For many of us, nothing jump-starts the morning faster than a quick sip of caffeine. Next to coffee, black tea is one of the most popular pick-me-ups to accompany breakfast. Many tea drinkers sip on English breakfast tea as their drink of choice. It has a high caffeine content and smooth yet bold flavor that pairs with any breakfast dish.
With so many different English breakfast teas to choose from, it isn’t always easy to pick out the best option for your tastes. Here, we’re going to go over our top choices for the best English breakfast tea available on the market to help you revamp your morning routine.
#1 Best Overall English Breakfast Tea: Harney & Sons English Breakfast Tea
Harney & Sons is a world-renowned tea company that sources its products from countries worldwide. Their English breakfast tea is one of their most popular blacks, with a lightly toasted, medium full-body taste.
This English breakfast blend is unique in that it contains 100% Keemun black tea. It takes inspiration from the original English breakfast teas of the early 1800s with bold strength and simplicity. The Harney & Sons blend makes the ideal drink to accompany breakfast.
The Harney & Sons breakfast blend boasts hints of white toast and raw honey, including malty undertones typical of English breakfast blends. Many fans also note a distinct smokey flavor thanks to the Keemun content.
This loose-leaf tea comes in an attractive, airtight tin that will keep it fresh for months after opening. It brews in just five minutes at boiling temperature for a smooth, flavorful blend with minimal bitterness. If you want a smoother, sweeter brew, you can mix this tea with cream, sugar, or honey to suit your tastes.
#2 Best English Breakfast Tea for Beginners: Pique Organic English Breakfast Tea Crystals
If you’re looking for a quick way to kick-start your morning, Pique Organic tea crystals are easy to prepare in just seconds. There’s no need for brewing, steeping, or complicated infusers. Simply add the crystals to water for an instant cup of tea. You can use hot or cold water depending on your personal tastes.
The Pique English Breakfast blend contains a combination of single estate Assam and Ceylon teas for a bold, complex flavor. It doesn’t contain any artificial flavors, sugars, or preservatives. The tea is rich enough to drink on its own, or you can add cream and sweetener for an even more well-rounded cup.
This English Breakfast blend is easy to brew for beginners and experts alike, even when you’re out on the go. The tea crystals come individually wrapped in serving-sized sachets that can fit into your purse or pocket with plenty of room to spare.
Not only are Pique crystals convenient, but they’re also packed with healthy antioxidants thanks to a cold extraction process. You can enjoy all of the health benefits of a cup of black tea with none of the hassle.
#3 Best English Breakfast Tea on a Budget: Davidson’s Bulk English Breakfast Tea
Fine teas can be pricey, but buying in bulk will often help you save. This loose-leaf tea from Davidson’s comes in an affordable one-pound bag for those on a budget.
This English breakfast blend includes a mixture of Indian black tea and Keemun tea for a bold, slightly smoky flavor. The taste holds up well against pricier brands, even across multiple steeps.
Davidson’s English breakfast blend is USDA certified organic and free of chemicals, pesticides, and other toxic compounds. It’s also GMO-free and sustainably sourced by a small family farming operation in India.
To brew this tea, steep it in boiling water for three to five minutes. The longer you steep, the bolder and more bitter your tea will be. For the best results, use one teaspoon of loose leaves per cup of tea.
Keep in mind that tea can lose some of its flavors as it ages. If you only drink small amounts at a time, buying in bulk might not be the best choice for you. A large bag can easily go stale before you get the chance to finish it.
#4 Best Everyday English Breakfast Tea: Stash English Breakfast Tea
Stash is a well-known and widely available tea brand that you can find in most supermarkets. They boast a wide variety of high-quality teas, including a popular English breakfast blend.
The Stash English breakfast blend includes a wide variety of single estate teas sourced from around the world to offer a bright, bold flavor that’s ideal for everyday drinking. It includes Ceylon, Assam, Nilgiri, and Keemun for a malty, full-bodied brew with just a hint of smoke.
This loose leaf tea is easy to brew in just three to five minutes at around boiling temperature. If you prefer less astringency in your tea, you may want to brew at closer to 195℉. At higher temperatures, the Assam can lend this blend some bitterness.
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of loose leaf brewing, Stash teas also come in convenient, individually-wrapped tea bags. You can bring Stash English Breakfast Teabags with you on the go, use them at work, or brew them at home for an easy and mess-free tea.
#5 Best English Breakfast Tea Alternative: Numi Organic Chinese Breakfast Tea
If you’re looking for a new breakfast tea similar to English blends, you may want to try Chinese breakfast tea. This bag from Numi Organic contains malty, fragrant golden tip tea leaves from the Yunnan province of China.
This tea has a unique flavor that’s just as bold as any breakfast blend. With strong, malty notes, this tea makes a good choice for anyone making the switch from coffee. The flavor is also likely to appeal to beer fans with its slight yeast undertones.
There are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives in this tea. All leaves are organic and non-GMO. The company also uses fair labor practices when harvesting and processing to give you a more sustainable product.
Numi’s Chinese Breakfast Tea brews similarly to other black and English breakfast varieties. Steep for around four to five minutes in boiling water. You should use around one teaspoon of leaves for every two cups of tea you brew.
What To Look for in an English Breakfast Tea
English breakfast tea is traditionally a blend of different black teas mixed to create a rich, robust taste. Its strong taste and high caffeine content make this tea a popular morning pick-me-up for tea drinkers around the world.
The taste of English breakfast tea can vary significantly between brands, making it a challenge to find the best option for your morning routine. There are a couple of considerations to keep in mind when shopping for an English breakfast tea.
English breakfast tea contains a blend of other popular black teas sourced from around the world. Using a variety of teas lends more depth and complexity to the flavor than you typically find in a single-origin tea. Some of the most common teas found in English breakfast blends include:
- Assam tea: Assam tea comes from the Northeast region of India, which is famous for tea production. It boasts a bold, bitter, and sometimes malty flavor.
- Nilgiri tea: This tea also comes from India, originating in the Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu. It is a fragrant black tea that tends to be more delicate than other varieties.
- Ceylon tea: Ceylon tea comes from Sri Lanka and is known for its sour, fruity notes. Some people also say that good Ceylon tastes of pine.
- Keemun tea: Keemun teas come from the Anhui province of China. They’re famous for their rich, smoky, and sometimes sour flavor.
- Kenyan black tea: Sweet floral and fruity undertones give Kenyan black tea a distinctively delicate flavor.
While all of these teas come from the Camellia sinensis plant, they vary greatly in flavor and appearance. As with fine wines, different climates and growing conditions can produce teas that range from sweet and floral to rich and bitter. Processing and fermentation methods also result in a wide variety of flavor profiles coming out of different areas.
The ratio of single-estate teas will influence the taste of the tea, so it’s important to pay attention to the ingredient list of any English breakfast blend. For example, an Assam-heavy tea will be more potent and bitter than a mixture that favors Ceylon. Your tastes will influence just what English breakfast blend is best for your palate.
When it comes to tea, it’s best to look for young, fresh leaves. An English breakfast blend containing teas from this year’s harvest will have a stronger, more robust taste than those left to sit for months on end.
At the same time, an aged black tea may contain flavor notes that you can’t find in fresh varietals. Teas tend to become more mellow as they age, giving blacks a lighter, smoother flavor. Those who prefer a strong, bitter brew may be better off with may want to stick with fresh teas, while those looking for a smooth taste should try aged varietals.
Leaf size is another important consideration when it comes to tea of all varieties, as it can impact both flavor and steeping time. In general, larger leaves require longer steeps, but they release more oils into the water for a bolder flavor.
On the other hand, smaller leaves tend to brew quickly to produce a more mellow brew. If leaves are too small, though, they can leave debris and powder in your drink. It’s best to look for black teas that include medium to large, unbroken leaves.
Looking at the color of tea leaves can tell you a bit about their flavor and quality. Because black teas are fermented, they should be gold to dark brown in appearance with minimal green visible. Golden-tipped buds tend to have a fuller, maltier flavor than other blacks.
The color of the liquor after you brew black tea can also tell you something about the quality of the leaves. English breakfast tea should brew a light to dark golden brown color. High-quality teas often have more red notes, while low-quality teas tend to look darker and more brown.
Teas that are not properly stored can dry out and lose flavor. It’s important to buy only teas kept in optimal conditions before purchase. Loose-leaf tea can be especially sensitive to environmental conditions.
The best containers for tea are airtight and watertight. It’s also best to opt for an opaque container, as UV rays can damage black tea leaves. Many companies package their teas in sealed, airtight sachets after harvest.
Some companies sell their teas in small tins to keep them safe. This type of packaging protects leaves against wind, weather, and sunlight. It also prevents delicate tea leaves from getting smashed and fragmented. If you plan on having your tea shipped, tin packaging will help keep it safe during its journey.
Teabags vs. Loose Leaf
If you’re looking for a flavorful, high-quality tea, loose leaf options are often the way to go. They have whole, unbroken leaves that release plenty of oils to create a flavorful brew. Loose leaf tea often tends to be fresh, usually from this year’s or last year’s harvest.
Teabags, on the other hand, contain fragmented leaves designed for quick steeping. Teabags are much more likely to contain old or dried-out tea leaves. While they might be more convenient, they usually brew weaker tea. What’s more, disposing of tea bags isn’t as eco-friendly as loose-leaf tea.
Some tea comes in a crystallized or powdered form for instant brewing. Instead of allowing oils to seep out of the leaves, they get extracted and processed into a fine powder. When you dissolve this powder in water, you release tea oils and antioxidants into your brew.
With so many English breakfast teas to choose from, it isn’t always easy to find the right blend for your morning routine. Any of the teas on this list are sure to give you the bold, rich flavor that you want. Whether you’re looking for quick and convenient tea crystals of high-quality loose leaf tea, there’s something to suit everyone’s needs.