Country of Origin: India / Kenya
Region: Assam / Kiambu
Shipping Port: Calcutta / Mombasa
Seasonality: 2nd flush (June growth) / Seasonal quality (February growth)
Grade: BOP (Broken Orange Pekoe) / BP1 (Broken Pekoe 1)
Altitude: 500-1500 ft. / 5500-6500 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: CTC (Cut Torn and Curled)
Cup Characteristics: A stout robust blend of February Kenya BP1 and 2nd flush Assam. Superb color and very full-bodied
Infusion: Bright and Coppery
Ingredients: Luxury black tea
Pairing Suggestions: Rye toast and jam, carrot cake, baked ham sandwiches
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.
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.
As with most teas, the longer you brew this tea the stronger it becomes. If you’re Irish, you’ll let this tea brew a good long time and then add a wee splash of milk. Milk, in the case of a tea this strong cancels out the tannins and diminishes the bitterness that can characterize some strong teas. Debate rages from Dublin to Tipperary as to when milk should be added - before the tea or after? The milk-first camp argues that milk added after the hot tea will scald and should therefore be added first so it can warm as the tea is poured. Milk-last devotees argue that the only way to properly measure the amount to add is to pour it last. (Non-users of milk regard the whole issue as quite silly.)
Either way, t’is a strong blend. Enjoy in the morning with toast, or a traditional Irish “fry-up!”