With a population that consumes between four and six cups per person a day, Ireland is second only to Turkey in having the highest tea consumption per capita in the world.
Although the name of the blend is Irish Breakfast, most Irish enjoy tea throughout the entirety of the day. A cup of tea makes everything a little bit better, and catching up with a friend isn’t complete until you’ve shared a steep. Contrary to how they like their beer, the Irish have a strong preference for drinking their cuppa hot, and most take it strong with a splash of milk to balance the bitterness. Interestingly enough, Irish pubs are actually legally required to have tea on the menu!
If you’re a tea lover, then you’ve probably already enjoyed one or two Breakfast teas. The well-known English Breakfast blend is traditionally made from Keemun leaves, which is one of the most popular Chinese black teas. Generally, breakfast teas are a mix of black teas, which are made from leaves that have been oxidized the maximum amount of time (find out more about that here); this process releases the highest amount of caffeine from the leaf, and creates a dark, rich flavour.
Irish Breakfast is a black tea blend, made from Assam leaves which are named after the region in India where they’re grown. These leaves have a malty flavour and give Irish Breakfast a reddish color, and a flavour that is stronger than that of the English Breakfast blend.
With a curation that came together through unique events, Irish Breakfast opened the era of Ireland’s tea independence.
In the early 1800’s Ireland was first introduced to tea by British traders. Tea was going through a drastic popularity rise through Europe, and Ireland was no exception. At that time, Ireland was part of the British Empire and thus received its tea through the same suppliers. This was the steady norm until WWII when rations were imposed throughout the empire due to shortages, and these rations extended to tea as well as food. Ireland’s decision to take a neutral stance during the war caused the British government to respond by tightening tea rations.
Refusing to accept this depletion, Ireland sought to secure tea importation from their own direct source. India soon became Ireland’s new tea supplier, which is how the Assam leaves became part of Ireland’s signature blend.
And there you have it! A love for tea and a search for independence brought us the curation of Irish Breakfast.
In honour of tea lovers who enjoy their strong steeps, we’ve included a package of Irish Breakfast tea in March’s curation this month. If you’d like to enjoy a classic Irish tea time with this blend, make sure to add a splash of milk and enjoy with a biscuit.
Wishing you all a strong cuppa and a happy Saint Patrick’s Day!