What is English Breakfast tea?
English Breakfast is a traditional blend of black tea the exact recipe for which varies from maker to maker. However, most often the tea leaves are sourced from different estates in East Africa, Ceylon and Assam and then combined to produce a characteristically full bodied brew.
The richness of English Breakfast means that it can be enjoyed with milk and sometimes sweetened with sugar, although a good quality English Breakfast tea can be so smooth that it is best enjoyed on its own.
Why is it called English Breakfast tea?
Strong and moderately caffeinated, an English Breakfast style blend is designed to give a good boost in the morning and to compliment the traditional hearty English breakfast.
Its origins lie in the late 19th century, a time when tea clippers were racing across the ocean trade routes and tea-drinking was becoming ever more popular. One theory is that in 1892 a Scottish tea master called Drysdale decided that tea-drinkers needed a stronger brew and marketed his new blend as ideal for breakfast time (rather than just for the afternoon), calling it "Breakfast tea".
Although exactly when this tea became known as "English Breakfast" is vague, it has been said that Queen Victoria tried a Breakfast tea while visiting Balmoral in Scotland and enjoyed it so much that she took a box home with her to England.
It then became known as "English Breakfast tea" and is now a staple of kitchen cupboards throughout the country.
The benefits of English Breakfast Tea
English Breakfast tea has traditionally been thought of a great morning booster thanks in part to its caffeine content and a good soothing pick-me-up throughout the day.
Black tea contains on average about half the caffeine levels of coffee and also offers a slower caffeine release which can keep you alert for longer without the sharp peak and subsequent dip you might get from a strong coffee.
There are many on-going studies looking into the health benefits of tea; the UK Tea and Infusions Association reports various investigations looking into black tea's benefits for blood pressure and weight loss as well as osteoporosis and certain types of cancers.
According to British Vogue, experts suggest the humble black tea bag may be the secret key to robust health. And as research to support these claims continues, we look forward to discovering more about the exciting health properties of our favourite brew.
What makes a good English Breakfast Tea?
English Breakfast tea has been on quite a journey. It became a mainstay in nearly every household for a reason. The genius of the deliciously comforting, rich and malty breakfast blend made it an instant and enduring hit.
But over time, the magic of that quality tea was sacrificed - in some cases - to mass-production.
At Dragonfly Tea, we made it our mission to bring you breakfast tea at its best. We pay homage to the origins of the great tea with a blend of the very finest and freshest leaves.
So, what should a good English Breakfast Tea offer? Our tea experts say you should look for:
- satisfyingly malty notes,
- deep and transportive aromas, and
- silky smooth drinking.
Dragonfly Tea Golden Breakfast delivers all this and more! It works beautifully with your favourite milk, but is also absolutely delicious without it. Try it today, and deeply inhale when you open the box. You’ll notice the difference before the kettle’s even boiled.
We also have an Organic Traditional English Breakfast Tea available in our string-and-tag range, in fully home-compostable teabags.
Time to put the kettle on?
[Reviewed and updated December 2023]