Don't be fooled into thinking that 'English Breakfast' tea is the only brew suitable for the morning. This famous blended black tea stands in the way of tea enthusiasts getting access to better choices in leaf tea on cafe and restaurant menus. Unlike coffee lovers who are now experiencing a trend towards varied single origin beans that exhibit unique aromas and flavours, the tea lover is left underwhelmed by their choices and almost always faced with an ‘English Breakfast’ blend (cue sad face).
But I can assure you there are a huge number of styles of pure leaf teas out there that could meet the breakfast brief. Unfortunately accessing them can be difficult as our food and beverage gatekeepers continue to provide us limited tea options. Don't get me wrong, blended styles of tea have their place and can be delightful to drink but they stop customers experiencing the beautiful and diverse sensory traits that exist with unblended tea leaves that come from a single growing region, just as it does for coffee. Rant over.
It is worth the time and effort to find new and interesting teas that make the morning a more exciting affair. The flavours and aromas of many black teas pair superbly with breakfast foods and many of these are still suited to our splashes of milk or sweeteners.
Enter these incredible tea growing regions when thinking about teas at breakfast!
A diverse range of breakfast friendly teas are grown here. They range from the bold and malty Assam teas (such as Chota Tingrai Assam) in the North, to the smooth and rounded teas being produced in the Nilgiri region in the South through to the bright and delicate Darjeelings often referred to as the 'Champagne of Teas'.
The medium to high grown Ceylon teas are held in high regard by tea connoisseurs as they produce rounded, creamy and malty teas such as those coming from the Organic Harrington Estate.
This growing region is fast emerging as one of my personal favourites. Offering a clean and pure taste from the incredible growing region of the Himalayas. I am excited by the distinct mark of some of their beautiful black teas. Spice and citrus notes in teas such as Bardu Honeymoon or delicious warming hops-like flavours found in the Nepalese Golden Tips make this tea growing region very exciting. Just a little note, we are currently very low on stocks of this tea but am waiting for more tea to arrive later this month (April 2019) - in time for the wintery months.
Many wonderful styles are produced here that are suited to breakfast. A good starting point are the famed Qimen red teas that are easy and forgiving to brew. Try the traditional spicy and woodsy Imperial Qimen or the wonderfully smooth and chocolate-like Qimen Aromatic Black Snail. And if you are after something a little special try the toast and accentuated honey notes of Golden Steed Eyebrow (a grand champion tea in 2018, read more here) or a lighter more fragrant Honey Orchid Phoenix Red.
Japanese wakocha (black tea) is a wonderful black tea produced in Japan. Utilising Japanese tea cultivars they have a unique and delicious flavour profile. Lighter in body they have lovely floral notes and a refinement that makes these teas a great addition to black tea lovers cupboard. Try our Asatsuyu Wakocha with rose like notes.
It may be a surprise to you that we produce some wonderful black teas here in our own backyard. In particular, Arakai Estate artisan tea makers (located in Bellthorpe, Queensland) produce excellent whole leaf black teas that are complex and semi-sweet. And we have a couple that will delight you, take a look at our collection here.
These are some just some suggestions for black teas to get you started. If we have piqued your interest take a look at African black teas or those from Indonesia. We have chosen to focus on black teas to demonstrate a style of tea that is not too dissimilar to an 'English Breakfast'. But if you want to take a fresh look at breakfast teas open your mind and start exploring the world of oolong or dark teas.
To make it easy for you to make a start we have put together our most popular and adaptable black leaf breakfast-style teas. Order yours today from our online store.
This blog post was first published on 6 April 2017 and has been updated April 2019. Updated for my new black tea collections from Nepal and Japan.