The national drink of Ireland is indeed black, but this beverage is usually softened with a little milk and sometimes a spoon or two of sugar.
Ireland is one of the top three tea-drinking nations in the world (with Turkey and the UK). It seems we drink around four cups of tea each per day -- that's more than two kilos of leaf tea per person per year.
Tea is seen as a cure-all and while the science is inconclusive, tea does contain amino acids and vitamins which are thought to be beneficial to our health. In addition tea contains antioxidents which could play a role in preventing heart disease and cancer.
The teas were tasted blind from identical china cups by myself and two other tasters. We added a small splash of milk and found ourselves largely in agreement on the best and worst. None of the samples was actively disliked but we definitely had our preferences.
Barry's Gold Blend (5c per bag) €2.09 Light, fresh taste, aromatic and rounded with a beautiful clean finish. Lightly floral with a delicate scent, this seemed to taste very fresh. 9/10
Lyons Gold Blend (5c per bag), €2.09 Rounded and rich flavour, aromatic and slightly floral and spicy. Clean and fresh with an excellent flavour and a strong finish. Excellent. 8.5/10
Bewley's Gold Blend (4c per bag) €2.99 Light bodied but with a strong tannic flavour. Reasonably fragrant, with a light clean finish. Good 7.5/10
Lidl Mackinlays Gold Blend (2c per bag) €1.49 Light flavoured and with a greenish edge but with a pleasant mellow finish. 7/10
Aldi McGrath's Reserve Blend (2c per bag) €1.49
Light flavour and a little green but with a clean finish and pleasant aromatic elements. 6.5/10
Tesco Premium (4c per bag) €1.49 Rounded, pleasant aromas and solid taste. A pleasant if unexciting flavour. 6/10
SuperValu Gold Blend (3c per bag) €2.19 Light, tannic and a little bitter but with a pleasant finish. Not very full bodied and rather light in flavour. 5.5/10
Superquinn Original Blend (2c per bag) €1.79 Strong green and rather reedy flavour with unripe edges, but does finish fairly cleanly. 5/10
Dunnes Gold Blend (2.5c per bag) €1.99 Thin flavour, reedy and not very aromatic, dull. 4/10