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English v. Irish breakfast tea


Fat Guy
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So what's the difference? I have a couple of specimens of each here and mostly it just seems like the Irish breakfast is stronger. Is there an official position?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Good question. I don't really know other than knowing they are just blends of black teas. In my limited experience, I think the Irish is "stronger".

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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English is usually Assam blended with other black teas (Ceylon, Kenyan, etc.). I believe Irish is predominantly, or sometimes solely, Assam.

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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Traditional English Breakfast should have keemun (China black tea) plus other stuff, usually ceylon.

I find Irish Breakfast stronger, more full-bodied and almost savoury, because of the Assam.

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According to Irish friends and family, Bewley's "A unique blend of Assam and Darjeeling teas with a creamy, malty flavor,"is one of the most popular teas in their part of Ireland.

It certainly is a favorite with my cousins who live in Navan, County Meath.

They like a strong tea but without bitterness.

This is a blend of Assam and Darjeeling, 100% Indian teas.

This particular brand sells several teas that are blended according to the time they will be served and, assuming they are fresh, there is a distinct difference in the teas.

Others are "Dublin Morning" - "Irish Afternoon Tea" - "Gold Blend" &etc.

I have tried many teas labeled as "Irish Breakfast" and as you have noted there is not much difference between them and other bagged teas.

Twinings IB tea is a blend of Ceylon and Assam

Barry's IB tea is a blend of Kenyan and Assam

Lyon's Original Blend (touted as the top selling bag tea in Ireland) is a blend of Ceylon, Kenyan, Assam and Java teas.

Those are all Irish or English tea companies.

Several companies here market IB blends - the only one I have tried is that from The Republic of Tea "Lucky Irish Breakfast Pot of Gold Tea" and it is quite good and distinct from the same company's "British Breakfast Tea" and I like them both.

With both of these, if you are using a standard size mug, you can use the bags for a second cup, jut leave it to steep longer. If using a jumbo mug, as I do, one steeping is about the limit. (My mug is 15 ounces.)

I haven't purchased these particular blends from other U.S. companies. I did get a sample of the IB blend from Adagio but I really don't recall tasting it, although one of my friends, who recommended it to me, thinks it is terrific.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Ten or twelve years ago, a friend on a sabbatical in Ireland, sent me this huge tin of Blarney Tea bags, apparently no longer marketed. The 80 tea bags are long gone but it is a great tea caddy, about three times the size of most. 7" tall, by 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 with a good tight hinged lid.

Also very decorative.

I have a little note from back then that it was very good tea, especially nice with milk and sugar.

HPIM4068.JPG

HPIM4069.JPG

The vignettes around the tin have little notes at the bottom:

Grace and Eloquence in the age of Shakespeare.

Grace and Eloquence in the age of Swift

Grace and Eloquence in the age of Dickens

Grace and Eloquence Today

I wish it was still available.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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