Ireland and England’s ‘best’ teas, reviewed by an American

TRENDING NEWS FROM OUR FRIENDS AT FARK. Barry’s is Ireland’s finest cheap black tea in a bag. … Barry’s is the cheap tea that makes it all possible.

Barry’s is Ireland’s finest cheap black tea in a bag. Folks seems awful fond of PG Tips and someone brought me a box.

I’ve been drinking Barry’s for a couple years. I used to prefer coffee but switched to tea when I realised I couldn’t handle the end of day burnout that for me comes with steadily drinking coffee all day. Barry’s is the cheap tea that makes it all possible.

A cute box of PG Tips has been sitting in my kitchen. PG Tips bills itself as “England’s No. 1 Tea,” vs Barry’s claim of being “Ireland’s finest.” I’d tried PG Tips and didn’t find it memorable, so the box got put on a shelf.

This morning, as I was reaching up to grab a bag of Barry’s, the box of PG Tips came tumbling down. As if begging to be tried. I decided I didn’t want to start my day off with bad tea and brewed both.

I took two identical mugs and put a bag in each. Barry’s comes in a proper dirt cheap looking tissue paper bag that somehow doesn’t disintegrate in the hot water. PG Tips comes in a pyramid shaped bag reminiscent of the tricorn battle hats worn by our former tea taxing overlords, or perhaps Hamen.

At the moment of contact with boiling hot water, both teas looked similar. 5 minutes of steeping later, however, the difference was immense. Barry’s had formed a deep black mass. Staring into a cup of Barry’s is something one should save for days when they are most solidly rooted in their reality, as you do not know whose eyes may stare back. PG Tips was kinda golden.

Barry’s is strong and tastes like black tea. Produced since 1901, this tea has a malty mouthfeel and blends well with half-and-half and sugar, which is how I take my morning tea. If I want black tea without the trouble of cleaning out a teapot, Barry’s is that tea.

One the other hand, PG Tips tastes weakly of old cardboard and has a distinctly metallic tang. I imagine jolly old English folk shredding a Vans shoebox, and adding the tiny metal flakes generated when stripping the screws of a children’s toy battery box cover. PG Tips does not so much blend with half-and-half and sugar as color them and left me with a creamy, sweet cup of metallic tasting hot water. PG Tips claims to have first been produced in 1930. I guess 29 years means a lot.

Enjoy the tea you prefer.

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