The Artful Brew: 10 Things to Know About Breakfast Teas

The Artful Brew: 10 Things to Know About Breakfast Teas

Michele Lillie

Good Day, tea lovers! Our number one best-selling tea at English Tealeaves is our English Breakfast. It was created in 2002 by our British founders, Rob & Lynne Ridge. It took many tries to achieve a blend that satisfied Rob and Lynne. That blend still reigns supreme today.


Picture of two white cups and saucers with tea in them

Breakfast teas are not just a morning ritual; they are a welcoming embrace to a new day. These are robust, full-bodied teas specifically blended to accompany your breakfast and kick-start your morning. Here are ten essentials to deepen your understanding and appreciation of breakfast teas.



1. What are Breakfast Teas?

Breakfast teas are black teas. If you read our blog post on black teas, you will learn that what makes black teas unique is that they are fully oxidized teas. This leads to a robust, full-bodied and dark cup of tea.


2. Created with a Purpose

Picture of a full English breakfast with a cup of tea

Breakfast teas were created to have a strength and depth that marries well with the robust flavors of cooked breakfast foods and breads/pastries served with preserves/honey. They were designed as a simple tea for the average British citizen to start the day.



3. What makes Breakfast Teas unique?

Breakfast teas are blended teas. This means the tea leaves used to make the blend are taken from tea plantations in different regions and, typically, different countries. This is in contrast to single-origin teas, which come from either one area of a country or a single tea estate. An example is our Golden Red from China or our Shangri La from Nepal.

4. The Craftsmanship Behind the Blends

Image of white tea tasting sets with trays of looseleaf tea in front of them.

Blended teas are often made to create consistency for the customer. The flavor and quality of tea leaves vary from year to year and from season to season because of the inevitable changes in the weather, in the soil and even in the manufacturing process. For those tea drinkers who want their breakfast tea to taste the same today as last year, the companies employ highly skilled and talented tea tasters who taste hundreds of samples daily to find the mix they want.

5. The Formula for Breakfast Teas

There is no standard formula for breakfast teas. It will vary from brand to brand. They will vary in color, depth of flavor, astringency, bitterness, and cost. That is why our English Breakfast tea will taste different than one from another source.

6. The Origin of the Classic Blend

The countries where the tea leaves are gathered to make a breakfast tea will vary from brand to brand. British tea makers used Chinese black teas for about the first century. Towards the end of the 19th century, Indian tea began making inroads into Britain. After intense marketing to the British public, the people began accepting the brisker and more robust Indian teas.

The standard English Breakfast tea typically uses teas from Assam, Sri Lanka and Kenya. Our English Breakfast uses leaves from Sri Lanka, the Assam region of India and the Nilgiri region of India.

7. The Exclusivity of Breakfast Tea brands

Each brand will carefully guard their recipe to keep its offering unique. Some packages may list countries of origin but no more. The ratio of tea leaves from these different countries will be kept a secret. Other brands will not even tell you the countries from which tea leaves are gathered.

Without that information, it will be difficult for you to guess how it is going to taste. For example, tea from the Assam region of India gives the blend a warm and malty flavor. Sri Lanka brings a briskness to the cup, and Kenya adds strength and depth of flavor and color.

8. A Symphony of Flavors: Types & Styles

English Breakfast is not the only type of breakfast tea. Irish and Scottish are two others that are well known. Besides those, there is an Indian Breakfast, and we even carry an African Breakfast.

Irish Breakfast
This blend is preferred by those who like their teas dark and strong. They often have a high proportion of Kenyan teas and will sometimes have teas from Indonesia. Ours departs from this formula and blends teas from India, Sri Lanka and China.

Scottish Breakfast
Most feel this is the heartiest of all blends, although it can vary from blender to blender. These teas typically include leaves from China, Assam, Sri Lanka, Africa and/or Indonesia. Our Scottish Breakfast is an in-house blend using tea from Assam and Rwanda.

English-Irish Breakfast
This in-house creation is a 50/50 blend of our English and Irish Breakfast teas. It is an amazing blend, especially for those who are not a fan of breakfast teas. This one will surprise you.

India Breakfast
As the name implies, this is usually a blend of teas from the different tea-growing areas in India – Assam, Darjeeling and Nilgiri. This blend tends to be lighter with a touch of that fruitiness and astringency one associates with Darjeeling teas.

African Breakfast
This blend is not a standard breakfast tea, but we at English Tealeaves carry a delightful one. It is composed of teas from Kenya, India and China. The makers of this blend say it is smooth, malty and milder than other breakfast teas.

9. The Complexity of Caffeine Levels

Many sources will tout Breakfast Teas as a high-caffeine morning pick-me-up and just what you need to start the day. Although some most certainly are that, the subject of caffeine levels in tea is much more complex than that. See this blog post for more.

10. Beyond Breakfast Teas

Breakfast teas are not the only blend. Some companies market an Afternoon Tea. It is designed to be lighter as it is meant to be drank in the afternoon. The blenders typically use teas from Darjeeling, China and/or Taiwan to achieve this.

There you go – ten important things to understand about Breakfast teas. Whether you're new to this invigorating category of teas or a seasoned sipper, there’s a breakfast blend that is perfectly tailored to start your day on a harmonious note. So go ahead, explore and let your curiosity steep just like your morning cup.


Blue button with link to breakfast tea collection
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