Tea Off: Lyons V Barrys

Lyons Tea original blend box

Tea. For our US neighbours across the pond who don’t generally own kettles as part of their kitchen paraphernalia, tea is seen as something delightfully old fashioned, ladylike and whimsical, to be served at 4pm in frilly porcelain cups with sugar lumps, a vicar and some crustless cucumber sandwiches.

But as we all know, tea is a particularly Irish experience too. And quite a different one at that. None of yer Liptons or PG Tips here, thanksverymuch. Oh no. Bang a bag or three in a mug, leave it brew for a half-life of at least a thousand years so the resultant tannin stains will keep your dentist in business till kingdom come and that’s a proper Irish Cupan Tae O’Toole. Forget to warm the teapot first? Expect a clatther about the head from your mother for your incredible stupidity, so. It’ll get cold, you craythur! And dare to refuse a cup in someone’s house on a visit? <insert Mrs Doyle Clip here>

And then of course, like county colours, it’s possible to size someone up and assess their character – much in the way that a Nordie Mammy can know your seed, breed and bad thoughts based on your surname – based on the brand of tea they drink.

So people. Are YOU a Barry’s or a Lyons quaffer? Me? I’m in the Lyons camp. I grew up in a Lyons household, despite having a Corkish father. What can I say? He was clearly rebelling, as is the wont of those from the Real Republic. And to this day, no other tay holds sway.

You? Dish in a comment. This is a safe space of no judgement. Yet…

(by Kirstie McDermott)

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14 thoughts on “Tea Off: Lyons V Barrys

  1. benwalsh says:

    I will yield to no-one in my loathing of Cork — but I am a Barry’s Tea man before all else.

  2. Barry’s Tea girl, and absolutely cannot stand the taste of Lyons. Can I also stick in a vote for a nice cup of Earl Grey for those posh afternoons?

  3. lorrrrrraine says:

    Weird ones from Lidl that aren’t even worth remembering the name of. Given the choice, I think I’m a Lyons lady.

  4. Oliver Farry says:

    Definitely Barry’s, even though I grew up drinking Lyon’s. Lyon’s reminds me too much of builder’s arse.

  5. kirstie McDermott says:

    Well I can go one better. I’M DRINKING A CUP OF COFFEE. Take that, tea

  6. redheadwalking says:

    Oh god, Lyons. None of that southern Barry’s stuff. And good and strong. So strong a mouse could trot across it, as my grandpa used to say.

  7. mollymooly says:

    Is there any difference between “English breakfast tea” and “Irish breakfast tea”? I don’t think the Irish version contains black and white pudding.

  8. Cacamilis says:

    Lyons is very Corkish. Castletyons and all . One of the very few clans to have colonies in Wales and England no less. Lyons tea all the way.

  9. nlgbbbblth says:

    Prefer coffee. If pushed I’ll drink Barry’s.

  10. Tessa says:

    No competition here – it’s Barry’s all the way for me, even though I grew up with Lyons. Because I’m living in Canada, I have to rely on care packages of Barry’s from my sister in Co. Wexford. I can get Barry’s teabags at one supermarket, but it has to be loose leaf, brewed in a teapot. (BTW, no Canadian kitchen would be complete without its kettle!)

  11. mollymooly says:

    Lyons was never an Irish company: J. Lyons > Allied Lyons > Allied Domecq > Unilever. But the death of Lyons Tea Shops sank the brand in Britain.

  12. BB says:

    Barry’s Tea – I mean, really…

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