Irish Breakfast Background
It may surprise you to learn that the people of Ireland drink more tea per capita than any other population on Earth. It’s true. In fact, your average Irish citizen drinks about 6 cups per day. What’s more, the cups they drink are so strong that you could almost stand a spoon upright in them. Indeed, the Irish prefer what some might call a sturdy cup of tea. During a traditional Irish wake after the death of a family member, a tea kettle is kept boiling continuously and strong black tea like Irish Breakfast is served to raise the spirits of all in attendance.
In order to provide the Irish with blends this strong, tea blenders supplying the market buy up top quality seasonal output from Assam and Kenya. The Assam teas are picked from the top production of the Second Flush, a period of high growth in the month of June. The Kenyans selected are usually those produced in either February or August when the most flavorful seasonal quality leaf is grown. The Assam component of this Irish blend gives the cup a strong, deep malty character with heavy layers of astringency that dry the mouth, feeling almost as if you could chew the tea. (This is similar to the way a very dry wine can make you pucker.) The Kenyan teas provide a bright coppery color with profound floral notes that add a complex depth to the cup.