Harney & Sons Irish Breakfast TeabagsName: Irish Breakfast

Brand: Harney & Sons

Type: Black tea, Assam blend

Form: Paper tea bags

Review: I’m not much for tea bags, and even less enthused about paper tea bags and the teas that they contain. While paper tea bag tea isn’t necessarily bad, it is typically one-dimensional. The fine particles of tea may produce a brew that is tasty, but it won’t be terribly complex.

Still, many people like paper teabags because they are so convenient. Harney & Sons, one of my favorite American tea merchants, produce some awesome loose-leaf teas, but also understand the need for “standard” teabags. Irish Breakfast is one of their selections in this range, and it is a simple but tasty choice.

I particularly appreciate Harney & Sons’ decision to pack their paper teabags in sturdy, individual foil wrappers, making it easy to transport these teabags to work or while traveling. The dry leaf has little, if any, scent and infuses to a rich red brown in the cup.

The infused tea doesn’t have a much stronger nose than the dry leaf, other than a bit of malt. On the palate, however, this is a robust, medium-bodied Assam blend that is strong, but not overwhelming. The tea tastes of cocoa and malt with a finish that is somewhat bitter and astringent, but not offensively so. Great for mopping up the palate after a heavy/greasy breakfast.

While this is a paper bagged tea, with all the limitations of its genre, it is also remarkably well blended. Good stuff.

Preparation & Drinking Tips: I gave this tea a full 5-minute steep and got excellent results. Sip it slowly. As it cools down, more nuanced flavor emerges. Can take milk and sugar easily, but doesn’t need it.

Food Pairings: Yes, it is wonderful with breakfast, but works fine on its own. Try it with super-sweet/rich cakes or cookies.

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