English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast - What's the Difference?


 Feb 28, 2019 |  Written by Anupa Mueller

Silver Tips Tea English Breakfast Tea

In the late 19th century, the English basically had two meals a day – a hearty breakfast with meat and bread, and then dinner.  The Duchess of Bedford, it is said, needed an in-between meal to get her through this long period between these two meals.  She began serving finger foods around 5 o’clock and thus began ‘afternoon tea’.  A few years later, an enterprising Scotsman named Drysdale began marketing his black China morning tea blend as ‘breakfast tea’ and the English, being attracted to anything Chinese in those days, attached the name ‘English’ to this blend and ‘English Breakfast Tea’ was born.

Almost certainly, the first blends had China Keemun in it.  Then, during the Opium Wars, China imposed an embargo on tea.  England formed the British East India Company, started producing in Assam, India and breakfast teas were now blended with Assam.

There are innumerable Breakfast blends.  Typically, they are all black teas and full-bodied enough for milk.  The most popular are English, Irish and Scottish Breakfast. Irish Breakfast has a strong Assam component while Scottish is the strongest and usually of broken tea grades.  It may well be that as tea was growing in popularity in Ireland, the East India Company was producing tea in Assam and exporting it back to England, thus making it widespread.

Although English Breakfast and other similar teas are the cup of choice in many countries, there is a large part of the world that wakes up to a cup of Green tea.  The connotation of ‘breakfast tea’, however, in virtually all tea menus is one that is a robust black tea. So go on, give yourself a lift - pour yourself a nice cuppa!  Here is a quick list of our Breakfast Teas - each is different, try them all:

English Breakfast - medium to full-bodied, the one most reminiscent of 'regular' black tea.  Our Organic and Fair Trade version is called Victoria's Cup.
Irish Breakfast - hearty and full-bodied, stronger than English Breakfast.  Takes well to milk and sugar.  Our Organic counterpart is Celtic Cup.
Silver Tips Breakfast - a more nuanced cup, this is a balanced blend of Assam, Ceylon and Darjeeling.
Afternoon Delight - decidedly more mild that the 3 listed above, this one is a mellow cup that is best enjoyed by itself or with just a drop of milk.
Silk Road - our bestselling house blend of robust, malty Assam & China.
French Breakfast - a Ceylon with a touch of vanilla.  Bonjour!
Boston Tea Party - sometimes referred to as Scottish Blend, this is a blend of smaller broken leaf teas - colors quickly and medium-full bodied.
Panda Blend - an all-China blend of Keemun and Yunnan, well-blended, not as malty as Silk Road or Irish Breakfast.
Creme Maurice - the very popular, very strong and very vanilla blend.  

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