How to Make English Breakfast Tea Properly (Hot & Iced)

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Whether hot or iced, English breakfast tea is one of the most popular teas in the world. See how to make this tea properly.

Pouring English breakfast tea into a mug

English Breakfast Tea

  • English breakfast tea is a blend usually made up of 2-3 different black teas.
  • There’s caffeine in English breakfast tea.
  • Bold, full-bodied, and strong, it’s specifically made to be had with milk and sugar.
  • There is no ONE English breakfast tea blend that everyone uses. Tea companies make their own blend using any combination of Assam, Ceylon, Keemun, or Kenyan black tea.
  • English breakfast tea with Keemun is usually more expensive.
  • The origin of English breakfast tea varies but the most common story is that it was created by Scottish tea merchant Robert Drysdale in the late 19th century in America. Robert wanted a more affordable tea option and created his own using a blend of inexpensive black teas.

RELATED: 5 Easy Steps to Make Earl Grey Properly

Other Breakfast Teas

English breakfast isn’t the only Breakfast tea but it’s definitely the most popular.

English Breakfast Tea Brewing Guide

TO MAKE HOT ENGLISH BREAKFAST TEA
TEA:
1.5 teaspoons loose English breakfast tea (or 1 tea sachet)
WATER:
1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
WATER TEMPERATURE:
208°F
STEEP TIME:
5 minutes

TO MAKE COLD BREW ENGLISH BREAKFAST TEA
TEA:
1.5 teaspoons loose English breakfast tea (or 1 tea sachet)
WATER:
1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
WATER TEMPERATURE:
Cold water
STEEP TIME:
12 hours

What You’ll Need

TO MAKE HOT ENGLISH BREAKFAST TEA

TO MAKE COLD BREW ENGLISH BREAKFAST TEA

My splurge teapot Pick:

Insulated Teapot

Photo Credit: williams-sonoma.com

The super chic Guy Degrenne Salam Insulated Teapot is made of porcelain and keeps tea warm with its removable felt-lined stainless steel cover.
SEE PRICE ON WILLIAMS SONOMA
English breakfast tea in a mug

How to Make Hot English Breakfast Tea properly

STEP 1: Boil water.

To make the best tasting tea, start with filtered water instead of tap water. A strong, clear brew depends on using the proper water.

Tea Sommelier’s Tip: The most reliable way to boil water is using an electric kettle with a temperature setting. For English breakfast tea, set it to 208°F.

Boil a bit of extra water for warming up the teapot, which is the next step.

RELATED: Best Water Filters for Tea

STEP 2: Warm up teapot.

Pour some of the hot water into a teapot and swirl the water around. Throw out the water.

Tea Sommelier’s Tip: Warming up the teapot is an important part of brewing tea properly. Doing so keeps the boiled water hot so that there isn’t a big temperature drop when brewing the tea.

STEP 3: Put English breakfast tea into teapot and add hot water.

STEP 4: Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.

Tea Sommelier’s Tip: Be careful not to brew it for more than 5 minutes since overbrewing can make your tea bitter. 

Keep the teapot covered so the water stays hot while the tea brews.

STEP 5: Strain English breakfast leaves and pour hot tea into a teacup.

STEP 6: Add milk and sugar.

English Breakfast was blended to be had with milk and sugar, unlike most other teas so I like mine with both.

Iced English Breakfast Tea

How to Make it Iced properly

I’ve found that cold brewed tea makes for the best iced tea so I make all my iced teas this way — and you should too!

RELATED: 30 Refreshing Iced Tea Recipes

STEP 1: Put English breakfast tea and water in a pitcher or glass container.

Put cold or room temperature filtered water into a pitcher and stir in the English breakfast tea. Use filtered water for the best tasting cold brewed tea.

RELATED: Best Iced Tea Makers

STEP 2: Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.

You can leave it to steep in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

Cold brewing creates a much mellower, smoother cup than brewing it using any other method.

STEP 3: Strain English breakfast tea leaves and pour tea into a cup.

The tea is already chilled so ice is optional.

STEP 4: Add milk and simple syrup.

Simple syrup (half water, half sugar) is the easiest way to sweeten iced tea. Make simple syrup at home by mixing equal parts sugar and hot water until the sugar dissolves.

ENGLISH BREAKFAST TEA TIPS

  • Use loose English breakfast tea or tea sachets instead of tea bags for a higher quality cup of tea.
  • Since different English breakfast teas use slightly different blends, sample a few to find one you like best.
  • Always begin with fresh water in the kettle, since reboiling water changes the mineral composition of the water and affects the flavor of the tea.

QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE

What does English breakfast tea taste like?

English breakfast tea is full-bodied and robust with a slightly sweet note. It should be strong without tasting bitter and bold enough to retain its flavor even after adding milk and sugar.

Is there caffeine?

Yes, there is caffeine in English breakfast tea since all black teas have caffeine.

Are there any calories?

There are NO calories in the tea itself but there are calories once the milk and sugar is added to the tea. 

I don’t have loose tea, how many tea sachets or tea bags can I use instead?

Use 1 tea sachet (contains about 1.5 teaspoons of tea) or 1 tea bag (contains 1 teaspoon of tea).

What’s the difference between loose tea, tea sachets, and tea bags?

Loose tea is the highest quality of the three since they’re mostly whole tea leaves. Next in quality is English breakfast in tea sachets which are a mix of whole and broken tea leaves. Tea bags are the lowest in quality since the tea leaves are just tiny bits and tea dust.

Is English breakfast tea a real tea?

Yes, English breakfast tea is a real tea. For a tea to be a real or pure tea, it has to come from the camellia sinensis plant. Since English breakfast is a blend of black teas, it is a real tea.

Related

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English Breakfast Tea

Author: Jee Choe
How to make hot & iced English breakfast tea properly.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 2 mins
Steep Time 5 mins
Total Time 7 mins
Course Drinks
Yield1 serving

INGREDIENTS
 

INSTRUCTIONS
 

  • Boil water.
    If using an electric kettle with temperature setting, set it to 208°F. Boil a little more water than needed so that it can be used to warm up the teapot. Filtered water is best.
  • Warm up teapot.
    Pour some hot water into a teapot and swirl it around a bit. Discard the water.
  • Put English breakfast tea into teapot and add hot water.
  • Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.
  • Strain English breakfast tea leaves and pour hot tea into a teacup.
  • Stir in milk and sugar.

NOTES

TO MAKE COLD BREW ENGLISH BREAKFAST TEA
1. Put English breakfast tea and cool or room temperature water in a pitcher or glass container.
Filtered water is best for a better tasting iced tea.
2. Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
3. Strain English breakfast tea leaves and pour tea into a cup.
Ice is optional since the tea is already cold.
4. Add milk and simple syrup.
Make simple syrup at home by mixing equal parts sugar and hot water until sugar dissolves.

NUTRITION

Calories: 22kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 16mg | Sugar: 5g | Calcium: 11mg
Keyword cold brew English breakfast tea, English breakfast tea, iced English breakfast tea
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