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Irish tea

The Irish find it odd that I drink tea black. The traditional drink is with milk -- at least -- and probably sugar.

You'd ask, serving tea, "milk and sugar?" A normal response would be "yeah; [one, two, or {maybe} three] spoons." The milk is considered a part of the tea. My friend Gary, though he may be "gagging for" a cup of tea, wouldn't have it without milk. He's not atypical.

Barry's is one of the two principal brands, Lyon's being the other. Friends have told me, since I posted that box, that Lyon's really is the truest original Irish cup of tea, but to be honest I find the two rather equivalent.

In Holland, I would drink one cup of coffee per day. The coffee there is good. It's lovely, tasty -- and served with a nice little candy cookie. But -- more pertinently -- the Dutch traditional Dutch cafe is comfortable. Beautiful rustic old establishments, the best of them, outfitted in wooden fixtures and amenable to long hours of liesure. Indeed, it is a rude experience to have your table cleared while you sit, and I only experienced that once.

But that's Holland.

There's good coffee in Ireland. You can find it. But it lacks the tradition. Without the proper coffeehouse, it lacks context. Coffee just makes me nervous, mostly. It's a powerful drug, really. Without its proper context, I don't enjoy it so much.