Trader Joe’s Irish Breakfast Tea

Trader Joe's Irish Breakfast Tea

The lovable lout of the tea world.

I’ve reviewed a good number of teas for this blog. Flavorful teas, and bland teas. Interesting teas and slightly unnerving teas. All of them, however, gentle teas. Trader Joe’s Irish Breakfast Tea is not a gentle tea. It’s a hardcore ass-kicker tea, capable of turning a cup of hot water blackish-red in seconds and almost frightening in its intensity.

Clearly this tea is brewed by and for people who live in miserable northern latitudes, who have to drag themselves out of their drafty stone cottages to go cut peat in a bog all day. It’s a straight and strong black tea – grown in the Himalayan Assam Valley and delivered straight to you in a box of 80 tea bags for a mere $2.99. That’s a good deal for any tea – let alone one that is both a) very drinkable and b) strong enough to brew a couple of cups off of.

Ranking: 4 stars 4 star rating

What it is: Strong black tea.
Price: $2.99 for 80 tea bags.
Worth it: Yes. This is good, bold tea.

Unlike Trader Joe’s much milder, if still strong, English Breakfast Tea, their Irish Breakfast Tea is so bold and robust that all you need to do is steep it for a few seconds. Let it soak for a minute or more and the tea becomes so strong it’s practically belligerent. Full-bodied and earthy, are the adjectives that Trader Joe’s elects to use. Sure, full-bodied in the way you might call Andre the Giant full-bodied. Earthy like you might call the Earth earthy. And that’s good, because it makes it my go to tea when I need to get my butt engaged in the morning.

Is it pleasant to drink? Not exactly. It’s not necessarily a harsh tea, but like any black tea it’s going to turn astringent and bitter after an over-long soak. It’s just that in this case, an over-long soak means ” almost immediately”. Luckily there’s a natural palative to an overly strong Irish tea – a dash of milk or cream. That’s how the Irish themselves take it, mellowed out to a relaxing brownish-tan with a good dash of dairy. Unless you enjoy rocking your tongue with a little extreme tea drinking, it’s how I’d recommend it to you as well. Of course, it’s just as good with any of Trader Joe’s milk substitutes, such as their coconut milk, or soy milk creamers.

For me, this tea was the equivalent of a tattooed biker with a heart of gold. It was a bit of a rough customer at first, and I wasn’t sure I was going to warm up to it’s brash ways, but then I noticed that all the tattoos were hearts that said “MOM” inside. It might take some getting used to, but once you start enjoying Trader Joe’s Irish Breakfast Tea, you’ll come to love it’s uniquely strong take on an otherwise mild beverage.

The Breakdown

Would I Recommend It: Yes, but be ready with the milk.

Would I Buy It Again: I just finished my first box, and I miss it already.

Final Synopsis: Like three bags of regular black tea at once.

6 Comments on “Trader Joe’s Irish Breakfast Tea”

  1. Irish Breakfast Tea is one of my favorites! I can’t wait to try this one!

  2. Lolo says:

    This sounds AWESOME!! I cannot wait to pick this up next time I get to a TJ’s!!

  3. Mara says:

    My “gold star” Irish tea is Barry’s Tea, which can be purchased in most major supermarkets, and this is a close second. I agree that it would be too tannic by itself unless the bag were removed from the water almost immediately, but with a bit of soy milk and honey, it’s a nice mouthful o’ tea.

  4. Leila says:

    Sounds wonderful! I prefer tea, but resort to stovetop espresso coffee first thing for the jolt. Maybe this tea also packs more of a punch than regular? I may have to stop at TJ’s on the way home…even though I was just there yesterday.

  5. Rachel says:

    My tea shelf is well stocked but this is my got to have it tea for cold, gray northwest mornings. I currently have one half full and two unopened boxes in my pantry because running out would be like a coffee drinker waking up in a world without java. It’s true it needs only the shortest of steep times or it becomes kind of undrinkable but if water temperature and steep time are correct it makes a nice cup with milk. It’s darn close to traditional blends like Barry’s with an unbeatable price. I also drink a very robust imported pu erh so TJ’s Irish Breakfast fits my taste preferences.

  6. Rose Red says:

    Irish people and many Irish American people such as myself drink tea with milk. That’s why we like a strong tea.

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