You have two choices if you're going to celebrate St. Patrick's Day today with what's in your favorite tea mug: choose a green tea, or drink tea like they traditionally do in Ireland. And these are not the same things!
While there are certainly people in Ireland drinking green tea today and all days, Ireland ranks No. 2 in the world for tea consumption (first place goes to tea drinkers in Turkey)*, and most of that tea is black. Traditionally, people in Irish prepare a very strong black tea, and serve it with milk and often sugar. Tea wasn't introduced in Ireland until the early 1800s when the upper classes began drinking it, but it was quickly embraced by all social classes.
*This info from Euromonitor International in 2014, calculated as tea imports divided by population. Particularly impressive when their data shows that would result in the Irish consuming 4.83 pounds of tea per person per year, and Turkey at 6.96 pounds per person, per year. Dang, Turkey! Leave some for the rest of us.
The three traditional tea times in Ireland include Elevenses at (surprise) around 11 a.m., afternoon tea at about 3 p.m., and High Tea, which is when many pots of strong tea are served with a variety of savory and sweet dishes.
The difference between Irish Breakfast Tea and English Breakfast Tea is slight, although most say that Irish Breakfast Tea has no set formula of tea blends and is generally more robust (because of how much they like to add milk) but both can be made from a mixture of tea from Assam, Ceylon and African black tea.
So anyway, if you're going to drink tea in honor of St. Patrick's Day, seems like the most traditional thing to do is brew a strong black tea, and definitely add milk. Then again, we found an article saying that matcha green tea was becoming the "new coffee" in Ireland last year. Notice how they didn't say it's the "new tea," because that would probably be blasphemy. Ah well -- at least it's green.
One other thing: If you're hankerin' for some green or white tea today, we've got a sale! (Today only.) Use promo code Blarney15 to take 15 percent off any green or white teas on our website.
Slàinte, whatever you're toasting with today! Happy St. Patrick's Day.
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