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Tea: Irish Breakfast, Decaf

by Heather M. Surls on May 30, 2017

in Best Teas, Featured, Spring 2017

The Best Tea for . . . Avoiding Caffeine
by Heather M. Surls

Let’s get this straight: I don’t prefer decaffeinated tea.

My mind will always side with an older friend who spent much of his life in a former British colony. “I want REAL tea,” he once said, when presented with an array of herbal options. But that which my mind and mouth desire, my body cannot handle, unless I’m willing to have the jitters all day.

If you’re like me, you’ll understand how I felt when I recently attended a women’s tea. I eagerly approached the tea selection, only to find Lemon Lift as my only option.

Don’t people know that lemon is for sore throats? I thought.

The internal tirade could have continued:

Don’t people know that chamomile is to make you sleepy, not to drink among friends sipping robust cups of black tea? Don’t they know that ginger is for digestion? That mint is for Christmas, sage is for stomachaches, and rosehips should just stay on the rosebush?

Don’t get me wrong: I drink my fair share of herbal teas. But I’ve spent years searching for a decaf black tea that will satisfy. Most brew up weak and with a faint chemical taste from the decaffeination process. When I living in the Middle East (where neighbors told me that black tea does not have caffeine—ha!), I even imported boxes of decaf Earl Grey, chai, and Constant Comment. These were okay, but I’d sit opposite my English friend, who can drink real black tea at all hours, and wish I had her lot.

So, imagine my delight when I discovered Trader Joe’s decaffeinated Irish breakfast tea. At $2.49 for 40 bags, the price was eye-catching. The packaging lifted my eco-friendly heart as well—the circular tea bags were tagless and stacked together in gold-colored foil rather than individually wrapped.

One question remained: Would this stuff taste REAL?

A sketched four-leaf clover winked at me from the side of the box. Would the luck o’ the Irish be upon me?

At home, I brewed a cup. As most decaf teas do, a bit of foam swirled around the tea bag as I poured the hot water in—the byproduct of decaffeination, I guess. A few minutes later, the tea looked dark and strong. And with a splash of milk, the taste proved hearty—perhaps not strong enough for the Irish, but strong enough for me.

Trader Joe’s decaf Irish breakfast has become my favorite (decaf) tea—morning, noon, and night, with breakfast, cookies, or by itself. Next time I travel overseas, I’ll be bringing a box with me.

And I’ll only long for REAL tea sometimes.


Can be purchased at: Trader Joe’s


Cost: $2.49 for 40 bags

Red Fence Rating: 8 out of 10

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