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Recent Tasting Notes
I should note that I am a tea lover, not a tea expert. Barry’s Gold Blend tea is what I usually drink in the morning. It is a robust black tea that holds its own, even with plenty of milk. I myself drink it with skim milk—no sugar, although I am sure that it could take quite a large amount of sugar. I actually do recommend it with milk because I think that the tea brings out a certain sweetness in the milk.
To prepare the tea, I place the bag in my mug and pour in my milk while the water is in my electric kettle. I try to pour the water as soon as it reaches its boiling point, although sometimes I scramble to do so. Usually, I let the tea steep for about five to seven minutes, but this is only a rough estimate since I make my tea while I get ready for the day. I like my tea good and strong, and this blend offers both.
I have a few breakfast teas that I enjoy-most notably Butiki’s Organic Irish Breakfast and Mark T. Wendell’s Indonesian. However, I am not one to have the same cup or two day after day-I do like my variety.
I’ve also been on a kick buying some teas that are popular in Ireland and the UK-such as PG Tips, ToH Yorkshire teas, etc. It’s fun to try what people in other countries like-even if it is not necessarily high quality loose leaf.
Anyhow, Barry’s is apparently the big tea in Ireland, so I had to try that. The tea is a blend of Kenyan and Assam teas. Breakfast blends are generally not much to look at, but this is even less so-the CTC process makes this loose tea look like grape nuts cereal. Had I known this was just a CTC, I probably would have bought the bag form of this sold in a local grocery store. Anyhow, as I’ve been noticing while buying teas popular in Ireland and the UK, Kenyan tea is included in all of these. In the States, I don’t recall coming across an Irish Breakfast or English Breakfast with Kenyan in it. This tea distinguishes itself from the EB’s because it has a higher ratio of Kenyan than the EB’s I have tried. This makes it a little stronger, but in my opinion, a little less flavorful. Also, as Kenyan teas (in general) have a little more caffeine than their Assamica cousins from India (because the Kenyan tea trees are younger) this should mean a bit more caffeine and a bit more energy if you need it to start your day.
The cup brews dark brownish copper in 3 minutes or so. I’ve gone up to 4 on this. It’s strong, but I didn’t really have to adjust to it like I did with say, an East Frisian Blend. With more Kenyan, the flavor seems a bit roastier and not as lively. Not really bland, but not exciting. I don’t really taste any bitterness or astringency, but there is a tannic taste on the back end. I’m sure that in Ireland most people drink this with some sort of milk and sugar. That’s not really my thing-I like even breakfast teas straight and plain. I did try it once with soymilk and sugar and it was okay. Different, but not better. It might help you get the cup down if this is too strong for you or if you don’t care for the taste. For me, the only tea I NEEDED soymilk to get through it was TG’s EB.
Overall, it’s a decent tea. It’s in my rotation because I bought so much of it. I’ve had this at least half a dozen times by now. I can’t say that it’s growing on me though. So far, I feel about the same about it as when I first tried it. Maybe that will change over time. If you like a good dose of Kenyan in your Breakfast tea or if you want to try a blend popular in Ireland, this might be something you’d like to try.
I bought this from The English Tea Store. It only came in 250 gram boxes-which is A LOT of tea when you have as much as I have. I’d never buy it in such great quantity ever again. I THINK the bag inside the box is foil-I just bought a big tea tin for it. It’s possible other places online have this in a smaller quantity if you don’t want that much. Or check your grocery store for the teabag version.
Have been drinking this regularly lately — and decided to rate it more highly than I have in the past, although still not up to the Punjana rating that I consider my #1 for irish breakfast teas. Very malty, and pleasant even when steeped longer than 4-5 minutes. I can drink this either weak or strong, and it seems to be just as good. I will say that it’s best when piping hot — if I let it cool a bit, the astringency seems to rise a bit and it’s not as good as if I drank it closer to right off the boil.
Robust, slightly more tannic than Twining’s. Good with milk and sugar. I think at 2.5 minutes this might be a little weak, but 4 minutes of stepping seems perfect! May have found my go-to cup of IB. I like Punjana too… but this one seems to have a bit more character and punch.
Good tea, I can see myself drinking this everyday. Can also mix it up with some Yerba Mate for some extra kick at noon time. Tastes like Twinnings English Breakfast tea but slightly stronger. No string, staples, tag, or paper wrapper, so for now I’ll keep it at my work desk.
8/13/12 – I’m giving this tea a higher mark, its great. I’m on my second cup today. Love the taste, great for breakfast. Sometimes I add a splash of milk and sugar. Drank 40 bags, luck for me I had a new box I just opened.
I’m on a quest to try everyday British teas right now. This is my latest, bought at World Market off their St. Patrick’s day display. I hope I like it, because the small box contains 80 teabags (though it wasn’t expensive, so I won’t feel bad if I don’t!)
The bags are tagless and a bit dusty. I started with one bag in my large cup to test the strength. The result was a bit weak, so I tried again, opening up the teabags and measuring out the tea. The tea itself is very dark brown and tiny. I’m glad I’m using my fine mesh infuser! I knew the infusion wouldn’t take a long time because the leaves were so small, so I gave it 2.5 minutes (the same amount I do all similar breakfast teas.)
I drink all my breakfast teas with milk and sweetener, so I added the usual amount. The taste… is like breakfast tea. I don’t know how else to describe it! I was expecting something pretty assertive based on the reviews here, but it’s actually milder than many English Breakfast teas I’ve had, never mind the Irish! It does have a little kick, and it is caffeinated, but it’s not special. I would drink it (though I doubt I’ll make it through the entire box!) The problem may be that it’s hard to find these teas here, except in bags. I love PG tips the most, but I can buy that loose. It may be time to order overseas. In the meantime, I’m still on a quest for a good Irish!
Definitely biased about this tea. To me, this is the tea that introduced me to tea. Even though I intellectually know that it is not as “good” as some teas, I still love it so much! I steep the heck out of it and then put in plenty of milk and sugar. Years of having it before dance competitions has conditioned me to want it whenever I am going into a stressful situation.
I really LOVE drinking this tea, it is one of my go-to favorites…any time of day!
The aroma of this tea is the typical black tea aroma…somewhat bold, smooth and a little caramel.
The color of the steeped liquor is a dark amber.
As for the taste, it reflects the aroma, it is bold but not assertive, bright but not astringent, very smooth for a black tea more so than say Lipton with a caramel sweetness that is always present but does not overpower the taste profile or characteristics of this tea; also, the taste is very smooth for a black tea…no matter how long it steeps, it never gets bitter or astringent, it stays bold, smooth, sweet and enjoyable.
The aftertaste on the tongue and palate is smooth and mellow; there is no bitterness, astringency or drying mouth feel.
I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this tea…a must buy!
My favorite morning breakfast tea. Got turned on to this blend when I found it on clearance at a store and figured I’d give it a shot. Now I’m more than willing to pay full price.
Strong enough to wake me up, but pretty smooth for a black tea blend. As others mentioned, this one goes bitter pretty quick if you let it steep too long.
A friend sent a box of Barry’s Gold from Ireland. It is has a stronger taste than PG Tips or Bewley’s Green Label. It is not a tea to slowly sip, black, and enjoy facets of complex layers of flavor.
It is a kick-start tea, to drink with a bit of your favorite dairy liquid, for the purpose of waking up quickly.
The reason I am giving it as high a rating as I am, is that it is a useful tea for its kick, and is less unpalatable than the packaged teas sold in the USA.
For jump-start tea in a box, it’s not bad. It is what it is. The caffeine and theobromine will get you going.