When Irish Eyes are Smiling…

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When Irish eyes are smiling… it must be tea time again!

It’s no secret that Ireland loves tea-in fact the Emerald Isle drinks more tea per capita than almost anywhere else in the world. Tea is served with every meal, as well as part of a morning snack, and again at 4pm “tea time”. On average, the Irish drink 4 to 6 cups per day.

The Irish are serious about good tea, too; they import the highest quality leaves and pay close attention to every aspect of preparation. Irish teas are a blend of Assam and other black varieties, usually from Kenya or Sri Lanka. And while there is no standard formula for the blends, Irish tea is always bold, with a deep red color and a slight malty flavor.

In Ireland tea is served hot and brewed VERY strong, mainly because it needs to hold up well to a generous addition of milk  and sugar. Milk is added to the cup first (usually about 1/4 to 1/3 of the cup) and the tea follows. Obviously no wimpy brew could survive. It’s even been said that if you can see through the tea to the bottom of the cup, it’s not real Irish tea!

One thing you won’t hear much about in Ireland is “Irish Breakfast Tea”. The term is used outside the country to describe a very hearty, caffeinated blend similar to the what you would find in Ireland. Regionally, tea is just called “tea” or perhaps a “cuppa tae”.

Photo by Eduardo Fonseca Arraes/ Flickr

 


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