Sipping teas is a tradition that is a part of many cultures all around the globe. Breakfast teas are quite popular in the European culture especially in England, Ireland, and Scotland. All these countries have their specific kind of tea known as English, Irish and Scottish breakfast teas respectively. Breakfast teas are mainly full-bodied black tea that pairs well with the hearty continental breakfast. But, these teas are differently named which means there is some difference between all of them. Before we dive into the best Irish breakfast tea brands and why they are different from English breakfast tea, we should check out what are the primary characteristics that make Irish breakfast tea different from English breakfast tea.
About Irish Breakfast tea
Irish breakfast tea is a black tea that is mostly dominated by the Assam teas and sometimes as a combination of Kenyan and Chinese teas. It is a strong brew because of which it is usually served with milk and sugar. Because of the high content of black tea, it is high in caffeine making it perfect for the mornings. The caffeine content of best Irish breakfast teas is more than that of green teas and Oolong tea types. Irish brews are marketed as a breakfast tea, but one can consume it at any time of the day. Many Irish people also drink it without sugar and milk. Like all other breakfast teas, it is available in both the form, i.e., in loose leaf as well as tea bags. It can be enjoyed both as a hot as well as a cold beverage.
Flavor and color
Best Irish breakfast teas are full-bodied, malty flavored and produce reddish-brown liquor. The reddish color is more pronounced because it has a high amount of Assam teas. The aroma of Irish tea has citrusy notes of Ceylon leaves with the malty fragrance of Assam leaves. It is a strong tea as compared to the English breakfast teas but not as strong as its Scottish counterparts. Although the Irish breakfast teas are available in tea bags as well as loose-leaf, the real flavor comes when the loose leaves are brewed to release all of their flavors. It is essential that Irish teas are not steeped or brewed for long as they tend to turn bitter.
Difference between Irish and English breakfast tea
English breakfast tea is usually full-bodied, bold and rich black tea which became popular in the early 1700s. During this time the English breakfast was hearty and consisted of bacon, eggs, and Ale. English breakfast tea was introduced as a lighter drinking beverage instead of the traditional Ale and was served with milk and sugar. Conventionally English breakfast teas were prepared from Chinese tea leaves, but now they are made from Assam, Ceylon, and African tea leaves.
Irish breakfast teas are primarily dominated by the Assam teas making it strong and robust as compared to English breakfast teas. The color of the Irish tea brew is usually red and has a malty flavor. The term breakfast with Irish teas is just for namesake because Irish people consume this tea more than five times throughout the day. Unlike the English breakfast teas where milk and sugar were added to create a comforting concoction the addition of milk and cream in Irish breakfast teas is a result of dominant dairy industry in Ireland.
Best ways to drink Irish breakfast tea
Irish breakfast teas can be consumed hot as well as cold. Let us check out the steeping notes on how to make the best Irish breakfast tea:
Using Loose leaf tea:
Step 1: Bring water to boil in a tea kettle. And take a teapot.
Step 2: Add one tsp of loose leaf teas to the teapot and one extra tsp for the pot. Add boiling water from the kettle to the teapot and let it steep for 3-4 minutes.
Step 3: Now take a teacup and fill 1/3 of it with milk or cream.
Step 4: Now add the steeped tea to the cup. When you are using the tea leaves, use a strainer so that they do not get added to the cup.
Step 5: Serve it hot with or without sugar.
Making Iced cold Irish tea:
One specialty about Irish brews is that they can also be served as a cold beverage. So, here is how you can prepare your Iced Irish tea.
Step 1: Bring water to boil in a saucepan.
Step 2: Add tea bags(depending on how many cups you want) to the water and let it steep for at least 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags to prevent the brew from turning bitter.
Step 3: Cool the tea to room temperature.
Step 4: Serve the tea over ice cubes or lemonade ice cubes.
Best Irish Breakfast Tea Brand Ι Our Top 10 Picks
Here’s TeaOCity’s short reviews of 10 best Irish breakfast teas for you. Have a look and decide which one would suit your taste buds.
1. Golden Moon Irish Breakfast Tea Loose Leaf
It is a great quality organic tea which has a chocolaty aroma and produces orange amber liquor. The liquor is smooth to drink and coats your palette and throat while allowing the drinker to taste all the flavors individually. If you love the malty Assam flavor then this brew is perfect for you. It is not very strong but yet makes an enjoyable cup. The tea leaves are big and don’t leave any sediments like other tea brands. Golden moon Irish is a mild tea with distinguishing flavors and fully organic but expensive. You should try this tea if you are looking for an organic tea with mild flavors and price is not a factor.
2. Stash Tea Super Irish Breakfast Loose Leaf Tea
The flavor, color, and aroma of this tea is decent and strong enough and doesn’t disappoint as your morning energy cup. Even though it makes a strong cup, but it is a smooth tea to drink, i.e., just the right amount of bold. It has a fine texture so ensure to use a mesh filter so that the tea doesn’t leave the sediment in your cup. Like other breakfast teas, it works well both with milk and without milk. The stash breakfast Irish teas are sure to please your tea palette if you are not appalled by a mildly bitter aftertaste. The pricing is pretty affordable and a good buy for people who like bold tea flavors.
3. Harney & Sons Irish Breakfast Loose Leaf Black Tea
It is low price black tea and is more like a fine powder that can be a disappointment for several tea drinkers who like tea leaves. It has a mild tannic and malty taste that you get immediately after sipping. It is stronger than a English breakfast tea works great with Irish breakfast. If you have been drinking the tea bags then the flavor of this tea is tremendously improved. The quality of this tea is not supreme so do not compare it with any of the high-quality teas as you will be disappointed. Harney and sons tea is a moderate quality tea which works just fine for the price. You should buy it if you are looking for low price average tasting tea and not expecting too much.
4. Twinings of London Irish Breakfast Loose Tea
Twinings is one of the famous tea brands known across the world. They are known for their impressive tea flavors, and their Irish breakfast tea is no different. It can be termed as best Irish breakfast teas available that offer unique strong flavor that differs from other breakfast teas. It tastes well whether taken with milk and sugar or consumed as a black tea. Given the fact that it is a loose tea you need to have a tea infuser to make your perfect cup. A slight drawback that some people may not appreciate is that it is more in the powdery form than the leafy texture as the packaging read so you might end up with sediments in your cup. If you love your tea quite strong, then it might not suit your palette as it is moderately strong. The aroma is rich and refreshing with affordable pricing making it a good buy overall.
P.S: Use a mesh filter to avoid sediments in your cup.
5. Davidson’s Tea Irish Breakfast
A full flavored organic tea that is a little musky and a bit bitter. It is full bodied with a subtle aroma that will make you fall in love with this tea. A small amount of this tea is enough to make a perfect strong cup so a packet can last longer than expected. It cannot be said to be one of the best breakfast Irish teas that you will ever taste but overall it makes a decent brew. Another thing that I like about this tea is that it is a bulk buy option and comes in eco-friendly packaging. You should try this tea if you are looking for an economical organic tea option that you can consume at any time of the day and a reasonably good tea quality.
6. Irish Weave Breakfast Tea – 50 Tea Bags
A perfect tea in beautiful packaging is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about this tea. Irish weave is full-bodied and strong flavored brew that you will surely love. The packaging reads that it pairs well with greasy Irish breakfast so if that is the case with you, then you are in for a perfect delight. On a lighter note, the Tin box in which it comes make it a great gifting option, and the receiver is sure to love it. It is a great tasting tea and is affordably priced which will also adorn your countertop. Definately it’s one of the best Irish breakfast tea bags brands.
7. Thompson’s Irish Breakfast Blend – 80 Teabags
If you like your tea very strong, then Thompson’s Irish tea is a perfect catch. You need to follow the directions religiously to get the most out of the flavor. It is full-bodied, malty flavored with a deep amber color that your taste buds will love. You should buy this tea if you are looking for a reasonably strong tea with depth and full of flavor. But, for people who do not appreciate a lot of bold flavors will be slightly disappointed. A point of caution is that it is a strong tea so do not over steep else it will go bitter.
8. Barry’s Irish Breakfast Tea, 80- Tea Bags
Barry’s Irish tea is said to be the most authentic and quality Irish tea that is full-bodied and has a strong flavor. It is a great competitor to twinnings English breakfast teas; it is not that both are similar, but when you drink this tea then you are somehow reminded of English breakfast tea by Twinnings. But it is a lot smoother, robust and is never bitter. If you are looking for a great tasting Irish tea, then Barry’s tea will never disappoint you. An extra note about this tea is that it is not the British blend tea and if you like the British blends then you might be a bit displeased. You should try this, and at this price, it can be termed as a real steal.
9. Bewley’s Irish Breakfast Tea, 80 Tea Bags
Bewley’s tea is a blend of excellent tasting Darjeeling, Assam, and Rwandan teas. The flavor of this tea is creamy and malty and leaves a pleasant aftertaste. You can steep it for a few minutes depending on how strong the flavor you want. It works great both with and without milk. Even though it says a breakfast tea, you can have it at any time of the day, and you won’t be disappointed. It doesn’t get bitter due to the presence of Darjeeling teas. It works perfectly fine and can be termed overall as a decent tea. The flavors are not that bold and are majorly on the milder side. You can buy this tea, but it has nothing new to offer, as you can get similar flavors in other brands too.
10. Taylors of Harrogate Irish Breakfast, 50 Teabags
Taylors of Harrogate Irish tea is a rich blend of Assam and African tea. It has a strong and rich flavor and creates bright rosy liquor. It is high in antioxidants and to make your perfect cup you need to use one tea bag and steep it for 4-5 minutes. This tea has natural sweeter notes with no bitterness at all. Regarding price and the quality of the tea, it is definitely a good pick. The packaging is also very good with each tea bag individually sealed that keeps it fresh for a more extended period. You can consume it both as a hot as well as iced tea, and the flavors will remain intact. The one drawback is that it may strain down the filter as it has a bit of powder texture. It is one of the best Irish breakfast teas if you do not expect anything extraordinary.
Every one of us is aware that tea taste palette varies significantly from person to person and the same goes for Irish breakfast teas irrespective of which brand of tea you are referring to. It is often possible that you may term a particular brand to be the best Irish breakfast tea that you ever tasted while your friend may like some other.
So, it certainly doesn’t mean that the other tea is terrible or the one he loved is good it is just a matter of taste preferences. It is quite a tricky business to find the best tea and to know which is right for you; you need to taste it first and develop your tasting palette. Next time, when you plan to buy Irish breakfast tea go through the reviews and find the one that suits you the best. It may take more than one chance to find the perfect tea for you but trust me wait is worth.
Till then Happy Sipping!