I received a free 15g sample from my first order from Upton Tea. Que buenísimo.
Note: I recommend erring on the smaller side of the teaspoons (if you use said units of volume to measure your tea) as the CTC tea is a little more dense than other loose leaf teas. Thus, the Irish Breakfast Blend can quickly become bitter if you are generous with your servings or steep time; furthermore, it may help to let the water cool to about 205F before steeping as this may relieve some pressure on the tea and save it from bitterness towards you!
Drinking the tea neat:
The Irish Breakfast Blend pours a coffee black that emits a golden gradient halo along the concave meniscus of the cup. The tea, neat, produces a defensive odor akin to a lone cactus in the middle of the desert warding off thirst-hungry wanderers. The first sip aggressively fills to the roof of the mouth and seemingly attacks both the front and back of the tongue simultaneously. Waiting a few seconds, you find that the astringency of the tea swells the lips and inner cheeks – leaving you with a finish as if you had suckled on the Gumball seeds from the Sweetgum tree. The tea therefore tastes similar to coffee but with a more watery feel in the mouth. After having cooled down, the tea loses its biting potency and allows for a more gentle swallow.
Throw a splash of milk into the Irish tea and watch the thick liquid swirl as clouds do in a lightning storm until the reaction settles into a misty, ubiquitously caramel color. This tea with milk tastes just as coffee does with milk but retains its distinctive punchy smell.
Overall, this filling little tea when drunk neat may overwhelm those unaccustomed to black or assam teas. However, one or two teaspoons of milk helps to neutralize the astringency and bitterness of this tea and allows for a sweeter and calmer experience. Aside, this tea pairs perfectly with thick, creamy sides: I recommend a honey greek yogurt to go along with this breakfast tea for your morning.