Top 10 English Breakfast Teas to Buy Online

English Breakfast Tea, a classic choice for the morning brew, has been a staple for those starting their day across Britain and beyond for quite a while now. It's known for its robustness, featuring a deep, strong flavor profile and a dark infusion that delivers an invigorating experience. It's definitely earned its place as a preferred morning beverage.

The classic blend usually combines various types of black teas like Assam, Ceylon, and Kenyan teas, resulting in a full-bodied cup with a bold and complex character. You'll often find it carrying malty, slightly sweet, and sometimes astringent notes, which add to its depth.

English Breakfast Tea goes hand in hand with milk and sugar, standing up well to the creaminess, although some prefer it plain or with a touch of lemon. It's common to brew it at higher temperatures, and it's appreciated for its caffeine kick, serving as an ideal drink to jump-start the day or as a pick-me-up. If you're someone who loves a strong cup in the morning, and especially if you're a fan of milk and sugar with your tea, this classic was made for you.

History of English Breakfast Tea

English Breakfast Tea, while its exact beginnings aren't firmly recorded, made its debut in 19th-century Britain. This happened during a time when tea was gaining serious traction among folks in England.

The whole idea behind crafting this blend was to suit the English taste buds. They wanted a tea that could really hold its own against the milk and sugar that Brits often add to their cuppas. So, they whipped up this blend using a mix of black teas like Assam from India, Ceylon from Sri Lanka, and Kenyan teas. The goal? Creating a tea that's bold, flavorful, and just right for the English palate.

Back in the day, it didn't have a fancy name; it was simply called "breakfast tea." But as time passed and its popularity soared, tea merchants got wise and started calling it "English Breakfast Tea" by the late 1800s. Before long, it became a go-to morning beverage not just in England but found its way to tea cups around the world.

Irish, Scottish, and English Breakfast Tea

If you're wondering what the differences are between the three well known breakfast tea blends, you're not alone. To put it as simply as possible, while all three blends are black teas designed for breakfast consumption, they can differ in the specific types of teas used in the blend and the overall strength and flavor profile. English Breakfast Tea tends to have a balanced, rich flavor, Irish Breakfast Tea is stronger and more robust, while Scottish Breakfast Tea might offer an even more assertive, bold taste. Preferences for one over the other often come down to personal taste and the desired strength of the morning brew.

How to Spot a Quality English Breakfast Tea

Blend Composition: A high-quality English Breakfast Tea blend typically comprises a mix of different black teas, such as Assam, Ceylon, and Kenyan teas. The proportion and quality of these teas in the blend contribute to its flavor profile, richness, and depth.

Flavor Profile: Look for a well-balanced flavor that is robust, full-bodied, and offers complexity without overwhelming bitterness. The tea should exhibit malty, sometimes slightly sweet, and occasionally astringent notes, delivering a satisfying taste experience. If you're shopping online, pay attention to customer reviews as well as flavor notes on the product page.

Aroma: A good English Breakfast Tea will have a fragrant and inviting aroma. It should release a pleasant scent that hints at the richness of the brew without being overpowering. Like the flavor profile, rely on customer reviews and notes on the product page if you're trying to decide whether to invest in a blend online.

Color and Clarity: The brewed tea should have a deep, reddish-brown hue, showcasing its strength and richness. Additionally, clarity in the liquid indicates a well-processed tea. It's also a great sign that the tea leaves are not too broken and will provide you with a fresh and healthy flavor.

Briskness: This refers to the tea's liveliness and how it feels on the palate. A quality English Breakfast Tea offers a brisk quality, often described as a lively, refreshing sensation that awakens the senses. Look for words like brisk and bright in the description if you're ordering a tea online, and check out customer reviews as well.

Mouthfeel: Consider the texture and body of the tea. It should have a smooth and substantial mouthfeel, providing a satisfying and lasting taste experience. This is something that's difficult to judge before purchasing, but I recommend paying attention to it to get a sense of the tea quality when deciding if you've found your perfect blend.

Consistency Across Brews: A high-quality English Breakfast Tea maintains its flavor and character across multiple infusions. Consistency in taste, aroma, and color between brews demonstrates the tea's quality and craftsmanship.

Aftertaste: A good English Breakfast Tea will leave a pleasant, lingering aftertaste without any undesirable bitterness or astringency.

Top 10 English Breakfast Tea Blends

So we've discussed the basics of English Breakfast Tea and how to identify a high quality blend... In case you're interested in trying this much-loved classic, here are 10 different options that are available online today!

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This twist on the classic blend is sourced from Assam, Rwanda and Ceylon and is described as a zesty and malty cup. It goes great with a splash of milk and is perfect for any time of day. Glowing reviews claim that it's smooth, strong, and balanced. I love that Teapigs uses environmentally conscious packaging. It's available both in pyramid sachets and loose leaf tea.

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Clipper describes their breakfast tea as brisk, flavorsome and full-bodied. It features fine tea hand-plucked in the highlands. Some reviewers were disappointed at the non-recyclable packaging and a possible change in tea quality, so be sure to read recent reviews before investing in this blend!

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Twinings did a great job with this classic, evidenced by wonderful reviews and a loyal following. Their English Breakfast Tea is their most popular blend, featuring fine tea from Kenya, Malawi, Indonesia, China and Assam. This variety of teas contributes to a brisk, full-bodied and flavorful cup that's not only robust but well balanced.

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This tea is another that boasts a very loyal following, and for good reason. Harney & Sons' English Breakfast blend pays tribute to the classic with its reliably delicious balance of briskness, body, and perfect aroma. It's offered in the form of loose leaf tea, sachets and teabags.

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This English Breakfast Tea is a flavorful blend of Indian Assam teas, Ceylon Dimbula and smoky Keemun from China. Smith Teamaker describes it as the perfect breakfast tea. The flavor profile includes notes of malt and honey. Lucky for us, it's available in loose leaf or teabags.

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The Assam tea in Ahmad Tea's English Breakfast blend gives it a delicious malty and creamy quality, while the Ceylon and Kenyan teas add a delightful freshness. According to the product page this blend goes especially great with milk and sugar, and it's offered as loose leaf tea or in teabags, making it a convenient and versatile option regardless of your preference. Customers have left raving reviews so you can be confident you're investing in a quality tea.

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Whittard describes their English Breakfast Tea as a light and refined take on the classic. This blend seems to have been designed with elegance and finery in mind, so it's the perfect tea to serve to guests or for a special occasion of your own. It's described as having a lighter and more floral flavor while not giving up the malty flavors that are recognized and loved in English Breakfast Tea. Loose leaf tea and tea bags are both available online.

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Republic of Tea offers a robust and quality English Breakfast blend that combines a variety of black teas into a lovely balanced brew. They recommend adding milk to your cup before pouring the tea in. The blend is a tantalizing combination of quality black tea leaves from Assam, Sri Lanka, Darjeeling and Africa.

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This English Breakfast Tea is full of strength and character, the perfect bright tea to start your day with. This is due to the high quality Ceylon tea that it's made with... Tea from high elevation estates in the Dimbula Valley. You'll love this tea if you're a fan of bright, single region tea that'll hit the spot and give you energy for your day.

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Fortnum & Mason's Royal Blend is a twist on the classic with notes of Flowery Pekoe from Sri Lanka and malty Assam. This blend is certainly special, having been first created in 1902 for Edward VII. I've included it in the list due to its recognizable and traditional features, but the Royal Blend is more than just an English Breakfast Tea. It's made a name for itself due to its smooth, malty, honey-like flavor and is described as an upgrade to your regular morning brew.

Brewing Techniques and Tips

How can you get the most out of your English Breakfast Tea? By brewing it correctly, of course! Here are some of my top tips for brewing a perfect cup of the classic blend:

Water Temperature: Use freshly boiled water, ideally around 200-212°F (93-100°C). The high temperature helps extract the robust flavors from the black tea leaves.

Tea-to-Water Ratio: Use approximately one teaspoon of loose leaf tea or one tea bag per 8 ounces (240 ml) of water. Adjust based on personal preference for stronger or milder tea.

Steeping Time: Steep the tea for about 3 to 5 minutes. This duration allows the flavors to fully develop without becoming overly bitter. Adjust steeping time based on taste preference.

Tea Straining: If using loose leaf tea, use a fine mesh strainer or an infuser to strain the leaves after steeping to prevent over-extraction.

Milk or Sweeteners: English Breakfast Tea is commonly enjoyed with milk, cream, or sweeteners like sugar or honey. Add these according to personal taste preferences. Some prefer the tea black or with a slice of lemon.

Experiment with Brewing: Adjust the brewing parameters such as water temperature, steeping time, and tea-to-water ratio to tailor the brew to your desired strength and taste.

Multiple Infusions: Some English Breakfast Tea blends can withstand multiple infusions. Experiment to see if your chosen blend maintains its flavor through multiple steepings.

Storage: Store your tea in an airtight container away from moisture, light, and strong odors to preserve its freshness and flavor over time.

By following these tips, you can create a totally awesome and satisfying cup of English Breakfast Tea that highlights its robust flavors and character. As with any tea, don't shy away from making adjustments based on personal preferences to tailor the brew to your liking.

What Pairs Well With English Breakfast Tea?

English Breakfast Tea is pretty versatile when it comes to what you can enjoy it with. Its robust flavor pairs super well with lots of different foods. I love any black tea with pastries and baked goods, like scones or muffins.

Anything with dairy, like milk chocolate or creamy desserts, seems to complement the slightly sweet and malty notes in the tea. And fruit, especially berries, are a nice contrast to the tea's slightly tangy taste.

For a more savory vibe, you could go for a cheese platter or some smoked salmon. Even some spicy dishes or rich foods like curry or a beef stew can stand up well to the robustness of this tea. If you're having a breakfast spread with eggs, bacon, or sausage, a cup of English Breakfast Tea can be a real treat alongside those.

Basically, there are a whole bunch of options! It's all about finding what you like best and what tickles your taste buds. Give it a try with different foods and see what combo you love the most. If you're like me, you won't be able to choose!

Caffeine and Health Notes

English Breakfast Tea, like many other black teas, generally packs a moderate amount of caffeine, a bit more than your typical green or white tea but less than coffee. Now, when it comes to potential health perks, black teas, including English Breakfast, offer antioxidants that could help with heart health and digestion. There's also some evidence that they might reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases. Just remember, while English Breakfast Tea has its benefits, it's all about finding that balance and enjoying it as part of a well-rounded lifestyle.

In Conclusion

We've talked about the history of English Breakfast Tea, the elements of a high quality version, 10 blends that are available to purchase online, brewing tips, pairings, and caffeine and nutritional facts.

Overall there is so much to love about this classic blend. My favorite quality of English Breakfast Tea is its extreme versatility. It goes so well with all kinds of desserts and foods, as well as standing up well to milk, cream, and sweeteners. While "breakfast" is in its name, it can really be the perfect tea for almost any time of day (although I'm not sure I'd recommend it right before bed).

If you haven't tried this traditional black tea blend yet, today is your day!

Evelyn Boyer

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© 2024 Always Time for Tea. All rights reserved.

All content on this blog is the property of Always Time for Tea and is protected by international copyright laws. The content is intended for personal, non-commercial use only. Any unauthorized use, reproduction, or distribution is strictly prohibited.


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