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Top O' The Morning

by Cynthia Fazekas

Irish Breakfast Tea

One of the most popular tea blends for any tea company is Irish Breakfast. Traditionally a hearty brew that usually gets its familiar malty character from a rich Assam and is good with cream and sugar. It is bold enough to stand up against a stout TIB - traditional Irish breakfast - or a hearty plate of corned beef and cabbage.

If your tearoom celebrates St Patrick's Day on March 17th, you will want to have a good supply of Irish Breakfast on hand. Other classic Emerald Isle goodies to serve along with it include scones, shortbread and soda bread. Keep the Kerry Gold butter on hand to enhance the offering - tasty stuff!

Loose-leaf Irish Breakfast blends are a perfect tea to introduce a novice to the wonders of "real tea." Most will have tried a more mundane teabag version of the blend and so will be able to have the means for comparison when cupping a superior loose version. Just remember a full-leaf blend versus a broken leaf will require adding a touch more leaf to get the full-bodied, stand up to anything result, but with more complexity and less sharpness. A sure-fire way to win tea newbies over to the loose-leaf side!

If you are so inclined (and have the proper permits,) you can even add a splash of Irish Cream liqueur or a touch of good ol' Irish whiskey to your strongly brewed Irish Breakfast tea to chase away the March chill. This writer reminds you to know your own limitations and brew responsibly, but can attest that it beats the heck out of green beer any day!

Whatever your St Patrick's Day traditions are you must include a big pot of Irish Breakfast. Growing up in our Irish-English-Hungarian-Polish household, the legend was that a leprechaun would come during night and turn our milk green. Magic! This was great fun for pouring over your morning bowl of Lucky Charms but when added to a deep mahogany colored Irish Breakfast blend - well, let's just say an army-Jeep colored cup of tea is slightly less than appetizing.