Comparing Breakfast Teas: English Vs Irish Breakfast Teas

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Last Updated on March 20, 2024

Let’s dive into the world of breakfast teas to explore and compare two popular varieties: English Breakfast Tea Vs Irish Breakfast Tea

english breakfast tea vs irish breakfast tea

English Breakfast Tea Vs Irish Breakfast Tea

Learn about what makes English breakfast tea vs Irish breakfast tea different and which type of tea has the strongest flavor and caffeine content. Understanding these key differences can help you find your personal favorite in the variety of breakfast tea options. 

What is Breakfast Tea?

Breakfast tea is a traditional blend of black teas originating from different regions. This full-bodied tea is typically associated with a hearty breakfast. The main difference between the different types of breakfast tea lies in their unique characteristics and flavor profile.

English, Irish, Scottish: What’s the Difference?

While all are robust black tea blends, English, Irish, and Scottish breakfast teas have distinct differences. English breakfast tea has a rich flavor, Irish breakfast tea has a stronger flavor with a high caffeine content, and Scottish breakfast tea is known for its strong flavor and reddish hue.

English Breakfast Tea

The English breakfast tea is a blend of several black teas usually including Kenyan teas, Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka, and Chinese tea.

History of English Breakfast Tea

The English breakfast tea blend dates back to the 18th century. It was popularized by Queen Anne, but its cultural significance grew during the reign of Queen Victoria.

How It Tastes

English breakfast tea has a full-bodied taste with a malty flavor that appeals to many tea lovers’ taste buds.

Caffeine Content

English breakfast tea tends to have slightly less caffeine that Irish breakfast tea and Scottish breakfast tea.

The Usual Way to Drink It

This strong black tea is usually enjoyed hot with a splash of milk. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a full English breakfast.

Irish Breakfast Tea

Irish breakfast tea is a blend of Assam and other strong black teas. It’s an integral part of Irish culture.

History of Irish Breakfast Tea

Irish breakfast tea has roots in the 19th century when the British East India Company began importing different teas.

How It Tastes

Irish breakfast tea has a more robust flavor than its English counterpart, often described as bold and malty.

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Caffeine Content

Irish breakfast tea falls in the middle when it comes to caffeine content, closley behind the Scottish breakfast blend. 

The Usual Way to Drink It

Irish tea drinkers typically enjoy this robust tea with milk or sugar. Its strong Assam component makes it a better choice for coffee drinkers looking to switch to tea.

Scottish Breakfast Tea

The Scottish breakfast blend is a blend of teas that is well-suited to Scotland’s soft water.

History of Scottish Breakfast Tea

Scottish breakfast tea was created by tea makers like Robert Drysdale in the 19th century, who wanted a blend that worked well with the softer water found in Scotland.

How It Tastes

With its strong, full-bodied taste and rich flavor, Scottish breakfast tea is a personal favorite for many.

Caffeine Content

Scottish breakfast tea generally has the highest amount of caffeine compared to the other two breakfast teas.

The Usual Way to Drink It

Scottish breakfast tea is typically served hot with a splash of milk. Its robust flavor makes it an ideal accompaniment to a hearty breakfast.

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Rank by Strongest in Flavor

  1. Most Mild in Flavor: English breakfast tea blend has a milder flavor compared to its Irish counterpart but still offers a rich flavor. Its blend of black teas from different regions like Sri Lanka (Ceylon tea) and East Africa gives it a balanced taste.
  2. Right in the Middle: Irish breakfast tea blend is known for its strong Assam component, giving it a bold flavor and a reddish hue. It’s strong in flavor, but not quite as strong as Scottish breakfast tea.
  3. Strongest: Scottish breakfast blend follows closely with a full-bodied taste and depth of flavor. The blend of several black teas including Kenyan teas and Assam gives this tea its hearty character. Scotland’s soft water also plays a role in enhancing its malty flavor.

Health Benefits of Breakfast Tea

Breakfast tea blends are not just about waking you up. They have health benefits too! Black tea blends used in these breakfast teas contain antioxidants that can help improve heart health.

They have less caffeine than coffee, making them a better choice for those looking to reduce their caffeine intake.

How to Brew Breakfast Teas

To get the most out of your cup of tea, you need to brew it right.

  1. Start with fresh, cold water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Place your tea bags or loose leaf tea (a better choice for a full-bodied tea experience) in your teapot or cup, then pour the hot water over the tea leaves.
  3. Let it steep for 3-5 minutes depending on how strong you like your tea.

Ways to Drink Breakfast Tea

There’s no one right way to drink breakfast tea – it’s all about personal preference. Some tea lovers enjoy their breakfast blends straight, relishing the strong tea flavors.

Others prefer a splash of to soften the bold flavor and add a creamy texture. For a full English breakfast or hearty Irish breakfast experience, pair your tea with a traditional breakfast spread.

Other Breakfast Teas

  • French Breakfast Tea: Known for its smooth, rich flavor with a hint of vanilla. It typically has a medium level of caffeine.
  • China Breakfast Tea: This tea is often black and strong, boasting malty flavors with a high level of caffeine to start your day.
  • Russian Breakfast Tea: Russian teas are usually robust and full-bodied, with an earthy flavor. They also contain a high amount of caffeine.
  • Canadian Breakfast Tea: A blend that is typically lighter than others, with sweet notes and a moderate caffeine content.
  • Ontario Breakfast Tea: Known for its fresh and crisp taste, it has a medium level of caffeine to kickstart your morning.
  • Yorkshire Breakfast Tea: This UK favorite is strong and malty, often enjoyed with milk. It contains a high level of caffeine.
  • Melbourne Breakfast Tea: A full-bodied black tea with a hint of vanilla, this Australian blend has a medium caffeine content.
  • Sydney Breakfast Tea: Another Australian favorite, this tea has citrusy notes and a light floral aroma, with a low to medium caffeine content.
  • Assam Breakfast Tea: This robust, malty tea hails from India and is known for its bright color and strong flavor. It’s high in caffeine, making it perfect for that morning kickstart.
  • Darjeeling Breakfast Tea: Another Indian variant, this tea has a delicate, floral flavor with a light body. It has a moderate amount of caffeine.
  • Yunnan Breakfast Tea: From China, this tea has a rich, earthy flavor with notes of pepper and chocolate. It’s high in caffeine.
  • Ceylon Breakfast Tea: From Sri Lanka, Ceylon tea is full-bodied and bold with a citrusy aroma. Its caffeine content is moderate to high.
  • Kenyan Breakfast Tea: Known for its strong and malty flavor, this African tea is rich in antioxidants and has a high caffeine level.
  • Russian Caravan Tea: A blend of Oolong, Keemun, and Lapsang Souchong teas, it has a smoky flavor reminiscent of the campfires along the ancient trade route between China and Russia. The caffeine level varies based on the blend but generally falls in the moderate range.
  • Earl Grey Breakfast Tea: This popular black tea is flavored with oil from the rind of bergamot orange, offering a distinctively fragrant citrusy taste. It has a moderate level of caffeine.
  • English Afternoon Tea: Despite its name, this blend works well as a breakfast tea too! It’s lighter than English breakfast tea and has a gentle floral note with a moderate amount of caffeine.

Final Thoughts

With different teas offering different tastes, choosing a breakfast tea blend can be an exciting journey for tea lovers. Whether you prefer the stronger flavor of Irish tea, the full-bodied taste of Scottish breakfast tea, or the balanced blend of English tea, there’s a variety of breakfast tea out there for every tea lover. 


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