Gentler than Scottish tea but with more of a bite than a typical English morning cuppa, Irish breakfast tea has a distinctive flavor. A favorite of the Emerald Isle since the late 1800s, it’s earned a place on your table.
And there are some great Irish brands that offer other tasty tea varieties like Earl Grey, green teas, and a few of them have coffee as well.
Then, of course, there are also English and American companies offering their versions of the classic breakfast blend.
The difference between brands can be profound, so if you’re new to Irish teas, which should you choose?
We’ve sampled hundreds to bring you our top 10 picks!
Best Irish Tea Brands – Irish Breakfast Tea
Let’s start by taking a proper look at our favorite Irish breakfast teas coming brands based in Ireland.
We will also see what other interesting blends they have to offer.
1. Thompson’s Irish Breakfast Tea
Thompson’s Irish Breakfast blend was born on the docks of Belfast. Recognized by leading taste testers as a can’t-miss brand, it’s a refreshing combination of the finest leaves from Assam and Kenya.
Our top pick, it has the smooth, bold taste and kick of caffeine that every morning needs. A splash of milk and a dab of sugar only makes it better.
If you like a strong but not a bitter, tannic tea, Thompson’s is your brew. Bags are tagless and arrive in a resealable foil pouch.
In addition to Irish breakfast tea, Thompson’s also has some other popular blends to try:
- Thompson’s Punjana Original Blend: Made with the finest tea leaves from Assam and Kenya this blend has won numerous awards.
- Thompson’s Scottish Blend: Crafted for Scotland’s softer water with leaves coming from the foothills of Mount Kenya and North India.
- Thompson’s Decaf Blend: It is not an easy task to produce a decaffeinated tea that tastes great but Thompson’s has nailed it here — here is a nightcap that won’t ruin your sleep.
2. Bewley’s Irish Breakfast Tea
Bewley’s Irish Breakfast Tea represents a true tradition. Characterized as brisk and malty, the flavor is surprisingly nuanced.
This blend of top-quality Darjeeling, Assam, and Rwandan tea leaves, brews up dark with a sweet, herbal aroma and a smoky edge.
A favorite in cafes across Ireland, it’s a more complex cup than similar brands yet it pairs well with a wide range of foods. Try it with honey and milk.
The packaging is more generic than this tea deserves. Transfer it to an airtight container upon arrival.
Here are a few more selected favorites from Bewley’s:
- Bewley’s Dublin Morning Tea: Strong and stimulating breakfast blend from African tea leaves.
- Bewley’s Irish Afternoon Tea: Brisk and refreshing, this award-winning blend is made with tea leaves picked from East of the Rift Valley, Kenya.
In addition to tea bags, Bewleys offers loose leaf teas, herbal infusions, tea subscriptions, and many types of coffee.
3. McEntee’s Loose Leaf Irish Breakfast Tea
McEntee’s Irish Breakfast Tea is a departure from the usual malty blends. Bright and balanced, it’s an anywhere, anytime tea you’ll rely on in your cupboard.
Crafted in Ireland from the finest Indian Assam and citrusy highland Ceylon, it has a delicious spark of lemon flavor that puts a refreshing spin on an otherwise traditional tea.
A Bronze Medal Award winner at the 2019 Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards, you’ll enjoy it hot or iced. Delivered in a stay-fresh tin, it’s our pick for warm summer mornings.
If you want to treat your taste buds with another award-winning blend from McEntee’s, try their robust and malty Gold Blend.
4. Barry’s Irish Breakfast Tea
A good Irish Breakfast Tea should stand alone without overwhelming the food it’s served with.
Barry’s Irish Breakfast Tea is a blend that does just that! Mix of hearty Assam with a touch of African leaves, as well as teas from Rwanda and Kenya make this a mild, balanced brew that rounds out meals and complements breakfast flavors.
The price point is slightly higher than similar brands, and the minimalist packaging is less than ideal for long-distance shipping. But Barry’s a climate-conscious company certified by the Rainforest Alliance, so it’s a good spend.
5. Lyons Tea
Tea is an all-day favorite in Ireland, so why limit yourself to breakfast blends?
Morning, noon, or night, Lyons Tea offers the intriguing anytime taste you’ve been searching for. Their selection doesn’t include an Irish breakfast blend
Lyons Original Blend charms with its smooth but satisfying taste that has the depth to add interest to your cup.
Ubiquitous in Irish homes, this tea has a flavor and fragrance that are multidimensional, and the stunning gold color is a joy in itself.
Add honey or sugar but go easy on the milk until you’ve had a chance to appreciate its nuances.
Best Irish Breakfast Teas from Other Brands
There’s no shortage of Irish breakfast teas — there are hundreds of brands around the world that offer them.
So here are the best ones coming outside of Ireland.
1. Twinings of London Irish Breakfast Tea
Twinings may be a London company, but it’s created an inviting Irish Breakfast brew.
While the flavor is reminiscent of English breakfast tea, it has the bold Assam flavor that pleases the Irish palate. The addition of Kenyan, Indonesian, and Chinese black teas only adds to its complexity.
Strong and malty, it’s not for the faint of heart. Bags are individually wrapped to preserve their flavor and delivered in a recyclable cardboard box.
2. Taylors of Harrogate Irish Breakfast Tea
A traditional blend of Assam and East African teas, Taylors of Harrogate’s Irish Breakfast Tea has an astonishingly robust flavor with startling floral notes. While purists may quibble that it’s not what they expect from an Irish blend, we think it deserves a taste.
Why not push the boundaries?
If you like the strength of Scottish breakfast teas but the honey-like sweetness of an English blend, give it a try. It will be a pleasant surprise!
3. Harney & Sons Irish Breakfast Tea
Harney & Sons Irish Breakfast Tea is a delightful, 100% Assam loose leaf with a malty richness and ruby red color you’ll love.
It’s not as complex as other blends, but it’s full-bodied and fragrant. Ultra-hearty, it stands up well to milk and sugar.
Ideal for busy mornings, it packs a punch of caffeine and an eye-opening flavor. Crafted in the United States and shipped in a decorative tin, it’s a simple yet sophisticated choice.
4. Davidson’s Irish Breakfast Tea Bulk
Davidson’s is a novel tea company. They grow, import, and package their products, so the quality control is superb.
All of their offerings are organic and sustainably grown. If you want to start a relationship with a socially responsible tea company, you won’t go wrong with Davidson’s.
A blend of Ceylon and Assam, their Irish Breakfast Tea is among their most popular.
Malty but well-rounded, it’s the middle-of-the-road brew you’d expect to drink at an Irish breakfast table. Neither complicated nor boring, it’s a perfect point of reference from which someone who’s never tried Irish breakfast tea can compare blends.
5. The Republic of Tea Lucky Irish Breakfast Tea
The Republic of Tea is a wellness-focused company steeped in tradition. Their Lucky Irish Breakfast Blend is unique enough to stand out but conventional enough to meet expectations.
The Assam-Ceylon blend is bold but not brash. Soothing with a pleasant aroma and a slightly astringent aftertaste, it’s the perfect morning brew that also makes a refreshing iced tea. Neutral, it pairs well with milk and milk alternatives.
Try it hot with molasses or cold with honey.
FAQ – Irish Tea Brands & Irish Breakfast Tea
What is the difference between Irish breakfast tea and other popular breakfast blends?
While English breakfast tea is the most well-known, the Irish and Scottish ones are also popular. Especially in the lands where the blends were born and anywhere that people later emigrated from these areas.
When comparing English vs Irish breakfast tea, the main difference is that the Irish blends tend to be more robust and have a higher content of Assam black tea. The Scottish blends are often even stronger and include Assam and other bold varieties producing woody flavor with a hint of smoke.
How long should I steep Irish breakfast tea?
Most Irish breakfast teas are best after steeping them for about 3 to 5 minutes in freshly boiled water. However, this is a matter of personal preference — a longer steeping time produces a bolder brew with more caffeine.
Check the instruction in the package for the instructions of the brand, they usually know how to brew their own blends for the best result.
What is the traditional way of drinking Irish breakfast tea?
Irish breakfast teas are often to be so strong that they taste best with a splash of milk and some sugar or honey. Yet, I recommend trying out a new brand black the first time. This gives you a better idea of the character of tea and how much milk and sweetener to add.
The Irish people also love to accompany their tea with some pastries like soda bread.
Looking for more options to start your day?
Check out our recommended English breakfast teas.
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