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.