Tea instead of Coffee?
By kborowsky September 10th, 2018
People often consume beverages with breakfast. It is a good idea, as humans we do wake up dehydrated. In addition to the hydration, you also probably want to wash down your breakfast to prepare to start your day. Many people also love caffeinated beverages first thing in the morning to get themselves moving. While coffee has long been the U.S. choice for the morning wake up drink, there is currently a resurgence of tea as a starter, and with good reason.
What makes a Breakfast Tea?
When you think about a beverage to go with your breakfast, you probably think of coffee. The best teas for breakfast are going to have similar qualities as coffee; heavy, strong, dark, tannic, and with relatively high caffeine levels.
Examples of breakfast teas are going to be made with a mixture of Assam, Ceylon, Kemun or Kenyan tea, and there will be some teas with the occasional off beat black teas thrown in the mix. The most popular example of breakfast tea is the first named breakfast tea: English Breakfast.
While English Breakfast tea is the most popular tea in England, it was not an English invention. A merchant in colonial America by an English immigrant who made a blend of Ceylon tea with Congue tea, Pouchong, and Pekoe. Since he was an immigrant trying to sell a unique product, he named the product English Breakfast Tea. It found success, and met numerous imitators, launching not only numerous brands of English Breakfast, but created other teas associated with that part of the world, namely Irish Breakfast and Scottish Breakfast.
Modern English Breakfast is normally a Ceylon blend that often includes some Assam, and often contains various African or Indonesian teas added in. The flavor is full bodied, robust, and offers quite a morning jolt.
Irish Breakfast is generally viewed as a more robust tea with more of a malt flavor than the English Breakfast. Where the English Breakfast will be made up of mostly Ceylon as a base, most Irish Breakfast tea is made up of Assam, often mixed with Ceylon, Darjeeling, or occasionally a Lapsang for a smoky addition.
While little is known about the development of the Irish Breakfast tea, many speculate that the rise of English Breakfast caused someone that had visited Ireland to bring back some of this blend to recreate it. Many Irish call this “just tea”, indicating that this is the type of tea that has always been consumed in Ireland.
Some Irish Breakfast teas are made in the CTC style - that is, Cut-Torn-Curl. The tea resembles little balls instead of the more wire like shape of most tea. The tiny balls increase surface area making the blend strong and potent.
Scottish Breakfast is bold, dark, and heavy. Frequently this tea has a strong blend of Assam and Chinese blacks for a base, and then this base is mixed with a number of strong black teas from India, Kenya, Indonesia as well as Ceylon tea. The resultant tea is normally far stronger than the English Breakfast or the Irish Breakfast tea, which was likely done to offset the incredibly soft water that is present in Scotland.
Originally just called Scottish Tea by the makers in Scotland to compete with the English and Irish teas that were rising in prominence, the tea was exported to Queen Victoria in England. She fell in love with the blend and often had it served with her morning meal, causing those in England to name it Scottish Breakfast Tea. England, being the trading nation that it was, found merchants that saw the marketing potential of this tea, and began to sell it worldwide, creating an international sensation.
East Frisian Blend
A blend that is rising in popularity as a breakfast tea is the East Frisian blend. This tea is incredibly dark and malty, containing a base of broken Assam leaves with a number of other ingredients added as well.
While there is no standard formula to make an East Frisian blend of tea, there is a certain method that is known as the “desirable standard”, which involves a base of only the best broken Assam leaves with the addition of Java and Sumatra teas to round out the bold Assam character.
It is important to note that there is no set formula for any of the breakfast teas; each brand may have its own personal spin on any given tea. This means one brand of English Breakfast may taste like another brand’s Irish Breakfast or Scottish Breakfast, or vice versa. Knowing this, try out one brand that offers all three (or more) varieties to see which you prefer, and go from there.
Serving Breakfast Tea
With most teas it is highly recommended that you serve them as they come; unsweetened without any milk. However, for many people that are using breakfast teas as a complement to their morning meal, or as a morning pick-me-up, it is often recommended to add milk with sweetener being optional.
If you are ever interested in giving up or reducing your coffee intake, you may find that breakfast teas are a great option to help you move in that direction.
Overall, tea is a healthy option. Why not start your day off with a healthy option that will give you the get and go you need to start your day off right?