Sorry for the delay in a fresh review! Going to do my best to get into a weekly (or bi-weekly, ooo!!) post schedule 🙂
The second of the teas I bought from the Christmas Tree Shops (see previous post for an explanation on the weird name) was a package of “Thompson’s Family Teas-Irish Breakfast Blend”. I’ll admit, I was drawn in by the shiny, crinkly green packaging, and of course, the allure of a potentially delicious Irish Breakfast tea. I’ll admit.. sometimes.. I find Irish Breakfasts to be a little more delicious than English Breakfast blends.. *dodges bricks and monocles* so I was thrilled to have a chance to try this tea at a great price.
So cute! Look at the little people walkin’ along in their lil village.. I wonder if Ireland is really like that! 😛 I didn’t really have room to store this giant bag in my tea drawer so I had to stash the tea bags in some of my tins after taking this photo, but I found it really hard to throw this packaging away 😦 It’s just so sweet! And holy hell, this stuff smells GOOD. Can’t tell you how many times I opened the bag or one of my tins just to stick my nose in and get a quick whiff! I know, I’m weird. D:DAYUM this stuff is fine! And you know what that means, right? All aboard for terrifyingly fast steep times!! I learned my lesson the hard way 😛
I’m not sure how long this brand recommends you brew their tea, but I can almost guarantee they want you to brew it for WAY longer than you should. The first few times I steeped this tea, I left the bag in my mug for ~3-5 minutes, sorta standard for black teas- I disliked the resulting brew so much I nearly didn’t review this tea at all. It wasn’t bitter, persay, but it left this aftertaste that left me feeling thirsty and.. irritated. Does that even make sense? xD It just felt like some weird dryness, a concentrated astringent taste, was lingering in the back of my throat.
I tried cold-brewing some iced tea with these bags, thinking the change in temperature might get rid of the aftertaste- if I brewed the tea strictly on its own, it did not. However, if I cold-brewed this tea with another tea that was tart and fruity, like a hibiscus blend, the black tea flavor was still obviously present, but much more crisp and palatable.
For a few days, I stuck to only drinking this tea iced, thinking that was the way I’d have to eventually polish off the bag. BUT! In the back of my mind, I knew I had to give a hot brew another try. In the end, I only steeped the bag for about 60 seconds, then gave the tea a taste. SUCCESS!
Finally! A good, crisp cup of black tea that was absolutely perfect for chilly, windy fall mornings. This was what I’d been yearning for! The flavor is quite a bit lighter than it was when I had left the bag in for 3 minutes, but the lack of strange aftertaste was worth it. When steeped for just about a minute, this tea takes on an earthy and sweet flavor with all the robust KAPOW you’d expect from a breakfast blend. The combination of the aroma and taste of this tea.. what a lovely way to wake up in the morning. 🙂 Definitely give it a try iced as well!
Cost of Tea: $3.19 per box
Overall Rating: B+