THOUGH WE’VE BEEN tea lovers for donkey’s years now, Irish people have not exactly mastered the art of tea making.
Denis Daly has been working for Barry’s Tea in Cork since 1969, and has been a master tea brewer at the company for around 40 years.
He thinks the main mistake people make while brewing tea is being too impatient:
I don’t think they give it enough time to brew. They just put the teabag into the mug and swirl it around, agitate it a bit. If they want it stronger, they’ll squeeze it. It’s all done now in a minute, maybe less than a minute.
But normally, for tea to percolate you have to let [the teabag] rest for two or three minutes. If you like it stronger, you can squeeze it.
And he doesn’t rate adding the milk to the cup before the tea:
Ah no, it’s usually after.
Every day he tastes several different types of tea from Kenya and Rwanda in Africa and Assam in India, in order to determine which kinds will be blended together to create the tea you buy in the shops.
Denis says that on a normal week, he could taste up to 450 cups of tea. And he still enjoys a cup or three in his spare time, too.
According to Denis, the perfect cup of tea should be:
- Made in a teapot
- Allowed to brew for 2/3 minutes (1/2 minutes if made in a mug)
- Given dash of milk according to the drinker’s preference
- A nice, deep golden colour
- Have a brisk, fresh taste
What’s his favourite thing about tea? The way it eases stress:
It’s a pleasant drink, it’s a sociable drink, it’s relaxing. That’s what it’s all about. Just make sure that you have a good blend.
If you want more information on Denis and tea brewing, check out this video by Barry’s Tea. And go have a cuppa. You deserve it.
And for the tea-dodgers: What it’s like being a non-tea drinker in Ireland>