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Eikokuya Grape Black Tea

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I eas­ily enjoy the spec­trum of leaf teas from white through to oolong. When it comes to black teas and bey­ond, though, I find myself hes­it­at­ing because my pen­chant for fla­voured teas has meant that steep­ing for the recom­men­ded length of time has the bold­ness and rich­ness of the black tea over­whelm­ing any oth­er fla­vour.

So, ignor­ing guidelines to steep black tea in just boiled water for 3 – 5 minutes, with some exper­i­ment­a­tion, I’ve found the sweet (lit­er­ally) spot for my black teas at around 85°C for 90 seconds. This brings out the sweet, rich and bold fla­vours of black tea while leav­ing enough room for the fla­voured com­pon­ent to shine, and works a dream for this Eikokuya Grape Black Tea.

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Steeping 1 tea bag with 3 g of looseleaf in 200 ml of water at 85°C for 90 seconds yields a red-brown liquor that recalls the intense and fra­grant sweet­ness of red grapes. These notes are fresh and juicy and come through in the head without the slight­est acid­ity of green grapes, com­ple­men­ted by the nat­ur­al sweet­ness of the black tea. The rich­er and bolder black tea notes appear briefly towards the end of the body, before return­ing as a refresh­ing sweet­ness with the grapes in the fin­ish to linger very long in the after­taste.

If steeped for 3 minutes at 100°C as sug­ges­ted on the pack­aging, a bit­ter­ness dom­in­ates the tea that masks all of the nat­ur­al sweet­ness of black tea and all but a trace of the beau­ti­ful grape notes that make this tea so refresh­ing and enjoy­able.

This box of Eikokuya Grape Black Tea con­tained 6 tea bags. The tea ori­gin­ated in Sri Lanka and was pur­chased in Tokyo, Japan in 2014.