An Irish Tea Taste Test

  1. When I’m short on time and need to get stuff done, nothing beats an intense cup of hot Irish tea. With a good number of Irish teas already in my collection, I decided to seek out a few popular brands that I hadn’t gotten around to tasting yet.I’ve put this post together with the thought that it might help point you towards discovering your own favorite cup of Irish tea. These are some of the dominant brands from Ireland–everyday “teabag” teas that are no-nonsense, relatively inexpensive, and fairly easy to get (thanks to Amazon!).To start, I brewed all the teas in spring (soft) water that had reached the boiling point. I tried each of the teas three times, once at 2 minutes, again at 3 minutes, and finally at 5 minutes. Shorter brew times helped me to pick up on more subtle flavors, while the longer brew time helped me to notice harsher ones. No milk or sugar here…just a chance to enjoy these teas straight up!Tea Tasting #1: Lyon’s Original Blend
  2. Bright & Fragrant. Mildly astringent as if there were a small slice of lemon floating in it. Each sip finishes on a sharp note. A very clear liquor with minimal bitterness.
  3. Tea Tasting #2: Barry’s Tea Gold Blend
  4. Brisk & Intense. Brace yourself–this is an edgy brew that turns from brisk to harsh quickly. There is a dusty aftertaste. If you enjoy your Irish tea with milk and sugar, this is a good choice.
  5. Tea Tasting #3: Bewley’s Dublin Morning Tea
  6. Dark and Smokey. Leather and tar notes, and a hint of wine-like taste. A very clear liquor, handsomely dark like coffee. This could definitely use a splash of milk.
  7. Tea Tasting #4: Thompson’s Punjana Irish Breakfast Blend
  8. Smooth & Malty. Hints of honey or caramel, gentler on the palette than all the other teas. The liquor has noticeable fannings. This is a great option if you like your Irish tea on the lighter side.
  9. Tea Tasting #5: Nambarrie
  10. Woody & Earthy. Reminds me of mahogany, bark, and dry timber. A good amount of fannings are left behind after brewing. The liquor has a yellowish hue of sunshine that reminds me of steeped saffron.The Verdict: It’s Lyons all the way for me, with Thompson’s Punjana coming in at a close second! That being said, these tasting notes are just my humble observations. If you’ve tried any of these teas, let me know what you think! I’d love to hear about the brands you love!

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David Crichton

Hi Bonnie

Firstly, well done on the rich teas! I assume you got these of Amazon too. They are the most amazing biscuit for tea. We constantly have a packet in the cupboard.

Currently we’ve got Nambarries. I was intrigued by all these Irish teas, especially with their funny names like Punjana. Surely us Brits invented Breakfast tea. My wife is Irish and they like to lay claim to lots of things.

After a bit of research, the English did invent the tea, but the Irish have created their own blend and so quite rightly call it Irish breakfast.

Stephanie Smart

Just found your blog and I’m loving it! I always loving reading posts from a fellow tea lover 🙂 I can’t wait to keep reading in the future!!!!

Bonnie Eng

You are really sweet, Stephanie! I’ve been away for a few weeks, but am looking forward to posting again soon. So glad to see you here! 😉


Thanks for your taste testing. I haven’t the opportunity to try other brands but very much enjoy Thompson’s. Since I don’t care for sugar and cream in my teas, I appreciate you testing the teas “straight”.

Bonnie Eng

Hi Jamesina! Apologies for the late reply, but yes, I so agree with you…the best way to taste any tea first is straight! Thompson’s is wonderful for drinking this way. Craving a cup of Irish Breakfast now…thanks for stopping by! 🙂


Wittards used to do a beautiful Irish breakfast tea (bags). It was just right.
I have since tried to find one similar and cannot.
I have tried Bewleys, Thompsons, Barrys and a few others which are all very different but nothing like Wittards.
I did contact Wittards and unfortunately their Irish breakfast tea won’t be coming back. They said Assam was the next best thing.
I will have to try the Lyons and Nambarrie.
Thanks for that.
The search continues….

John N.

FYI, Barry’s Gold blend tea is not their Irish breakfast tea. Barry’s Irish breakfast tea is sold under the names: Barry’s original, and Barry’s Irish breakfast.

Also, Bewley’s brand makes an Irish breakfast tea, which I’m not sure what the differences between it, and their Dublin Morning type tea are?

Nambarrie Tea is great, but not that easy to find if you are outside of the UK.


Thank you for this woderful article, Bonnie. As a fellow tea head I am very happy to have found your site! This article reminded me of a tea I had but forgot the brand – it was Thompson’s, I recognized the package in your article!

Pete Rando

My favorites are Bewley’s Dublin Morning, Thompson’s Signature Blend and Glengettie Welsh tea.


I’m American but have tried numerous Irish and English teas over several years. By far the best was Barry’s Irish Breakfast and Barry’s Gold Blend. These are vastly different than American teas. They seem to be like a work of art, expertly crafted for color and taste.