English Breakfast Tea Guide: Caffeine Content, Brewing Tips, and more

Nov 8, 2019
It awakes both body and mind, it’s strong enough to accompany a hearty breakfast and it will never come out of fashion. This timeless, full bodied caffeine rich tea is one of the most popular black tea blends in the world. With the history of over 200 years, English Breakfast has a lot of stories to tell. Is English Breakfast really the strongest tea in the world?


What is English Breakfast tea

English Breakfast is a tea blend, supposedly created by Robert Drysdale, a Scottish tea merchant and manufacturer in 1892. However, the story of breakfast teas is much longer. The traditional types are usually made from Chinese tea, and sometimes with the addition of stronger Indian leaves. Modern blends can be made from many different types of tea. They may include a combination of Assam and Darjeeling, Qimen and Yunnan, Kenyan and Chinese teas, or even a mix of teas from three or more countries. Interestingly, English Breakfast from the same tea merchant should always have the same flavor, regardless of the year. It may contain different teas in different ratios, but they should be blended to keep the flavor intact and recognizable. English Breakfast should never be a single origin tea. It’s made from both tea plants, camellia sinensis var. sinensis and camellia sinensis var. assamica. The best type of leaves for making English breakfast are smaller broken leaves, and even fannings and dust. Both of them are used for tea bags, which made it easier for English Breakfast to spread across the world and win over tea lovers' hearts. Nowadays, English Breakfast, or some type of breakfast tea, is available in most convenience stores across the world.

How much caffeine is in English breakfast tea?

Modern English Breakfast is a blend of different black teas crafted with both the final flavor profile and caffeine content in focus. It’s usually made from broken tea leaves as they will release more flavor and caffeine, resulting in a stronger, bolder, richer cup of tea. The exact amount of caffeine will vary from type to type. However, you may expect somewhere around 30-60 mg of caffeine per cup. English breakfast is not necessarily the strongest cup of tea out there, but it is the one capable of matching a strong meal. Moreover, when made with sugar and milk, it can satisfy the taste buds of even the biggest coffee drinkers. The only caffeine free English breakfast teas are black decaffeinated blends. Although it sounds strange to decaffeinate a morning energy boosting blend, English breakfast is not only about caffeine. In the past, caffeine in tea was not as important as it is today. In the west, teas were a luxury, and were appreciated by their flavor, rather than health benefits and caffeine content.

Varieties of English breakfast tea

English breakfast is not the only available breakfast blend in the world. The traditional ones include Scottish and Irish breakfast, while the number of modern blends is countless. Irish breakfast is stronger and thicker than English breakfast, and has a very deep dark red color. It’s less sweet and more malty. Scottish breakfast is strong, malty, and usually has a woody note. Today, many other countries are producing their versions of breakfast blends. If a breakfast blends contain other ingredients besides black tea, they should only add a touch of flavor, never overpowering the malty and robust tea character.

Best English breakfast tea

The best English breakfast tea should provide enough energy in the morning and a well balanced full bodied flavor. It should be strong enough to handle both milk and sugar, without losing its character. There are hundreds of types of English breakfast tea and every producer has its own way of blending it. It can contain only Indian teas, or it can be made with teas from different countries, such as India, China, Kenya and Sri Lanka. English Breakfast will always be made with black teas, and may contain some other ingredients too, but it will never be made with herbal tea, oolong or green tea. The best cup should be bold, strong, but not unpleasantly bitter. In fact, it is supposed to have a lightly sweet note too. You should be able to drink it pure, or with added milk and sweetener. It should be full bodied, not weak and watery.

Everest Breakfast, a blend of Assam and Yunnan teas

Everest Breakfast, a blend of Assam and Yunnan teas

How to brew English Breakfast tea

To brew a cup of perfect English breakfast tea, use 2-4 grams of tea per cup of water. Although 2 grams will give a strong brew, 4 grams will undoubtedly give a better morning boost. Bring water to a boil and let it cool down to 203 °F. Some blends may require a lower temperature. English breakfast is one of rare teas that should be made using western style brewing technique. Multiple steeping will never give a strong enough brew in a single steep, and won’t be enough to hold the milk. Steep for 3-5 minutes. Longer steep will extract more caffeine and stronger flavor. Your tea should never be unpleasantly bitter, only slightly astringent. Some blends may contain different flavor notes, such as chocolate, wood, caramel or molasses. Milk should enhance the flavor and offer a new experience, rather than cover the bitterness of tea.

English Breakfast Iced Teas

Because of their robustness and maltiness, English Breakfast blends are a perfect choice for making iced tea lattes. For making an iced tea latte use at least 5 grams of tea and brew in 50 ml of nearly boiling water for 10 minutes. Fill the shaker with ice, add a sweetener, 100-150 ml of whole milk and shake. For a better flavor, boil the tea leaves in milk. Want to learn more? Find out which tea is better – English Breakfast or Earl Grey.  
Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is not to diagnose or treat any diseases, or to replace an opinion of a professional doctor. Never self-treat any diseases, or drink large quantities of tea, real or herbal, if you are suffering from serious diseases, are pregnant or breastfeeding. As every person is different, it’s impossible to make a general statement about the benefits or side-effects.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.