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tea test

Taste-off: Is Barry's tea or Lyons tea better?

Finally, a definitive answer.

THE TEA QUESTION is one that divides Ireland perhaps more than any other. Leinster against Munster. Green against red. Bag against bag.

Which tastes better: Barry’s tea, or Lyons tea?

Following the controversy of last week’s Tayto vs King grudge match, we mustered our finest tea tasters and put it to the test.


Two mugs, exactly the same, only one has a Barry’s teabag and one has a Lyons teabag.

Hot water from the same kettle, both brewed for exactly the same time.

Same amount of milk added to each.

Mug A: Barry’s Tea

Mug B: Lyons Tea

The questions: What would the tasters think? Which would they prefer? And would they be able to tell Barry’s from Lyons?

Taster #1:

They both smell like tea, they look the same colour. A is pretty light, there’s not a strong taste off that. It hit the back of my throat with a note of smokiness.

B tastes more like tea. More tea-like… It’s stronger, but there isn’t much in it.

Preference: B – Lyons

Taster #2:

A tastes kind of burned, kind of bitter. It’s not very fragrant.

B is slightly more fragrant. It’s got a different flavour, not as sharp. But they taste really similar.

Preference: B – Lyons (“It’s not as bitter-tasting.”)

Taster #3:

[smelling A] There’s not that much of a smell off it. It’s very mild. It has a slightly dry aftertaste. It’s good, I like it.

B has sort of a sweeter smell. A less bitter aftertaste, a more pleasant taste. It’s more comforting.

Preference: B – Lyons

Contender in the left corner, Barry’s. In the right corner, Lyons.

Taster #4:

B is a little bit more bitter. There’s a bitter aftertaste.

Preference: A – Barry’s

Taster #5:

A has that bitter aftertaste that sometimes tea gets. You can almost taste the bag.

B is nicer. It doesn’t have that aftertaste.

Preference: B – Lyons


In a shock upset for some, it was a convincing 4-1 win for Lyons over Barrys. Lyons is the victor, with even a convinced Barry’s partisan won over by its taste.

All but one of the tasters also correctly identified the two teas. Maybe the most interesting thing here is that almost all the tasters homed in on a “bitter aftertaste”… whichever of the teas they tasted it in.

The tea wars are over. But can we survive the peace?

Are there any rival products you’d like to see put through a blind taste test? Leave your suggestions in the comments, or tweet us @dailyedge.

Joe Duffy has his pile of Lyons mugs ruined. Ruined. (Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)

Taste-off: Are King crisps or Tayto crisps better?>

Ah go on: Half of tea drinkers think you know them if you make the perfect cup>

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