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What’s the Difference Between English, Scottish and Irish Breakfast Teas?

With a high caffeine content that is still lower than coffee, black tea served with milk and sugar are a popular breakfast choice all around the world.

Breakfast tea blends are the perfect choice to start your day with, but it can be difficult to decide which blend is the right fit for you.

Breakfast brews are usually made from a blend of black tea leaves from India and China.

These leaves, including Assam, Ceylon, and Keemun, vary in flavour, color and caffeine content. 

To suit soft or hard water in their region and national preferences, England, Scotland and Ireland have each cultivated their own unique tea.

While you have probably grabbed a box or two of English breakfast tea from the supermarket on occasion, you may never have tried Irish breakfast tea!

As such, this guide will go through the differences between English, Scottish and Irish breakfast teas, and the breakfast tea brands with the best reviews for you to try, especially if you want to get your hands on the Irish tea.

What Are English, Scottish and Irish Breakfast Teas?

A staple around the globe, it’s hard to avoid an English breakfast tea.

Luckily, it’s a popular drink for a reason!

This robust but smooth brew actually doesn’t originate in England at all!

Typically made from combining Chinese and Indian black tea leaves, this tea was actually named by the American Roger Davies as part of a 1984 advertising campaign.

Ever since the British imperial presence in India and China, both nations’ native tea leaves have become popular breakfast drinks across the British Empire.

While this blend may not be credited to a British mind, the flavours still will be close to what the English drink at home. 

Although Scottish breakfast tea is less popular than the English counterpart, it is similar in flavour and robustness.

However, as Scotland has soft water to make its brews with, the cup is made with stronger flavours here, to combat this problem.

Due to its high Assam content, the tea has a woody flavour and smokiness that cut through even the strongest of breakfasts.

The breakfast tea Irish people go for is a delicious cuppa that you’ll want to bring along to the Giant’s Causeway or Cliffs of Moher.

This tea is made with more Assam leaves than other variants, resulting in a reddish hue and malty flavor, although it is not as Strong as Scottish tea. 

Before You Buy


The contents of each breakfast tea will vary according to brands.

You can expect high amounts of Assam in the Scottish and Irish variants and more Ceylon or Keemun leaves in the English breakfast.

There is more caffeine in Assam and a stronger flavor, so it is important that you look at the ingredients of each pack to determine which one is right for your morning routine. 

Brewing Methods

Most teas are available in either tea bags or loose leaf packages.

It is very important to double check which one you are buying, as there’s nothing worse than buying loose leaf tea accidentally when you don’t own a strainer.

The tea from a bag is often more bitter due to being cut up, so loose leaves can be a good investment if you want a more complex flavor.


As a trip to any supermarket will tell you, there’s a lot of tea brands out there!

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the best ones available through amazon to you, so you can get delicious brews sent straight to your house! 

Twinings of London Loose Irish Breakfast Tea

101 Reviews
  • Loose Irish Breakfast Tea
  • A full-bodied and strong tea with a smooth...
  • Carefully selected to give it added body,...

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Twinings is a household name across the world, and their Irish Breakfast tea is no exception.

The brew is blended from the finest ingredients to provide a strong, flavorful cup. This tin contains 100g of loose leaf tea, so you can brew at least 40 cups of this complex tea.

Taylors of Harrogate Irish Breakfast

16,598 Reviews
  • A strong, rich blend of Assam and east...
  • High in antioxidants; each English-style...
  • For the perfect cup we recommend that you use...

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Known for their high-quality, ethically sourced tea, Taylors of Harrogate are a staple in British tea brands.

Their Irish breakfast tea provides a delicious, rich blend of Assam and East African teas for a rosy brew.

This strong, high caffeine tea is a great way to start any day. With 50 bags of quality tea, this box will surely last you a while.

Punjana Tea Ltd Tea, Irish Breakfast

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If you’re looking for authentic and high quality Irish breakfast tea, Thompson’s is the best place to start.

Blended by the same family across four generations, the brand was founded in Belfast, 1896.

Pujana’s Thompson family is a strong brew, with a robust flavor and golden hue. Those 80 teabags won’t last long!

Barry’s Tea Irish Breakfast

1,434 Reviews
  • Barrys Irish Breakfast Tea 80's
  • Barrys Irish Breakfast Tea 80's
  • Barrys Irish Breakfast Tea 80's

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When looking for an Irish breakfast tea, you can’t really go past Barry’s Tea – the most popular blend in Ireland.

This dark and robust brew is a delicious way to begin the day with a good kick.

These 80 tea bags in this box are made in the British style without strings, reducing the environmental impact.

Taylors of Harrogate English Breakfast

16,550 Reviews
  • This much-loved classic is a special blend of...
  • The taste is full-bodied, rich and...
  • For the perfect cup we recommend that you use...

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If the Irish blend is too strong for you, Taylors of Harrogate also do a delicious English breakfast tea.

This black tea is robust but less malty than the Irish breakfast. With 50 teabags, you’ll be able to start many mornings with this cuppa.

For a stronger tea, the Scottish breakfast tea is the way to go. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between English Breakfast tea and Scottish breakfast tea?

Scottish breakfast tea contains more Assam leaves than the English variant, creating a stronger and more robust blend.

While this was developed to work with the soft water in Scotland, it’s a great pick if you want to get an extra kick out of your tea.

Both black tea blends go well served with milk to balance the strength and any bitterness.

Is Irish breakfast tea stronger than English breakfast tea?

The mumma bear out of our three breakfast drinks, Irish tea is less strong than Scottish tea but stronger than English breakfast.

You don’t have to be goldilocks to try them all out and see which one is just right for your morning cuppa!

What makes English Breakfast tea different?

English breakfast tea is different from regular black teas because it usually contains a mix of leaves from China and India.

This provides a strong and complex flavor, perfect to wake you up in the morning.

What makes breakfast Irish tea?

While this tea is actually drunk throughout the day, Irish breakfast tea is known for its high Assam content.

This gives it a red hue and delicious malty flavor, while not being as strong as Scottish breakfast tea.

Final Thoughts

All the Irish breakfast teas are strong, tasty drinks to wake you up in the morning.

However, if you want the taste most Irish people wake up with, Barry’s Tea Irish Breakfast is the one to try!

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