The 'espresso' of teas, this robust blend of rich Assams, Ceylons and other premium black teas makes an excellent morning cup. Delicious with milk.
The Irish have always been great tea drinkers and they like their tea brewed very strong. Irish Breakfast, with its robust and hearty flavor, is usually blended with an Assam tea base. Assam is a district in northeastern India that lies on the Indian-Burmese border. It produces more black tea than any other area on earth, with the probable exception of a few places in China. Assam's tea gardens cover some four hundred thousand acres of verdant rolling plains on both sides of the mighty Brahmaputra River.
Assam is proof that not all fine quality tea has to be high grown. This rainy valley is the birthplace of Indian tea. Robert Bruce discovered the plant growing wild here in 1823, and the first commercial lot of tea ever produced outside of China - eight chests in all - came from Assam in 1839.
The other black tea used in our Super Irish Breakfast blend is Ceylon. Ceylon, or its contemporary name, Sri Lanka, is a beautiful tropical island about the size of England that lies just 22 miles off the southern tip of India. Sri Lanka supplies about 25% of the world's tea. The nearly six hundred thousand acres of tea under cultivation provide well over half of the island's export earnings.
Ceylon grew no tea until 1867, when James Taylor, the Scottish manager of Loolecondera Tea Estate, first planted some. His timing was fortuitous, as just two years later a fungus disease descended on the island's coffee plantations, ruining what had been Ceylons leading industry. Those who could afford to, turned to growing tea.
Ceylon tea is grown from sea level to altitudes exceeding 7,000 feet. The best Ceylon teas are harvested at altitudes above 4,000 feet. Here the bushes grow more slowly and yield far less, not to mention being more difficult to harvest. Most high grown Ceylon teas come from gardens so steep that the newly picked green leaves must be conveyed to the estate factory by means of aerial ropeways.
Our Super Irish Breakfast blend is truly 'the espresso' of teas. It has a dark brown leaf that brews up a deep red liquor that is hearty, malty and rich in flavor. This "eye opening" tea is delicious with milk and sugar.