Brand: Golden Moon
Type: Black tea, breakfast blend
Form: Loose Leaf
Review: I confess that I was taken aback when I first examined the dry leaves of Irish Breakfast Special Reserve. I was expecting the broken, choppy leaves of a traditional “breakfast blend”, but instead found myself inspecting long, twisty leaves of various colors. Some of the leaf was dark brown, but there were plenty of golden buds mixed in. I got the distinct impression that this was not going to be a typical breakfast tea.
And I was right.
Golden Moon sourced their Irish Breakfast Special Reserve from Cork, and chose it specifically because it lacked the harsh bitterness that characterizes so many lesser breakfast blends. When infused, the long, large leaves unfurl into a beautiful red/amber liquor with a slightly pungent, fruity, and spicy nose. This medium bodied tea is complex in flavor, with plenty of sweet malt and rich fruit (Golden Moon says cherries, I say blackcurrants). It is notably smooth in character and minimally astringent. You don’t need milk or sugar in this tea.
Preparation and Serving Tips: Because this is a fairly tippy blend, don’t pour boiling water directly on the tea. Bring the water temperature down to about 208F and then infuse. Because of its quality and leaf size, it is quite possible to get a second steeping, though the tea becomes a bit more astringent, with a slightly bitter note emerging. It is still tasty, though, and I added a bit of almond milk to the second infusion, with delicious results!
Food Pairing: While the tea goes well with traditional breakfast foods (eggs, sausages, etc) it doesn’t quite have the palate-clearing power of many breakfast teas. Don’t expect it to cut the grease as a more bitter, astringent tea would. Instead, serve Irish Breakfast Special Reserve with clean-flavored foods cooked in a minimum of oil. This tea is also great on its own. No food, breakfast or otherwise, needed for its enjoyment.
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