The Ultimate Guide to The Best English Breakfast Tea
English breakfast tea is a classic staple in most tea lover's cabinets. The tea's rich history as the drink of choice for elite royalty in the United Kingdom adds an air of romance and indulgence that can be enjoyed by the masses. Featuring a caramel color and bold flavor notes, this tea pairs perfectly with a dash of milk and sugar. Purchasing high-quality tea blends means you can enjoy this tea to its fullest. Discover the best English breakfast tea and learn more about how to pick the right one.
Where To Find The Best English Breakfast Tea
English breakfast tea is a tea blend made using a variety of different black teas. The best teas are hand chosen by tea masters and professional tea tasters to elicit a unique blend of bold, rich flavor that is smooth and provides a brisk aftertaste. The main differences in English breakfast teas can be traced to where the leaves were sourced. The regional climate and harvest techniques impart different flavors to the black tea leaves. Most black teas used in English breakfast tea are produced in four regions including India, China, Sri Lanka, and Kenya.
It's no surprise that India produces one of the best English breakfast teas. The region was once a British colony during which time tea production was dramatically expanded. It's also home to some of the best tea growing climates and the soil composition imparts delicious flavors you won't find anywhere else on the planet.
In India, Assam black tea reigns supreme. This tea is made from a special variety of the tea plant called Camellia sinensis var assamica which is grown in the Assam region of the country rather than its other famous tea province, Darjeeling. The leaves offer a robust flavor wrapped in a malty, smooth body. This type of black tea also ranks high on the list of black teas that best produce the classic brisk notes associated with a great cup of English breakfast tea.
Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, produces a black tea known as Ceylon tea. Like India, this country was a former British colony. While the flavor profile of English breakfast teas from this region varies depending on the estate which produced it, most share some basic characteristics.
Sri Lankan black teas offer hints of citrus and nutty flavors and tend to be less bitter than other black teas. They feature a brisk finish and moderate body and typically brew into a gentle golden brown hue. Sri Lankan producers also mainly produce loose leaf teas so it's less likely you'll find this blend in tea bags.
No tea list is complete without the addition of the world's most prominent tea producer, China. In China, Keemun black tea is the most popular variety used to brew English breakfast tea. While known for its production of green tea, China also cultivates an exquisite black tea that imparts new and more vibrant flavors. Keemun offers smoky notes that make black tea blends much more robust than other alternatives. In a Keemun English breakfast blend, you'll find notes of chocolate, malt, and roasted flavors with a full body.
African blends of English breakfast tea are most commonly found in tea bags or sachets. That's because most producers in the region use the CTC (Cut-Tear-Curl) method to grind the black tea leaves into fine pieces. The result is a cup of tea with intense flavors and higher astringent notes. Kenyan black teas are also known for their bright and brisk flavors that brew into light brown hues.
Brands With The Best English Breakfast Tea
Not all English breakfast teas are created equal. Poor quality teas — that are often found on grocery store shelves — result in bitter blends that can be bland and boring. Fortunately, there are many tea brands that produce amazing breakfast teas with high quality, artisan flavor. Keep in mind, the addition of milk and sugar should be used to draw out the nuanced flavor of the tea, not cover up tannic and bitter notes. Here are some of the best English breakfast tea blends on the market.
Cup & Leaf
Cup & Leaf English breakfast tea is smooth, packed with flavor, and the perfect way to start off the day. This blend features Sri Lankan tea leaves offering citrusy and nutty flavors that are increasingly rare in breakfast blends. Mix it with a splash of milk, sugar, lemon, and mint to draw out the natural flavor profile of this tasty drink.
Twinings is one of the world's most recognizable tea brands. Famous for producing and developing some of the best British teas including Earl Grey, this company delivers a delightful breakfast tea blend that hits all the right notes. Twinings English breakfast tea features a blend of Indian, Indonesian, Chinese, and Kenyan black teas for a full body that is bursting with brisk flavor notes.
Harney & Sons
This company is another one of the British heavy hitters, delivering an exquisite black tea blend that is perfect for kicking your morning off right. The Harney & Sons English breakfast tea is made using Keemun black tea leaves, resulting in a richer, smokier flavor than other black tea brands on this list.
Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Gold
Taylor's of Harrogate offers a breakfast tea blend that brews into a bright cup of golden sunshine with malty flavors and a rich body. The tea is made using high-quality black tea leaves from cultivators in Kenya, Rwanda, and India.
Tetley English breakfast tea blends use a mix of African and Indian black tea leaves to craft a beverage that is loaded with rich, complex flavors. The Indian Assam tea adds malty notes that are enhanced by the full-bodied flavor of African black tea leaves.
Tazo is a newer tea company that focuses on healthy blends that impart bright, bold flavors. Tazo English breakfast tea is made using hand-picked tea leaves that are sourced for their high-quality flavor and aroma. Each cup of this tasty tea features an energizing blend that is packed with bold and brisk tasting notes. The steeping time of this tea is a tad longer than most black teas — best steeped for five minutes or so — and doesn't develop any bitter notes.
Stash is a tea company known for its wide range of Fair Trade certifies organic teas. Stash English breakfast tea is available as both loose tea or in tea bags and features the characteristic malty flavor of blended black tea leaves and brews into a bright golden color.
PG Tips is another famous tea brand that delivers the goods when it comes to breakfast teas. Known for producing one of the most expensive teas in the world, this company offers an English breakfast tea with a brisk finish and medium body.
The Best Ways to Enjoy English Breakfast Tea
Brew up the perfect cup of tea with one of the best English breakfast tea blends. Tea lovers will enjoy the invigorating aroma and bold characteristics of this delicious tasting tea. Best of all, this tea is suitable for all palates, making it a great choice whether tea is your favorite drink on the planet or you're a new tea drinker.
If you're looking for other British teas to fall in love with, try other classics like Irish breakfast tea and Earl Grey, which is infused with bergamot orange for a citrusy and vibrant flavor. You can also look for organic English breakfast teas that offer the best tea flavor in each cuppa without harmful pesticides and chemicals that can alter natural tasting notes.
Brew a hot teapot of your favorite English tea and start the day off right with a bold morning tea or add it to your afternoon tea spread as an iced tea with finger sandwiches and sweet and savory pastries. However you decide to brew, this bestseller is sure to join your list of favorite teas.