Tea: Barry's Irish Breakfast

An Irish Breakfast from Barry's Tea

Picture of Barry's Irish Breakfast
Brand:Barry's Tea
Style:Irish Breakfast
# Ratings:2 View All
Product page:Barry's Irish Breakfast

Review of Barry's Irish Breakfast

7 of 104 of 55 of 574 of 100
Very GoodGoodOutstanding

When I ordered some herbs from iHerb.com, they had better prices for Barry's teas than I can get locally, so I bought a few varieties to try and this is one of them. My box says "Irish Breakfast," so that's where I'm putting the review, but it's otherwise the same green box as the "Original Blend" and I suspect they're the same tea. I see both box styles on Barry's site, so "Irish Breakfast" is maybe branded for export and "Original Blend" is for Ireland?

The tea bags are in a style common in the EU, flat tagless squares, with 3g of tea in each of them. The dry tea is CTC tea that has been further ground into nearly dust. It smells dusty and tannic, very much like dry oak leaves. Brewing the tea intensifies the tannin aroma and now the maltiness comes through. The combination is what I've come to realize is typical of Kenyan or Rwandan tea and indicative of a crisp bitterness. The liquor quickly takes on the deep red-brown characteristic of blends popular in Ireland and the UK. I brewed four minutes in boiling water.

The first taste is, indeed bitter, but not overpoweringly so or unpleasant. The flavor is strongly reminiscent of hops. It's less malty than I expected and moderately astringent. It's bold without being heavy. I like it, but prefer maltier tea.

Once the tea starts to cool, it becomes more complex. There's still not much of a maltiness, but the bitterness takes on a woody character, like gentian or cherry bark, in a way that reminds me of cocktail bitters. I'm also beginning to get cocoa notes. I can imagine that milk or cream and sugar would transform this into a caramel-like flavor and I'm guessing that's the profile that they're going for. As I'm drinking it straight, though, it's definitely a bright and bracing sipping tea. I still keep looking for malt that just isn't there, though.

With the $3 regular price and 20% off that the site routinely offers, I paid about $2.40 for 40 tea bags, which is very close to Barry's suggested retail. At that price, it's definitely an excellent value.

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