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ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Irish Breakfast Tea

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

We woke up and brewed a cup of Irish Breakfast Tea, enjoyed with some lemon-ginger scones from Sticky Fingers scone mix, our favorite (along with Iveta scones) for making delicious, moist scones with ease.

You’ve probably seen Irish Breakfast Tea—maybe even own a box. But do you know what it is?

In Ireland, “Irish Breakfast Tea” is simply called “tea.” It is a full-bodied, malty-flavored black tea blend, due to a combination of hearty Assam tea from India blended (which contributes the malty flavor) and Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon, which has a delicate, bright and lively flavor).

The proportion of the two teas is up to the blending company, but a classic tea will have a heavier weight of Assam. Most people drink it with a bit of milk, but a fine-quality blend is delicious drunk straight. It’s a strong tea: Many drink it only as a breakfast waker-upper. But the Irish love their tea strong, and drink it throughout the day.



Enjoy a cup of hearty Irish Breakfast Tea.
Photo by Sara Sang | IST.

In Irish vernacular, tea is often called by its Indian name, “cha.” According to, tea was first imported to Ireland in 1835 where it became popular with the weathly, but wan’t affordable to the average citizen. It wasn’t until around 1850 that all of Ireland was able to participate. Prices came down, and the grocers in towns and villages began to exchanged the butter and eggs produced by the townspeople for tea and sugar.

After breakfast, Irish tea is served generally three times a day: a break at 11 a.m., 3-5 p.m. afternoon tea and high tea, or supper, at 6 p.m.

Learn more about tea in our Gourmet Tea Section.

The difference between Irish Breakfast Tea and English Breakfast Tea: English Breakfast Tea is full-bodied blend, though not as robust as Irish breakfast tea. It was blended to go well with milk and sugar, the style enjoyed with a full English breakfast.

English breakfast tea contains Assam and Ceylon teas, and a fine brand will include Keemun, one of China’s best teas, known for its winey and fruity taste. Supermarket brands tend to drop the Keemun and substitute less expensive Kenyan tea. It is the most often-drunk type of tea in the U.K.

Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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