The Best English Breakfast Teas of All Time

By Ellie Smith

6 months ago

Top-quality black teas for your morning cup

There are few things in life more comforting than a traditional cuppa. While there’s certainly a place for fancy herbals, oolongs and greens, sometimes builder’s is the only thing that will cut it. English Breakfast tea is now a quintessential part of British culture – and we certainly know our stuff when it comes to creating the perfect brew.

Of course, the story of tea began in ancient China, going on to be discovered in India and Sri Lanka – and these places remain the main tea growing regions today, along with Africa, Japan and Taiwan. The origins of English Breakfast, though, are thought to lie in Scotland, where Queen Victoria enjoyed a blend created by a tea master named Drysdale during a stay at Balmoral. She subsequently brought a stash back with her to London, and the rest is history. A black tea blend, English Breakfast tea is known for its full-bodied, robust taste, typically served with milk (or, nowadays, plant-based mylk), and optional sugar. Of course, all teas are not made equal, so we’ve rounded up the crème de la crème of the English Breakfast scene. Read on for the best British teas to buy now.

It’s important to note, a recent BBC Panorama documentary exposed sexual harassment and exploitation for women working on tea farms in Kenya. You can find out more about this here, including what you can do to help.

Best English Breakfast Teas

Yorkshire Tea

Yorkshire Tea

According to a recent survey, Yorkshire Tea is the nation’s favourite tea brand. It has over a century worth of experience, dating all the way back to 1886, when a man named Charles Taylor and his two sons set up a tea and coffee company. It quickly garnered a reputation for quality, and Charles began setting up tea and coffee kiosks around Yorkshire, alongside a flagship store in Harrogate. It remains there today as the home of sister company Betty’s. All Yorkshire Teas have a bold flavour, with its classic variety offering a drinkable blend which pairs perfectly with biscuits. The company also wins points for its sustainability policies: it’s a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership, which supports initiatives responding to the major social and environmental challenges facing the tea industry.

£5.39 for 160 tea bags,

Fortnum & Mason Breakfast Blend

Fortnum & Mason Breakfast Blend Tea

Fortnum & Mason is a true expert in the world of tea, with products ranging from historic house blends to health-boosting herbal infusions. Its traditional Breakfast Blend is a stalwart, having featured on breakfast tables since the mid-1800s. A full-bodied tea made from Assam leaves grown in the Brahmaputra Valley in Northeast India, it’s a strong brew perfect for waking you up in the morning. Teabags are individually wrapped, which gives the tea a more luxurious feel, ideal for giving as a present.

£5.95 for 25 tea bags,

Teapigs Everyday Brew

Teapigs Breakfast Tea

B Corp brand Teapigs is a pioneer when it comes to eco-friendly tea, being the first tea company to be awarded with the Plastic-Free trustmark from A Plastic Planet. Its Everyday Brew is perfect for drinkers who are after the taste of loose tea without the effort: instead of traditional teabags, Teapigs uses ‘tea temples’: biodegradable mesh bags which have more space, allowing the tea more space to release its full flavour. Its Everyday Brew is a top quality English Breakfast tea, with a perfectly balanced blend with a malty, zesty strength.

£11.50 for 50 ‘tea temples’,

Twinings English Breakfast

Twinings English Breakfast Tea

Another big name on the English tea scene is Twinings, who has over 300 years of masterblending expertise. In 1837, Queen Victoria granted Twinings its first Royal Warrant, appointing the brand as supplier of teas to her household – which has continued with every British monarch to date. Its famed English Breakfast blend dates back to 1933, offering a well-rounded taste with a lot of body, made using high-grown Ceylon. If it’s good enough for royalty, we’re sold.

£3.29 for 100 tea bags,

Clipper Organic English Breakfast

Clipper English Breakfast Tea

Founded by a husband and wife duo in a Dorset kitchen, Clipper is all about ethical sourcing and natural production. The brand is certified organic, and it was the UK’s first Fairtrade tea company – even helping write the Fairtrade standards. Its English Breakfast tea is full-bodied yet delicate blend of Assam and Ceylon, best brewed for two to four minutes and enjoyed with the morning papers.

£4.59 for 80 tea bags,

Pukka Elegant English Breakfast

Pukka English Breakfast tea

Pukka is perhaps best known for its herbal teas, but it also does a mean English Breakfast, made with a blend of Putharjhora Dooars, Darjeeling late flush and Panshagarh. Founders Sebastian and Tim set out to create a business centred around the principles of Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest healing medical systems. All products are organic, and designed to benefit the health of people, planets and the planet – with plans to go net zero by 2030.

£4.99 for 20 tea bags,

Newby English Breakfast Black Tea

Newby English Breakfast Tea

Launched at the turn of the millennium, Newby was founded to ‘reintroduce quality tea and revive the world’s love for it’. That means standards are high – from using the finest tea leaves picked in prime season to a state-of-the-art HQ preservation and packing facility in India. Newby’s English Breakfast is a rich, smooth blend with earthy, malty aromas, best brewed for three to five minutes.

£15 for 100 tea bags,