A Quick Guide to Irish Breakfast Tea

irish breakfast tea

When it comes to a hearty cuppa that you can sip with your breakfast, an Irish breakfast tea should be high on your list. This is a hearty and warming alternative to our trusty English Breakfast Tea that you should definitely try at least once. You might even find that it’s superior if you choose one of the best Irish breakfast teas on my list below.

If you have already tried my Best English Breakfast Teas and are looking for something new, then read this guide to Irish breakfast tea and you won’t be disappointed. Let’s start with some key information before exploring some of the best tea brands.

What is Irish Breakfast Black Tea?

Like English breakfast tea, Irish breakfast tea is a combination of black teas from different origins that is designed to be consumed with breakfast. So, it should wake you up with robust flavours and wash down a hearty meal.

But unlike English breakfast tea, Irish breakfast tea is typically more robust, more malty, and more intense. You definitely don’t want to drink it without milk. You’ll often find this tea referred to as just ‘Irish tea’ rather than ‘Irish breakfast tea’. You can also drink it at any time of day, not just at breakfast, but keep in mind that it is quite high in caffeine.

There are many Irish brands that blend their Irish tea in Ireland. I have included one on my list below. However, many other tea brands also create Irish blends that I recommend you try. Even though they aren’t blended in Ireland, they all follow the same basic recipe to create the tea base.

Irish Breakfast Tea Base

Irish tea is built on Indian Assam tea leaves. Growing in the region of Assam with the assamica varieties of the tea plant, these leaves are characterised by an intense malty flavour and rich, rounded body.

To make Irish breakfast tea, tea makers blend Assam black tea leaves with a small amount of other tea. This other tea has a slightly softer flavour, helping to tame the malty Assam. This tea can be sourced from anywhere, but most brands use tea from Africa (usually Kenya) or Sri Lanka.

In comparison, English breakfast black teas are usually made from a more equal blend of Indian Assam, a Chinese black tea, and a Kenyan black tea. This provides more depth of flavour but also reduces the intensity of the flavour profile.

Best Irish Breakfast Tea in the UK

Unlike my best English breakfast teas and Best Earl Grey Teas, I have yet to review any Irish blends here at Immortal Wordsmith. So, I am relying on customer feedback online as well as general brand reputation to rank these teas.

If you think I’ve missed a good one or have a recommendation, please leave a comment below!

Taylors of Harrogate Irish Breakfast Teabags

  • Format: Teabags
  • Origins: India, East Africa
  • Where to Buy: Amazon

Taylors of Harrogate describe their Irish Breakfast Tea as robust and reviving, which sounds fantastic to me! At the time of writing, this product has over 20,000 ratings on Amazon making it one of the bestsellers in the Irish tea category. Taylors of Harrogate are also responsible for bringing us Yorkshire Tea, which is the UK’s most consumed cuppa. They know a thing or two about creating satisfying cups of tea.

The origins for this tea are East Africa and India, so that hardly narrows it down. But it does instil confidence that this tea will be as robust as they claim. You can buy this tea internationally through Amazon for the best postage options.

Barry’s Tea Irish Breakfast

  • Format: Teabags
  • Origins: India, Kenya
  • Where to Buy: Amazon

Barry’s Tea is an Irish brand – as you can see on the boxes of their Irish teabags, the tea is a product of Ireland. This means that it was blended there, as tea doesn’t grow well in the Irish (or British) climate. Barry’s Tea source their black tea for their Irish breakfast from India and Kenya, packaging it into paper teabags.

Reviews for this tea frequently mention it being really nice and strong without bitterness. It also goes quite well with honey in addition to milk. If you want a traditional Irish tea from Ireland, this is the one to get.

Twinings Classic Irish Breakfast Tea

  • Format: Loose leaf tea
  • Origins: African BP, Sri Lankan BOP
  • Where to Buy: Twinings UK

Strong and intense, Twinings Classic Irish Breakfast isn’t widely available in the UK, so you’ll have to go to their official website to buy it. However, if the reviews are anything to go by, it will certainly be worth the effort. Stored in an Irish green tea caddy, this is a blend of African and Sri Lankan (Ceylon) tea leaves for an intense and bold experience. It’s missing Assam, but it’s a bestseller nonetheless.

If you like Twinings English Breakfast tea but find yourself leaving in the teabag for extra oomph, this is the next step up. I am eager to try this one myself and have added it to my tea list. If you don’t want to buy it directly from Twinings, you may also be able to find it on Amazon.

Harney & Sons Irish Breakfast Tea

  • Format: Loose leaf tea
  • Origins: Assam, India
  • Where to Buy: Amazon

Sourced from Assam, India, Harney & Sons’ Irish Breakfast Tea is a great loose leaf option with an excellent body. For my American readers, this brand is going to be one of the more accessible options. It is also a very good quality too. Not only do we have a slightly more precise origins, but we also have rough tasting notes from the brand.

This Irish breakfast tea blend is described as having “bold notes of roasted malt that harmonize well with milk and sugar.” They also indicate that the body of the tea is quite strong with prominent briskness and a good aroma too.

Davidson’s Organics English Breakfast

  • Format: Loose leaf tea
  • Origins: Assam, India and Sri Lanka
  • Where to Buy: Amazon

I am usually hesitant to recommend a tea that’s from a brand I’ve never heard of, but Davidson’s Organics has thousands of reviews on Amazon that indicate the tea is legit and tasty. I’m choosing to believe that they aren’t fake reviews!

This Irish loose leaf tea is USDA-certified organic as well as non-GMO. I’m not sure that many teas are GMO, so this might be a touch of greenwashing. Nonetheless, the USDA-certified status is reassuring. This brew is described as well-rounded, malty, and rich. Sounds good to me!

Conclusion – Give Irish Breakfast Tea a Chance

Irish tea is English breakfast tea’s malty older brother. It’s more robust, intense and has those mouth-watering malty notes that so many people love. When it comes to purchasing an Irish breakfast tea to try, there are several Irish brands that you can explore but you can often find Irish blends from a variety of other reputable companies too.

Isobel Moore

Isobel Moore is a quiet, quirky and creative “human bean” whose favourite pastime is curling up with a cuppa and a good book.

Over the past 5 years, her tea reviews at Immortal Wordsmith have helped thousands of readers choose vibrant tea blends and single origin selections from fine, organic, and responsible tea companies.

As a professional content writer with a qualification in digital marketing, Isobel has worked with market-leading tea brands around the globe to develop their content marketing campaigns and gain exposure. Her professional portfolio can be found on Upwork.

Besides a deep-rooted passion for tea, Isobel writes on topics ranging from food and travel to wellness and literature.

Favourite Quote: “Manuscripts don’t burn” – Mikhail Bulgakov

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