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Tea for St. Patrick’s Day

Lyons Original Blend (Photo source: The English Tea Store)
Lyons Original Blend (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

St. Patrick’s Day is approaching once again. Whether or not you like to celebrate this religious-turned-secular holiday, it tends to make rather a splash in the media and as such you probably will hear something about the numerous celebrations taking place.

But a holiday is a holiday (even if it’s not an official U.S. holiday), and should therefore be celebrated in some fashion, right? You could opt for the more mainstream ways of celebrating this saint’s day: lots of green, a shamrock or two, generous amounts of alcohol, parades, maybe a poorly imitated Irish accent here and there. Or you could eschew the obvious methods and instead choose to celebrate with tea–a daring choice to be sure.

But what tea? That’s the real question. My suggestion would be to fully embrace the Irish connotations of St Patrick’s Day and drink tea in the tradition of the Irish. This means black and strong. Although tea drinking is sometimes more associated with the English, the Irish drink just as much tea, maybe more (it depends on which statistics you look at). The two main brands of Irish tea are Lyons and Barry’s, the differences between which are debated in detail here. The first is blended and produced in Dublin, the second in Cork — definitely Irish.

This St Patrick’s Day, I’ll be brewing up a strong pot of Lyons. Not because I think it tastes any better than Barry’s, but because it’s the one that I tend to keep around. Plus, I really like pyramid-shaped teabags (which is why you’ll usually find a box of PG Tips on my shelf as well). The fact that Lyons introduced pyramid-shaped teabags to Ireland is one of their claims to fame.

For me, the only way to drink a hearty black tea is brewed strongly, with a dash of milk. And a warming, comforting brew is perfect for this time of year when spring is on its way, but the days are still cold (in my case, very cold–we had snow yesterday). If you are sensitive to caffeine, I would advise conducting your tea celebrations earlier in the day because Lyons can brew up a strong cuppa. Unless, of course, you plan on staying up late to continue celebrating!

See more of Elise Nuding’s articles here.

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