Irish breakfast tea

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Bewley's Irish breakfast

Irish Breakfast Tea is a blend of several black teas, most often a combination of Assam teas and Ceylon teas.[1][2] Irish tea brands, notably Barry's, Bewley's,[3] Lyons and Robert Roberts in the Republic and Nambarrie's and Thompson's Punjana in Northern Ireland are heavily weighted towards Assam. It is one of the most popular blended teas, common in Tea culture in Ireland.[4] Tea was first introduced in Ireland in the mid-18th century.[5] Despite the tea being introduced during the mid-18th century, it was mainly introduced to upper classes;[6] however, throughout the mid-19th century, Irish Breakfast Tea became readily available for all to enjoy.[7] The Irish population have one of the highest rates of tea drinkers globally.[8][9]


Due to its strength,[10] Irish Breakfast Tea is commonly served with milk, but may also be consumed black, with sugar or even with honey.[11] Irish Breakfast Tea has a robust taste, and is red in colour.[12][13] As dairy products are a major part of the Irish economy,[14] most people drink tea with milk.[15] Being a black tea, it has a strong flavour and higher caffeine content[16] than green, oolong, or white teas. The tea is virtually never referred to as "breakfast tea" (except as the name of specific blends produced by Barry's, Bewley's, Thompson's and the British brand Twinings) and is drunk throughout the day. Irish Breakfast tea leaves are sought from India, Rwanda and Kenya it is said that its the African leaves that make a good refreshing breakfast tea.[17]


A box of Irish breakfast tea sold by Twinings. (Note the four filled in leaves on the packet denoting a high strength tea)

The majority of tea is sold as boxes of tea bags,[18] but all of the major brands are available in loose leaf form, allowing the consumer to inspect the proportion of hand-picked buds and whole tea leaves as against broken fannings of indeterminate origin. When brewed, the tea varies in colour from very dark red to brown.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hicks, Alastair (2006). "Current Status and Future Development of Global Tea Production and Tea Products" (PDF). AU J.T. (4 ed.). 12: 257.
  2. ^ Tea, The Republic of (2017-03-17). "English, Scottish and Irish Breakfast Tea: What is the Difference?". The Republic of Tea. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  3. ^ Richardson, Linda (1986). "A Family Affinity for Irish Tea Pays Off". New York Times.
  4. ^ Jill (2017-07-06). "Begin the Day with Irish Breakfast Tea". It's More Than Tea. Retrieved 2020-04-07.
  5. ^ Fergus (2015-10-07). "Irish Breakfast Tea: Ireland's Other National Drink". The Irish Place. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  6. ^ "British tea- The classes and the masses". The Daily Tea.
  7. ^ Tukua, Deborah (16 March 2015). "How The Irish Take Their Tea". Farmers Almanac.
  8. ^ "Top 10 Tea Loving Countries In The World". WorldAtlas. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  9. ^ "Irish Breakfast Tea". Native American Herbalism.
  10. ^ "Caffeine in Irish Breakfast Tea". LIVESTRONG.COM. Retrieved 2020-04-07.
  11. ^ Tea, The Republic of (2017-03-17). "English, Scottish and Irish Breakfast Tea: What is the Difference?". The Republic of Tea. Retrieved 2020-03-29.
  12. ^ Han, Emily (7 April 2014). "What's the Difference Between English, Irish and Scottish Breakfast Teas?". kitchn.
  13. ^ Ciaran, Keast. "Breaking Breakfast: Irish vs English Breakfast Tea". Plum Deluxe.
  14. ^ "Dairy - Teagasc | Agriculture and Food Development Authority". Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  15. ^ "How The Irish Take Their Tea". Farmers’ Almanac. 2015-03-16. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  16. ^ Center, Garfield Medical. "Different Types of Tea and Caffeine Content". Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  17. ^ "types of Barrys Teas". Retrieved 2020-04-23. External link in |website= (help)
  18. ^ Bolton, Dan. "Tea bags: staid and stable". World tea news.