English Breakfast Tea

English Breakfast Tea

English breakfast, Irish breakfast, Scottish breakfast ... why are they traditionally served at breakfast time, and is there really much difference between The teas?

What is a traditional breakfast tea?

Breakfast teas are a black tea blend intended to accompany a hearty, rich morning meal so are therefore more robust than a lighter and more delicate afternoon tea blend. Because they are quite strong, breakfast tea will go well with milk. Breakfast tea blends made with Assam tea tend to have a slightly higher level of caffeine.

English, Irish, Scottish Tea: What's the difference?

English breakfast tea

English breakfast tea would originally have been a China black tea. Over time the tea blenders incorporated teas grown from parts of India and Sri Lanka as well as Africa and Indonesia at this time the aforementioned were parts of the British Empire. "The English started importing Chinese tea in the 17th century and then it really moved into gear in the 18th century as it became popular with all classes. To all intents and purposes, the first true English breakfast tea was a China congou tea.

"Then, during the Opium Wars, China imposed an embargo on its tea. Around about the same time, the British East India Company started producing its own tea in Assam, India. For awhile the old stocks of Chinese tea were dwindling quickly and the new stocks of Indian tea started arriving in the dock of the united kingdom, and they were then blended together. Move Forward to the end of the 19th century and tea was beginning to be produced in the British colony of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). You then started to have a stronger and stronger Ceylon component in what was known as English breakfast tea."

Irish breakfast tea

Irish breakfast tea has an extremely strong Assam component, which gives it a more robust, malty flavor and reddish color. "A theory is that tea must have been growing in popularity in Ireland around the time that the British East India Company was producing tea in Assam.


Scottish breakfast tea

Scottish breakfast tea tends to be the heartiest of the Teas, Quite possibly due to Scotland's famous soft waters ( this is the reason for the whiskey being so good). "Back in the day teas were blended specifically for the water conditions in the local areas in which they were marketed by the tea companies and consumed by locals. "It's conjecture, but perhaps the water in Scotland demanded a stronger tea.

So To Sum Up

  • English breakfast: Full-bodied and rich. Originally a China black tea but now frequently includes a strong Ceylon tea component. May also include teas from Assam, Africa, and/or Indonesia.
  • Irish breakfast: More robust than English breakfast. Generally has a stronger Assam component, giving it a malty flavor.
  • Scottish breakfast: Typically the strongest of the three. May include teas from China, Assam, Ceylon, Africa, and/or Indonesia.

It's extremely important to remember that at no time has there been any standard formula for any of these blends. "One company's version of English breakfast could be identical to another company's version of Irish breakfast,".It's really up to the individual tea drinker themselves to try different blends and find the one he or she likes so this just a case of trial and error but its extremely worth it.