English Breakfast Tea (All You Need to Know)
For many avid Tea drinkers, English Breakfast Tea is the cup of tea of choice. Some know it simply as “Breakfast Tea”; others call it “Builder’s Tea”, “Bog-Standard Tea” or, indeed, just “Tea”!
This is because, for hundreds of years, English Breakfast Tea has stolen the limelight. In fact, it goes further than that: it has stolen the hearts of millions around the world.
In this blog, we will answer some of your questions, including:
- What type of Tea is English Breakfast Tea?
- What is English Breakfast Tea made of?
- Is English Breakfast Tea good for you?
- How much Caffeine in English Breakfast Tea?
- What is the best English Breakfast Tea?
What is English Breakfast Tea
Let’s start at the beginning: English Breakfast Tea is a Black Tea blend. Most often, it contains Assam Tea with either Ceylon Tea or Kenya Tea - sometimes the three all together!
Here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, we use what we consider the best blend: Assam and Ceylon Tea.
Before we move onto the blend, let’s explore the history of each Tea separately:
Assam is a state in Northeast India, one where the history of Indian Tea began! It was here that a Scottish explorer discovered the first known Indian variety of the Tea plant, later named Camellia sinensis var assamica.
Historical records suggest that, in 1823, Robert Bruce travelled to Rangpur (present-day Sibsagar) in Upper Assam to meet Bessa Guam, the chief of the Singpho, one of the principal indigenous peoples of the Indian north-east.
Bruce intended to get a better understanding of the native plants in the region. In turn, Bessa Guam presented him with leaves from what we know now as Camellia sinensis var assamica. Bruce knew that, if proven to be a relative of the Chinese Tea plant, then Britain could kickstart a Tea industry in India with great ease.
Sadly, Robert Bruce never fully saw the fruits of his labour after dying in 1824. His legacy, however, lived on. Today, India is the second largest producer of Loose Tea in the world, after China. Assam is its largest producing state, housing around 800 Assam Tea plantations.
According to recent statistics, exports from Assam have an estimated value of $250 million USD. It ends up in mugs and cups of countries like the UK, the US, Russia, Iran and China. India itself is also one of the largest consumers of Tea, representing 19% of the global market. This is all thanks to Assam Tea.
This Tea grows exclusively on the lush, green, fertile island of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, better known as just Sri Lanka. The island lies in the Bay of Bengal, just below the southeastern tip of India.
However, the potential for a Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) Tea Industry came not from the valleys of Uva, or Kandy, or Nuwara Eliya, but from the highlands of Scotland! This was the birthplace of James Taylor, who later saved Ceylon from economic collapse.
In 1869, the island of Ceylon produced only Coffee. But that year a disease called Coffee Rust ravaged the crop, throwing the country’s economy into disarray. Experiments conducted by Scotsman James Taylor proved to be a saving grace.
Years before, he had planted 19 acres of Tea at his Loolecondera Estate in the Kandy region. In 1872, Taylor established a fully-equipped Tea factory. That same year, he made his first sale of Ceylon Tea.
Today, Ceylon Tea is some of the most popular beverages found anywhere in the world. They are a staple of the country’s economy and are now firmly embedded in Sri Lankan culture. Indeed, Tea plantations cover an estimated 4% of the country’s landmass.
History of English Breakfast Tea
English Breakfast Tea is, essentially, two Tea-growing regions colliding to make one exceptional beverage. It is a match made in heaven. Yet it also has a history of its own!
This history, however, isn’t quite as simple as those of the Teas used in its making.
Two stories exist, one beginning in Scotland and the other in New York. Surprisingly, no story comes from England, despite this Tea taking on its name. Nevertheless, there might actually be an answer to this in both tales.
The First Theory
So, how did ‘Breakfast Tea’ become ‘English Breakfast Tea’? According to this story, it involves the Queen of England herself! Robert Drysdale, a Scottish Tea Master, created Breakfast Tea during the 19th Century.
During a Royal visit to Balmoral estate in Scotland, Queen Victoria had the chance to try Drysdale’s ‘invention’. She loved it so much that she eventually changed the name!
The Second Theory
This theory suggests that English Breakfast Tea was a product of the United States of America! In 1843, a New York man, though originally an English immigrant, created this Tea.
It sold for 50 cents a pound, with its success leading to imitations created by other Tea merchants. This ultimately helped to popularise the name “English Breakfast Tea”.
It’s difficult to know for sure which story is true. There is also always that chance that neither have any substance to them.
Alternatively, maybe both stories have, at least, some substance. Alas, we’ll likely never know, but that doesn’t change our affection for English Breakfast Tea!
Is English Breakfast Tea Good For You?
The short answer: yes, English Breakfast Tea is absolutely good for you. But how exactly? Let’s look at this in a little more depth. First and foremost, English Breakfast Tea, like all Black Teas, contains an abundance of antioxidants. In particular, this Tea has two potent antioxidants called theaflavin and thearubigin, which can combat free radicals in the body.
Free radicals are unpaired (and unsafe!) electrons. They are the product of natural, though harmful, human oxidation. When left unchecked, oxidation can lead to many health complications such as increased diabetes and heart disease risks.
Drinking English Breakfast Loose Leaf Tea, on the other hand, slows down the process of oxidation by neutralising free radicals. This, in turn, reduces the risks of developing numerous chronic conditions including those mentioned above and even, very potentially, cancer.
But what else can it do?
English Breakfast Tea Weight Loss
An important mechanism in the body to note when looking at English Breakfast Tea benefits is your metabolism. This refers to the chemical reaction that takes place in the body’s cells. It essentially converts the fuel in your foot into energy, which is then used to power nearly everything we do
This Tea can boost your metabolism, which enables the body to burn fat quicker and more efficiently. In turn, this ensures that periods of moderate exercise produce more significant results. But don’t just take our word for it; check out the science!
According to “PLOS One”, a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science, the theaflavins in Black Tea support weight loss. Researchers reported that energy expenditure (or calories burned) significantly increased after laboratory mice received a dose of theaflavins.
It’s vital to note two factors here, however: 1) this was an animal-based study and 2) Black Tea doesn’t do all of the work for you. For the latter point, in particular, Black Tea can only help you to lose weight if you adhere to a healthy and active lifestyle. This means frequently exercising and eating healthily.
Enhanced Cognitive Function
According to recent statistics, 750,000 people in the UK alone live with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This number could very well double in size over the next 40 years as Britain’s population ages.
Drinking two or three cups of English Breakfast Black Tea, on the other hand, could prove to be at least part of the answer.
A study conducted at the University of Singapore and published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has the answers. The research project saw some 2,500 participants aged 55 or over undergo cognitive measuring. Two years later, scientists remeasured those involved.
The results established that participants who drunk two or three cups of Black Tea a day had a 55% lower chance of suffering from cognitive decline. Those who drank six to ten cups a day, meanwhile, had up to a 63% lower chance.
Improved Oral Health
This will put a smile on your face: Black Tea can improve oral health! How? The answers come from a collaborative study conducted in conjunction with the College of Dentistry at the University of Iowa and the Institute of Odontology at Göteborg University in Sweden.
Participants in the US division used Black Tea to rinse their mouth with for 30 seconds, five times, waiting three minutes between each rinse to simulate the effect of sipping Tea.
Meanwhile, the Swedish division saw participants rinse their mouth with Black Tea for one minute, ten times a day. Both co-operating studies noted that the more participants rinsed, the more their plaque and bacteria levels fell.
This is because of the polyphenolic compounds present in all types of Black Tea. These antioxidants can kill or suppress cavity-causing bacteria from either growing or producing acid. Furthermore, the Tea also affects the bacterial enzymes while preventing them from forming the sticky-like material that binds plaque to teeth.
English Breakfast Tea Pregnancy
Is it safe to drink English Breakfast Tea during pregnancy? Yes, but within reason. This is because of English Breakfast Tea caffeine, which is similar to the caffeine content of almost all Black Teas. Overconsumption of caffeine can lead to many health complications such as jitteriness and sleeplessness. These risks can increase during pregnancy.
NHS Choices recommends that pregnant women do not exceed more than 200 mg of caffeine per day. This is the equivalent of two cups of Coffee. While two cups of any English Breakfast Tea almost certainly does not contain this much caffeine, it’s still important to keep note of your intake.
English Breakfast Tea contains, on average, 40 mg of caffeine per 8 oz serving. By that rationale, four to five cups of this Tea a day would be within the bracket of the NHS Choices recommendation. Despite this, The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company urge you to exercise caution when drinking any more than three to four cups of English Breakfast Tea.
English Breakfast Tea Calories
High diets in saturated fats coupled with low physical activity are two of the main contributors to cardiovascular disease and other similar conditions. Smoking likewise has a significant impact on the heart and can lead to high blood pressure.
In 2014, 62% of adults in England had a body mass index of 25 or above, meaning they were overweight or obese. Compare this to 20 years earlier when it was 53%. Now, consider what these statistics might be today, in 2019! The bottom line is that we need to do more to look after ourselves!
English Breakfast Tea is an excellent alternative to sugary beverages such as soft drinks. This is because English Breakfast Tea contains fewer calories. When served black (with no milk or sugar), this brew, on average, has no more than 1 or 2 calories per 8 oz serving.
Caffeine Free English Breakfast Tea
For those who’re pregnant, or even just those who’re sensitive to caffeine, there is an alternative: Decaf English Breakfast Tea. Here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, we stock a Loose Leaf English Breakfast Tea with 96-98% of the caffeine removed.
You’re probably wondering whether there is such a thing as an entirely caffeine-free English Breakfast Tea. The answer is, unfortunately, no. Every Tea or Coffee deemed “decaf” has to undergo a decaffeination process. The maximum caffeine content this process can remove is 98%.
When it comes to decaffeinating Tea, we use the safest and most efficient method: The CO2 process. This method uses pressurised Carbon Dioxide to extract the small molecules found in the leaves. Best of all, the flavour molecules remain almost entirely intact.
Other companies, however, may use less organic methods such as the Methylene Chloride process. This process uses Methylene Chloride as an extracting solvent. It has garnered a significant amount of criticism in recent years, and we’re proud not to use it.
A similar method uses Ethyl Acetate, a natural chemical found in many fruits, as an extracting solvent. Again, The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company do not use this method because of its widespread criticism. We want only what’s best for our customers, after all.
We currently stock a few kinds of English Breakfast Tea. We pack them all fresh to order here in our Kent-based factory, nestled within the stunning vistas of the southeast English countryside.
This ensures not only quality but also consistency. The same, of course, applies not only to these Teas, but all of our Teas, as well as our Coffees and Tisanes!
English Breakfast Tea Bags
EAre you in a rush first thing in the morning? Do you not have enough time to brew up Loose Leaf English Breakfast Tea?
Don’t worry because our English Breakfast Tea Bags make life just that little bit easier. Indeed, you can enjoy these flavoursome pockets of goodness 50 times over with this package.
English Breakfast Tea FOP
FOP” stands for “Flowery Orange Pekoe”. This refers to Teas, including English Breakfast Tea FOP, that contain young, tender leaves with a balance amount of ‘tip’ or ‘bud’.
Many choose this Tea because it has a slightly more subtle taste to that of a BOP Tea. Nevertheless, one can still expect malty flavours and aromas from this brew like any other English Breakfast Tea.
English Breakfast Tea BOP
Prefer a ‘hearty’ beverage to get you out of bed in the morning? If so, then choose our English Breakfast Tea BOP!
“BOP” stands for “Broken Orange Pekoe”. The term “broken”, as the name likely suggests, refers to the leaves being broken into small pieces. This often boasts a stronger character in cup.
Decaffeinated English Breakfast Tea
We’ve already mentioned it briefly above, but we’re going to mention it again! Decaffeinated English Breakfast Tea, unlike some decaffeinated Teas from other establishments, retains most of its flavour.
Best of all, if you’re looking to keep your caffeine intake down to the bare minimum, look no further!
English Breakfast Pyramid Tea Bags
Prepare for the future with our English Breakfast Pyramid Tea Bags. Since 1997, Pyramid Tea Bags have provided up to 50% extra space for Tea leaves to expand.
This, in turn, improves the overall flavour of the Tea. Only recently have these types of Tea Bags started to take the industry by storm. It’s fair to say, however, that they’re absolutely here to stay!