Irish Breakfast Tea vs English Breakfast Tea: What’s the Difference?

You may be wondering which to opt for when it comes to Irish Breakfast tea vs English Breakfast tea. Read on to find out the differences between the two blends.

Irish Breakfast Tea Vs English Breakfast Tea
Both tea blends provide a full-bodied cup of tea, but Irish Breakfast tea is stronger

Since tea beverages typically contain less caffeine than coffee drinks, you may be considering ditching your morning cappuccino in favor of a cup of breakfast tea. Doing so will provide you with many health benefits since tea contains powerful antioxidants. If you’ve decided to become a tea drinker, you may be wondering what the difference is when it comes to Irish Breakfast tea vs English Breakfast tea.

In short, although both tea blends provide a full-bodied cup of tea, Irish Breakfast tea is stronger and served with more milk. Read on to find out more about the differences between these two blends, with some brand recommendations.

Irish Vs English Breakfast Tea: A Brief Overview

The term “breakfast tea” typically refers to a full-bodied and robust black-tea blend. This tea is traditionally consumed at breakfast time because of its high caffeine content. Different types of breakfast teas contain diverse blends of black teas, which may include Kenyan, Ceylon, Assam, Darjeeling, and Nilgiri tea.

While English Breakfast tea originally consisted of a blend of Chinese black teas, it now typically includes a strong Ceylon tea component. Teas from Assam and Kenya are also often included in an English Breakfast tea blend. Irish Breakfast tea, on the other hand, generally includes a strong Assam component. This tea may also contain tea from Ceylon and Kenya.

What Do Irish Breakfast Tea and English Breakfast Tea Have In Common?

two cups of English tea with biscuits on a plate
Both English and Irish breakfast tea provide many health benefits

Irish Breakfast tea and English Breakfast tea are both black tea blends. Both tea blends originated around 200 years ago. They can contain almost any type of black tea, as long as the taste is full-bodied and strong. Both types of tea provide many health benefits and can reduce cortisol levels and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. If you liked this post, you might also be interested in our Lipton Tea vs. English Breakfast Tea guide.

Irish Breakfast Tea vs English Breakfast Tea: The Differences

                        Irish Breakfast Tea                      English Breakfast Tea
An Irish Breakfast tea has a strong Assam component, and may even consist solely of Assam tea. English Breakfast tea mostly contains Ceylon, Indian, and African tea leaves.
Typically, Irish Breakfast tea is largely made up of Asam, and perhaps one other tea. An English Breakfast blend contains at least two, and up to four different teas.
Irish Breakfast tea is typically stronger than English Breakfast tea. Although English Breakfast tea is strong, it is a lighter tea than Irish Breakfast tea.
Assam contains more caffeine than many other tea varieties, including Ceylon. English Breakfast tea typically contains a little less caffeine than Irish Breakfast tea.

What’s Better About Irish Breakfast Tea? 

Irish Breakfast has an appealing reddish color and a robust, malty flavor. The malty and earthy flavors of this tea and its buttery and creamy overtones are provided by Assam tea leaves. Irish Breakfast tea typically contains more caffeine than English Breakfast tea. It’s usually served with lots of milk. Popular brands include Barrys and Lyons.

What’s Better About English Breakfast Tea?

English breakfast tea displayed on a table
English Breakfast tea’s taste and flavor depends on the specific blend you’ve bought

The taste and flavor of your English Breakfast tea will depend on the specific blend you’ve bought. Many blends include Ceylon tea, which has a more delicate flavor and lighter taste than Assam tea. You may also note fruity flavors, depending on where the Ceylon was grown. Ceylon tea contains a higher concentration of flavonoids than Assam tea, which means it is a strong antioxidant.

Who Should Get Irish Breakfast Tea (And Why)? 

If you enjoy a strong and full-bodied cup of tea with milk, and perhaps sugar, opt for Irish Breakfast tea. Especially if you tend to like malty and smoky flavors, this tea will be a good fit. Also, Assam tea contains more caffeine than other tea varieties such as Ceylon. So, if you need a bit of a kick in the morning, opt for this tea.

Who Should Get English Breakfast Tea (And Why)?

Although English Breakfast tea is strong, the taste is not as full-bodied and robust as that of Irish Breakfast tea. Those who like a lighter and more delicate cup of tea that contains little to no bitterness should opt for English Breakfast tea.


  • Niki B

    Born and bred in South Africa, Niki B now does her writing from the distant shores of South Korea. A self-proclaimed coffee addict by day, and a writer by night, she gladly shares her knowledge with fellow coffee lovers.