Britain is a nation of tea-lovers, filled with fans of all varieties of tea imaginable. Yet a few select favourites have managed to carve their way into the national consciousness more than some, and English Breakfast Tea is one such beverage!
In this blog, we’ll look at the origins and history of English Breakfast Tea, as well as the way to make sure you brew the perfect cup!
As you might expect for a country so obsessed with tea, the history of English breakfast tea goes back a very long way. Drinking blended black teas has been a custom in Britain for centuries, but despite its name, the blend we now know as English Breakfast Tea is thought to have in fact been developed by a Scottish tea master, and the name itself seems to have originated in the United States rather than England itself.
Many accounts dated the blend to around 1843 when a US tea merchant named Richard Davies began selling the tea in New York City. By 1884, the tea had developed quite a following, with US publications documenting the export of the tea blend to the UK market.
Over the years, it became more and more popular, with a distinctive taste which is ideally suited to, as the name suggests, enjoying over a leisurely breakfast.
Builders tea, also known as a builder’s brew, is a traditional term for a strong cup of tea. It initially takes the name from inexpensive supermarket tea commonly drunk by workers or labourers taking a tea break. A builder's tea is typically brewed in a mug with a teabag (as opposed to loose tea leaves in a teapot) - left to infuse for as long as possible and squashed against the side of the mug for extra strength, with milk and lots of sugar.
English Breakfast Tea is a blend of teas from the regions of Assam, Ceylon and Kenya. As a black tea, it is known for it’s full-bodied and robust taste. The exact blends vary, mainly according to price, with some more expensive brands opting to adopt the mix more extensively than others. To make a traditional English Breakfast Tea, you'll need a strong black tea, freshly boiled water, milk and some sugar if you like.
Leave to steep for about 3-5 minutes before serving. Stir before serving to ensure the flavours are evenly distributed. Add a little milk into each cup before pouring the tea through a strainer if necessary, and sweeten with a spoon or two of sugar as required.
While its relatively easy to make, when travelling the breadth and width of England you'll soon learn that everyone has their own particular way of making a good cuppa tea. And everyone will attest to their style being the 'best way' to make tea. Afterall, England is a nation of tea experts.
It’s safe to drink Breakfast Tea, though it’s advisable to be cautious about your caffeine intake during pregnancy, so tea of all kinds should be consumed with care. English Breakfast Tea contains a little more caffeine than many other teas thanks to its unique blend, so remembering this will help ensure you stay on the right track.
A cup of English Breakfast Tea (without milk and sugar) is one of the healthiest teas there is, offering zero calories per cup. When the tea is blended with milk and sugar, it remains relatively healthy.
The caffeine hit of the tea is, however, higher than many comparable tea blends, so be aware if trying to curb your caffeine consumption! Where four cups of tea a day may be standard, some nutritionists suggest opting for two of English Breakfast Tea.
English Breakfast Tea Gifts for tea lovers
A tin of English Breakfast Tea makes the perfect gift for tea lovers, offering a fantastic way of demonstrating your own tea knowledge as well as giving a thoughtful, decorative and delicious treat to someone who truly loves a brew!
At Chateau Rouge, we offer beautifully presented English Breakfast Tea in both loose leaf and tea bags so you can adapt the gift to suit the recipient and their own unique tea preferences.
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Seán Farrell – Founder, Chateau Rouge