The Irish have always been great tea drinkers. They drink their tea brewed very strong. In fact, there is a common saying among the Irish that a proper cup of tea should be "strong enough for a mouse to trot on".
Irish Breakfast, with its robust flavor, is usually enjoyed only in the morning (except for the Irish who drink it all day). Usually it is blended with an Assam tea base. Assam is a district in northeastern India that lies on the Indian-Burmese border. It produces more black tea than any other area on earth, with the probable exception of a few places in China. Assam's tea gardens cover some four hundred thousand acres of verdant rolling plains on both sides of the mighty Brahmaputra River. Assam is proof that not all fine quality tea has to be high grown. This rainy valley is the birthplace of Indian tea. Robert Bruce discovered the plant growing wild here in 1823, and the first commercial lot of tea ever produced outside of China -- eight chests in all -- came from Assam in 1839.
For our Irish breakfast tea, we use high quality, full bodied, robust Assam teas. The resulting blend is a dark brown tippy leaf that brews up a deep red liquor that is hearty, malty and rich in flavor. This tea is delicious with milk and sugar.
The Stash Tea Company is a privately-held company headquartered in Tigard, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. Founded in 1972, Stash Tea originally operated out of an old Portland Victorian style house, supplying loose herbal teas and bulk herbs to natural food stores. Starting in 1975, the company broadened its focus to include bagged teas and then began to sell a full line of traditional, specialty blend and herbal teas directly to fine restaurants and through a mail order catalog to consumers.
Today, Stash Tea is one of the largest specialty tea companies in the United States. The company derives its name from an entertaining aspect of tea folklore. In earlier centuries, tea was a valuable commodity traditionally transported by clipper ship. The ship's captain often was presented with some of the finest teas for his personal use. This supply was his "stash," stowed carefully as his "private reserve". Today, the term is still used to denote anything put away carefully because of its preciousness.