Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Trader Joe's Black Currant Juice Beverage

I had eaten dried currants long before I tried this beverage. They're very similar to raisins in taste and texture. So I guess in my mind I was expecting this beverage to taste a little like raisin juice. "But raisins are just dried grapes, you airhead," I scolded myself internally. So before partaking of this beverage, I adjusted my flavor-hypothesis accordingly and primed my tongue for something red grape juice-esque. I had also been warned by the check-out girl at TJ's that she cuts her currant juice with a bit of water—so I was expecting it to be strong, too.

But if anything, I would say the taste of this juice is significantly subtler than good old, traditional Welch's 100% Grape Juice. It looks almost identical to red grape juice—perhaps a tad darker. And I've never been one to cut anything with water. I'd rather have half a glass of thick syrupy juice by itself and then chase it with a separate glass of plain water. Which is what I did in this case.

It wasn't so pungent that it blew me away with its tartness or tanginess, but it certainly left a bit of an aftertaste in my mouth. Not a terrible one, but any aftertaste is unwelcome in my book.

However, the overall flavor is quite pleasant. It's a really refreshing and summery flavor somehow. There's an undertone that I would compare to cherry juice or cherry cider. And it's not unlike the flavor of an acaĆ­-based drink or blackberry drink, although all three of those juices are a tad more pungent than this stuff.

The only thing they add to the "juice beverage" is some cane sugar. I think they could have gotten away with just calling it "juice," but you know the true health nuts would have had a conniption if TJ's called it "juice" and then added sugar.

It's not overly sweet by any means. I think if they had gone the purist route and not added any sugar of any kind, it would have turned me off. I think it is what it's supposed to be, just the way they have it...if that makes sense. 

Even so, in the future, I think I'll go for the stronger stuff over this one. But if you're someone who really appreciates lighter, subtler flavors, I could absolutely feature this being a beverage of choice for palates more refined than mine.

I give it 3.5 stars. So does Sonia, who added, "It tastes like a diet drink, almost like a weird Crystal Light flavor."

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.


  1. It was a sad day for me in San Diego when I found out TJ's was discontinuing this product. It was something I made special trips to get.

    1. I was just ready to go there to buy that juice...
      What a disappointment!