English, Irish, and Scottish Breakfast Teas- What’s the Difference?

Tea with cookies on wooden background

In some of the more prominent areas of the United Kingdom, special blends of teas were created to accompany the specific breakfast served in that country. English, Irish, and Scottish Breakfast teas are the most common breakfast teas that are still around today. But what makes them similar or different from each other?

English Breakfast Tea

In England breakfasts traditionally consisted of hearty, fried meat-laden spread along with eggs, bakes beans, fried toast, and black pudding. With a full breakfast like that, people needed a good digestive, so a special tea blend was created during the 18th century from a China Keemun black tea from the Qimen region, which was one of the most refined blends at the time, which was known for flavor notes that identified with red wine, when sipped straight, or like toast when milk was added. This tea did not come cheap, however, so more affordable blends were created, which started spanning the globe. Today in the United States, most English Breakfast Teas comprise of Ceylon/Sri Lanka black tea. While every tea company will have their own English Breakfast Tea, they all typically use similar blends.

Irish Breakfast Tea

Ireland is a country of heavy tea drinkers, and just like their whiskey, they like it strong. Irish Breakfast Teas tend to be malty in flavor and full-bodied. Many Irish Breakfast Teas are made from Assam Indian black tea, though they can include a blend of other black teas that enhance the flavor. Irish Breakfast Teas are dark reddish brown in color when brewed with notes of malt with a brisk flavor. Since this is a fairly strong, bold tea, it is usually served with milk, though drinking it straight is quite enjoyable as well.

Scottish Breakfast Tea

Scottish Breakfast Teas typically echo most English and Irish Breakfast teas adhering to a strong, robust, and full-bodied flavor. Soft water is predominant in Scotland, so a stronger tea blend had to be developed to overcome the challenges with steeping a decent cup. Scottish Breakfast Tea usually is created singly or blended from China, Assam, Ceylon, Indonesia, or African black teas. Our Scottish Breakfast Tea is a full flavored with notes of cedar and walnut.