Tea 101: The Simple Guide to English Breakfast Tea
When it comes to the early morning hours, most people reach for a caffeinated cup of coffee to start the day. The downside is that many of those people also experience jitters followed by an energy crash around mid-morning. Instead of reaching for a cup of coffee, grabbing a cup of black tea in the morning can give you the energy you need, without the crash. One of the most popular morning teas is called English breakfast tea. Here, we’ll give you an introduction to the tasty morning tea and show you how to prepare the perfect cup.
What Is English Breakfast Tea?
English breakfast tea is a black tea made from a blend of tea leaves mainly cultivated in tea gardens in India, Sri Lanka, and Kenya. The most popular black teas used to make English breakfast tea blends are Assam, Darjeeling, and Ceylon as well as Kenyan black teas. Chinese Keemun black tea is also used, though to a lesser extent. The tea is typically consumed with a splash of milk and sugar or with a slice of lemon.
English breakfast tea offers a bold flavor that is similar to coffee with roasted notes. The black tea boasts a full body with rich undertones and hints of malty, bitter, and mildly sweet notes. It’s a flavorful breakfast blend with robust flavors that are similar to masala chai.
English breakfast tea blends are similar in flavor profile to other breakfast teas though there are notable differences. English breakfast tea contains higher Ceylon characteristics compared to teas like Irish breakfast tea and Scottish breakfast tea, making it a bold black tea but milder overall as a breakfast tea. Irish breakfast tea has stronger Assam characteristics with bolder malty notes and deeper reddish color. Scottish breakfast tea is considered the boldest of the breakfast teas with hearty malty notes and an astringent flavor.
English breakfast tea is also different from Earl Grey tea, another popular British morning tea. Earl Grey tea is a tea blend that contains black leaves, which are scented with bergamot rinds. Earl Grey offers a citrusy flavor that is not present in normal English breakfast tea blends.
Benefits of English Breakfast Tea
This black tea blend boasts numerous benefits thanks to a high concentration of nutrients and minerals. These nutrients include antioxidants such as tannins, catechins, and polyphenols as well as minerals including potassium and manganese. These chemical components can help support strong bones and heart health although research is ongoing (1)(2).
English breakfast tea is also a great source of energy since it is a caffeinated tea. Like other black teas, this black tea contains between 30 and 50 milligrams of caffeine, which can help you get through a tough afternoon or kick-start your morning. In addition, black tea leaves contain l-theanine, which has been shown to slow the absorption of caffeine, thus lengthening the energy boost and limiting the crashes and jitters associated with coffee (3).
How to Prepare English Breakfast Tea
- Bring water to between 205 and 212 degrees Fahrenheit using a temperature-controlled teapot or a pot on the stove.
- Pour the hot water into a teacup. Add 1 teaspoon of loose leaf black tea or 1 black tea bag or sachet to a tea strainer and place in the teacup.
- Steep the tea leaves for 3 to 5 minutes. The longer the steeping time, the stronger the flavor will be.
- Remove the tea strainer and add sweetener, milk, or lemon as desired.
For the best flavor, choose a loose leaf tea rather than tea bags, which contain the dust and left-over pieces of tea leaves.
To brew English breakfast tea as an iced tea, prepare using the instructions above. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator or serving over ice cubes.
Kick-Start Your Morning With English Breakfast Tea
English breakfast tea is a black tea that boasts strong, malty flavors that are stronger than the notes found in green tea and oolong tea. The tea contains a moderate amount of caffeine, making it a great choice for people who are looking to switch from herbal tea like rooibos to something that can boost their energy. Pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy the full-bodied flavor as a morning tea or an afternoon tea while you enjoy tea sandwiches and pastries with friends and family.