Tea Store and quite liked it with milk and sweetener – which makes met think that giving it another try might be a good idea.  They also did a review of the tea chilled, which definitely does sound worth another try…

Black Currant from TotaliTea

Second taste

I brewed up cups 3 and 4 (and then 5 as well) with the same leaves, but this time added more sweetener and milk – and this made a huge difference to the taste of the tea.  The juiciness returned, and the bitterness was gone.  I only steeped it this time for about 2 minutes which might have made a difference.  On the 5th infusion the taste was starting to go, so I popped the 6th in the fridge to try it iced before it was exhausted.

Chilled

The fifth infusion was ok chilled, but definitly lacking flavour.

All that remains

One of my disappointments, was that TotaliTea had pre-packaged the tea.  I have this inner monologue that somehow doesn’t think it will be as good as when they scoop it out of the larger tin upon request – though considering that it’s not ground coffee or something, I wasn’t sure WHY this didn’t sit right with me.

When I got home and tried it, I figured it out – when it’s loose leaf, they scoop the leaves (etc) out of the bin from the top – all of those small particles (broken/crushed leaves, etc) shift to the bottom of the bin.  That means that you’re generally getting the larger leaves and things – but when it’s been in these packages, it’s easy for the whole thing to get crushed/etc again.  I ended up with a LOT of sediment for a loose-leaf tea at the bottom of my cup with this one.

So, have you tried the black currant tea?  What did you think?  Let me know in the comments below!

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8 Comments

Posted by on January 2, 2012 in South-West Calgary, Tea & Beverages

 

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8 responses to “Tea: Black Currant

  1. Fu

    May 26, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Sorry about that. Yeah, that was all I was wondering really, what the quality of the tea tasted like. I Have tried the Black Current tea at Totalitea. It isn’t suppose to be sweet at all. It’s all natural tea with the natural flavor of actual Black Current and it really does taste natural and a nice smooth finish when you make it right on it’s own. I usually don’t make it right aways because the amount of tea that I put in isn’t always precise. I’m surprised that you can get more than one steeping let alone almost five steepings out of black tea. I usually can get only one, the second one isn’t as robust flavor to me anymore, which yeah, would probably make a good ice tea at that point. The Black Current tea is fine. I really like the flavor a lot.

    I have got teas from other tea shops than Totalitea and have compared the tea. Some places do have the same top quality tea as Totalitea and some, I notice that the tea leaves weren’t very bright (usually it means either old tea or not a very good quality tea in the production process), the smell wasn’t as fragrant either. Taste wise wasn’t as strong, so I think it all depends on the tea drinker and how they like their tea. I do like mine all natural and that nice smooth finish. Totalitea’s Black Current tea I like a lot because I know, juding from it’s taste and having had tried out other teas from other shops and tasting either a sweetner, syrup and other things that aren’t natural. I’d rather buy it at Totalitea because I know there, its top quality without any added junk that I don’t want.

    As far as them pre packaging it. It’s probably better to pre-package the tea anyways as long as its fresh and doesn’t sit there for too long. It’s not good to keep opening and closing the tea tins. Too much exposure makes the tea deteriorate faster. From what I’ve tasted of Totalitea’s teas, the tea is always fresh. I think they pre-package the teas for customers that know what they want that just want to grab and go type, especially at a place like that where there is a large number of business clients.

     
  2. Dawn

    May 27, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Goodness, it sounds like you work at Totalitea – or if you don’t you should! You’re definitely a loyal customer! I’m a loyal customer at the Banff Tea Company – have you been there? (Though I do wish they’d store their large tins in tea in something other than glass jars for sure…) Of course I try to check out all of the different shops – I was down at the Lilac Festival the other day and if it hadn’t been so insanely busy, I would have popped into the tea store on 4th Street too.

    I understand what you’re saying about opening and closing the tins, though I imagine that most tins aren’t opened over and over again (when the sniffer tins are available that is) unless it’s a very popular tea – and then it would be replenished anyways. I tend to use a strainer rather than a disposable tea bag most of the time, so the fannings are very frustrating – mind you the same problem happens with rooibos tea.

    On the black currant, I do like my teas sweet – and I find with fruit teas a bit of sweetener enhances the ‘juiciness’ which is what I’m going for with a flavoured tea or blend. If I wanted plain black tea I’d just stick with a nice Margaret’s Hope or something… I’m sure you’ve noticed through reading Happy Sushi Belly that I’m definitely not a tea purist! I find that with most loose leaf teas (not all, but most) I can get a few infusions before it looses the flavour. I think that teas with artificial flavour loose their flavour faster, but those with natural flavour hold on to it longer – the first cup is the best of course, but it depends on how lazy I’m feeling to make a new pot or just pour more hot water in. 🙂

     
    • Fu

      June 1, 2013 at 12:00 am

      No, I’m a tea purest. I have tried artificial teas but have never bought them, so I don’t know anything about them other than I know they don’t taste pure. I haven’t been to Banff in such a long time but from what I heard, that Banff tea shop is more like a souvenir shop. From what you are telling me, it seems like they don’t store their tea right either. I haven’t been to Tea Trader since I work downtown and Totalitea is the closest one, other than the chain teashops, which I don’t like because of the poor quality tea and their agressive sales staff. Both stores literally scared me out of their store trying to desperately sell me tea instead of letting me look first being a new customer and deciding what I want. I’ve been to Naked Leaf, that one is a nice store and I’ve been to Oolong House and Steeps, both places I don’t like because both shops were very unsanitary upon my first visit. That’s about it. I’m a bit of a foodie, I know quality tea, chocolate, burgers, steak, ice cream, candies and desserts which I can tell you just as passionately what is the best, but you don’t want me to get started again on long posts ^^U

       
      • Dawn

        June 3, 2013 at 11:18 am

        Hehehe, it’s always good to know where you’re at… helps avoid a LOT of disappointment if you know you like things a certain way. I’m like that with eggs. If they’re not as I order them, I get really irritated. When it comes to steak – feh.. I’m not going to enjoy it either way, so I really don’t care… LOL

        I wouldn’t say that the Banff tea shop is like a souvenir shop – though they definitely do have a few teas which are named to attract the tourist dollar – like Banff Trail Mix and Sweet Dreams of Banff… but they don’t have the obnoxious t-shirts or cheap ‘Made in China’ stuff that I’d normally associated with souvenir shops.

        I’ve TRIED to go to Naked Leaf, but they’ve never been open when I’ve been down there. Oolong I’ve only been into once I’m afraid too… Steeps I don’t like, because everything there tastes old and weak.. though I guess they’re closing so that won’t be an issue anymore. Have you tried the tea shop in Mission along 4th Street? I saw it when I was down there for the Lilac festival, but didn’t head in because of how busy everything was. I can’t find it on Google maps now either – probably too new (it’s not the Purple Perk, but in that area.. near Mercato.) I used to work downtown myself, and it was so much easier to get to these places than now, when I live and work in the ‘burbs. (Ok.. technically I live and work in the ‘inner city’, but it’s still mighty far from downtown!)

        I don’t mind the chain tea stores. Actually I really like them in the sense that it’s so much easier to get tea with them around… I remember when the only place to go for loose leaf was Steeps (or at least it seemed that way) so they’re great that way. The staff (in general) is definitely different than at a good tea shop though!

        Would you be interested in writing a guest blog post (s) about some of the tea (s) you’ve tried from Totalitea? I can’t imagine that I’ll get out there to try anything new any time soon (as it is I need to go through my stash before it all gets old) and I’d be happy share some of your experiences as well if you’re interested.

         
        • Fu

          June 6, 2013 at 3:19 pm

          Was that the tea shop in Mardaloop? I’ve tried to look for it a few years back because I heard they did Afternoon Tea. Oh, Mission, no, I don’t think I’ve been there for a while. When I get the chance, I’ll check it out. Yeah, I was just in David’s tea and yeah, I heard that it’s convenient in that way. I have looked at their tea menu. They mix teas that shouldn’t be mixed. They do have regular tea that looks ok. If you don’t care about how good your quality of tea is either way than yeah, it’s ok to go to David’s Tea, but yeah, like for me that’s very particular, I’ll go out of my way to go to a decent tea shop.

          I’m sorry, I can’t do guest blogging. I wanted to start up my own blog years ago, but still haven’t, so I don’t think I could be of any use. Sorry about the heated first post. I think reading too many harsh reviews that night influenced me in posting harshly. Thanks for your understanding and Thanks for the chat.

           
  3. Dawn

    June 7, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Was which one the one in Marda Loop? It’s wonderful – I keep hearing of new places popping up… even though years ago the only options were coffee shops (mind you, I still miss the Badd Ass coffee shop on 17th that is now a Tim Horton’s. It was just a great place to meet people and meet up with friends…great staff too.) There’s a place in Glenmore Landing that does an Afternoon Tea too if you’re interested. I haven’t done it… YET. LOL

    Which teas do you think shouldn’t be mixed that David’s mixes? I think that there’s a place for mixes, blends, flavours, and all of that.. and a place for the purists. I don’t think that David’s would do nearly as well in shopping malls if they were purists.. the average retail shopper (not to mention the staff) just wouldn’t be educated/sophisticated enough to really appreciate it. That’s really the perfect spot for the specialty independents in my opinion… Still – I remember reading a LOT about the problem with additives and “additional natural and artificial flavours” when researching about the Milk Oolong that they sell. I’ve since tried the ‘pure’ milk oolong, and theirs, and honestly I love both – but perhaps I’m not sensitive to the additives the way some people are.

    No worries – I like chatting too. 🙂 I get the way that the ‘build up’ of negativity can really get you down… especially when there’s something you really love. Instead of guest blogging, would you be interested in being interviewed? Perhaps as your perspective as a ‘purist’ so to speak? (or certainly more than I am! LOL)

     
    • Fu

      June 9, 2013 at 11:41 am

      I don’t know about the Marda Loop one. I was looking for it years back but even I don’t know. When I asked around, people around the area didn’t know either which kind of shocked me since someone told me there was one there. There’s one in Glenmore Landing? I’ll have to check it out. I want to go to Dove’s Nest. That’s the only other one that I found out about by reading the urbanspoon reviews is how I landed on here. There was no reviews for Totalitea and yours was the only blog that popped up. I was thinking of posting up a review myself but I think people already know the place that I don’t think there really is a point.

      I don’t really know, I just had a look at the store, there was one that had a mix of rooibos, green tea, herbal, black, basically everything imaginable. They all have different steeping times, so it wouldn’t really work as well really. It’s like anything. If you dink enough unpure stuff, your palate becomes accustomed to it till you try something pure and then go back to the unpure to really get your taste buds senstive to the taste of sugar, salt. When I drink juice, I can taste the sulfites that manufaturers put in it to preserve the juice. I don’t drink coffee, so I don’t know anything about coffee. I don’t think there is really much to say. I think someone that knows the process of making tea and is in the tea industry would be more knowledgable and better to be interviewed than someone with a sensitive taste palate that just enjoys a good quality cup of tea in general.

       
  4. Dawn

    June 9, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Hmm perhaps the one in Marda Loop was there – and then moved? There was one in Glenmore Landing – but the last time I planned to go there (and didn’t) was a while ago, so it’s entirely possible it’s gone now. I’ll have to look for it the next time I’m there! I also went past a place in the CrossRoads Market this weekend. I was going to get some, just to try… but I didn’t really like the service, so perhaps I’ll wait until a time when they have more attentive staff. Have you tried them? Looked like a lot of blends, so perhaps not your style…

     

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