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Recent Tasting Notes
Wish I’d written down the ingredient list on this one; I’ll just have to grab more! This is box #2 so far of this, and I’m finding it a decent, if boring, cuppa before bed. Why this tea? Well, in Ireland, this is what’s readily available in every corner store without any sort of caffeination, and I love both ginger and lemon. Nothing fancy (nor expensive), I can count on this to settle me.
Flavors: Ginger, Lemon
If you get tea at a shop or restaurant in Ireland, this is most likely what you’ll be offered. It also lines the shelves in plentiful supply at every grocer, Spar, or Dunnes. So of course, I’ve had plenty a cup now in almost a month in Ireland.
Do I love it? No. Yet I get why it’s so popular here. It’s a solid, robust tea. It stands up to oversteeping impeccably, and it’s definitely tea, as opposed to coffee (that foreigners drink). As an Irishman informed me before I came here from Canada: our tea is strong and dark, you must have it with milk or it will rot your stomach.
Good call. And so, I enjoy at least a pot of this daily, pretending I’m a local until I open my mouth, and enjoy the conversation that invariably ensues over every cup.
The other night I was out for pizza and ordered an iced tea, which ended up being so weak and watered-down that I couldn’t taste much tea at all. Clearly they know not how to brew tea. The waiter claimed that the sweet tea was better, but it was just as weak. By the time I got home I still needed tea, so I figured I’d go for the most assertive tea in my cupboard. It was a gazillion percent improvement over the water I had with dinner. Stout, malty goodness.
It’s not my favourite bagged milk&sugar tea, but it’s pretty much around no.3 (after Taylors Irish Breakfast and Yorkshire tea). It’s mostly because it’s more on the bitter side of things, without actually being bitter. It just tastes a bit more strong or something, so I only have it when I’m in a mood for that. But it’s lovely and it reminds me of Ireland, because I was staying in an Irish cottage with my fella one time and we bought a big box of Barry’s tea and just drank that the whole week. The first time I had this tea again after Ireland I just got a woooosh of Ireland memories come back to me – very Balzac. Unfortunately, that has since gone away, but a lovely tea nonetheless.
When I am watching my 7 mo. old daughter, making breakfast and putting a lunch together, at dawn, this is a go-to tea. I love loose leaf tea, but a bag of Barry’s and a splash of milk is hard to beat in that situation.
I brew one bag with 12oz water in a 17oz porcelain teapot. With a generous splash of milk, it comes out to one of the smoothest tasting strong black teas I’ve found.
1 bag for 300mL water @100C, steeped four minutes, drunk bare.
Here in St John’s, the store that carries Barry’s tea has it in the green box, but the green box says nothing about it being “Irish Breaskfast.” This seems to be a marketing label for tea drunk outside of Ireland. I could be wrong. This box of Barry’s came direct from Ireland, though, so I do wonder.
I’ve had this teamany times before. Sometimes, yes, even Michelle the Tea Snob just wants to plop a bag in a mug, pour in the boiling water, and get some tea with minimal fuss. Call it lazy. I don’t care.
The first tea I ever drank was King Cole, a blend once very popular in Atlantic Canada. The bags were generously filled and would get very plump, tea leaves straining against the gauze — yes, gauze, not paper. King Cole only in the last year or so stopped using gauze, as gauze was getting expensive and hard to source. King Cole was a blend that satisfied with English war bride grandmother and being “almost” strong enough. In my memory, it was heavy on the Assam, very malty and pungent.
Barry’s in the green box tastes a lot like that. This blend’s got some Kenyan in it, too, and that’s fine. The result is strong black tea that can help you through bad weather, bad news, bad days …
Decent caffeine punch. Malty, with a medium to heavy body. Some Assam fruitiness, and a very strong pucker at the end. This is not a smooth tea, not after the China oolongs and blacks I’ve been drinking, but it is perfect for what it wants to me: unpretentious, dependable, everyday, blended black tea. There’s much worse out there than Barry’s.
Last time I tried this it was like I was the 98lb weakling at the beach getting the sand kicked in his face by the muscle bound bully. Glad my girl wasn’t with me. Whew! Just because its St Patrick’s day I thought I would try this Irish Breakfast again. This time I first signed up for the Ju Jitsu lessons in the back of my Batman comic. Ooh-Wah! I am so ready!
Just for giggles I only steeped this about 30 seconds. It is still very dark but the taste is far more to my liking. It is NOT astringent in the least. The flavor is kind grape/wood. This is a nice cup but I think it would have been a little better at 45 seconds. A little stouter I would like. I am definitely not a 3-5 minute person with this strong tea.
I got this from Brett who seems to have vanished. Like the PG Tips of yesterday (also from Brett), this is another I have heard about for years but never tried.
What did I think? Hmmm. (snippet from my blog review) I am not sure how to describe this tea. The sip starts nice and gentle, polite even. Just as I start to relax in its company, I am grabbed by the throat, terrified of what comes next. Then, just as suddenly, it releases me and walks away with a grin. My eyes are wide open. I am left unscathed with but a memory. Yeah, this tea is like that. It won’t hurt you. It just wants you to think it will.
Edit – Once the cup cools down the big scary late sip calms down to an enjoyable level.
was so busy looking for a teapot and cups at the thrift stores, and a bunch of other things that i didnt realize that i hadnt had any tea until after dinner.
my mom and i were looking around at world market and saw tasting booth for this so i had some and tho i didnt like the first irish breakfast i tried, this one was ok. good, even. (or maybe it was just coz i missed having tea today or my tastebuds are getting used to it hahaha)
liquor: dark gold
taste: strong enough that i can sip but not gulp, it was perfectly brewed by World Market
effect: enough caffeine to make me more alert
as im not a breakfastfast tea fan, i would rather buy other teas but would be happy enough to drink this again.