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


In an early diary some European explorers described being served tea by the Chinese. They referred to it as “boiled water with leaves” and seemed a bit puzzled. Personally I use the Nutrimat so I can have a cup filled with a liquid that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea


I just recently switched from PG Tips to Twinings Everyday. It’s hard to find in the US, so Amazon UK is your friend. It’s fine for an everyday tea but not amazing IMO.


So, out of curiosity, given your prodigious tea-drinking, how do you prefer it? With or without sugar or cream or milk or lemon?


They say if you never purposefully learn what “good” wine is, you can’t tell the difference between $20 wine and $2000 wine.

I’ve taken this approach to tea and usually just buy the store brand of black tea and had decent results.


The PG Tips stuff isn’t low quality though, it’s good for an everyday cuppa


I may have mentioned this before but Russian engineers on a visit (during the Soviet era) described PG Tips as “floor sweepings” and I had to bring some of my own, proper tea from home for them.

These days I get Suki’s Sencha. Reasonably priced, fair trade, good quality.

I was at U with a member of the Twining family, very nice chap. But I’m not going to tell you what tea he drank because what happens in U, stays in U.


I used to be a two sugar and milk guy but started cutting excess sugar out of my diet so over the last year or so I’ve been using less and less until now I don’t have any. Tea with sugar is unbearably sweet to me now. Amazing how tastes can change

half a spoon of honey in a mug is nice on occasion though


I prefer Irish Breakfast to English Breakfast.

  • English Breakfast is the tea of shopkeepers and apprentice clerks.

  • Irish Breakfast is the tea of of firebrands and rebels.


I just go to Asian markets where everyone pretends not to understand English and buy cheap sacks of whatever smells good to me. I like lightly smoked green teas and Japanese stick teas, but I really have no idea what any of it is properly called.


I’ve been doing black unsweetened tea for so long that sugary tea is just too much for me. Though I do like a little honey in teas that have some fruit flavor to them – brings out the fruit. But I usually like lapsang souchong and smoky tea would just be weird sweetened.




I’m usually non plus on most subjects, but if someone pokes fun at my PG Tips, gloves are off. I’ve been drinking the british PG Tips daily for 10+ years and find it’s taste to be very layered and complex. I find many other teas tend to have either to much “tannin-y” flavor (I’m looking at you Tetley) or are not strong enough (the Celestial Seasoning stuff). PG Tips provides a full flavor and walks that fine line of being delicious with being overbearing.

Humm, maybe I should make a cup right now…


The religion of Assam tea drinking is REAL, dammit! I live in that church, and consider it a way of life.

In tea-grading lingo leftover sweepings and dust are referred to as “fannings”. Most commercial bag teas are 3rd pick fannings left over after the whole and broken leaves are selected. The flavor tends to be concentrated and a bit harsh.


I would heartily recommend that no one ever suggests that to (a) a British soldier (b) a British construction worker.


Builders blend.


No no, just Americans. I feel like Americans who choose tea over coffee are sometimes stereotyped as effete Anglophiles.


Steeped until it’s orange, and enough sugar that you can stand a spoon in it.


The problem with that is price is a poor predictor of quality in a wine. And the good stuff tends to start at or just below the $20 mark. Even the untrained can tell the difference between undrinkable $6 cooking grade wine and something nice in the $15-$100 bracket.


You lost me at tea in a bag.

(And yep: tea drinker swiller. I tend towards Chinese blacks, especially the pu-erh teas, although I have been making some neat blends with the unsmoked base tea that goes into lapsang souchong. And all organic, natch… especially if I am putting away a liter of the stuff made very strong each day.)


Did we really get 60 posts without my favorite tea song?

Anyway I’m going to go have a cup of Peach Passion with probably too much sugar because I am a heathen American.