Irish Breakfast Tea – Nutritional Value, Health Benefits

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Irish Breakfast Tea is a robust blend of black tea that is hearty and delicious. Which makes it the perfect cup of tea to wake up to. Take it as the Irish do, with a splash of milk and maybe a scone or two. Here’s how to brew that perfect cup of Irish Breakfast Tea.

There’s a famous saying that goes as follows, Being Irish if tea cannot fix it, it’s a serious problem. The Irish are known for their love for tea. It is customary in Ireland to drink tea anytime during the day, leave alone in the mornings. Additionally, it is considered as a cure for almost anything under the sun- from a bad mood to flu. The Irish breakfast tea is perhaps their most conventional drink and is a blend of several black teas. Let us find out more.

What is the Irish Breakfast Tea?

Irish tea typically has a boozy, robust flavor and a reddish color. It has a strong Assam tea component. Owing to its strength, the Irish breakfast tea is usually served with milk. Some people also like to have the tea black with sugar or honey, as per their preference. The most popular brands of Irish breakfast tea include Bewley’s Barry’s Lyon’s, and Twining’s Irish breakfast teas. It has a potent flavor and a higher caffeine content compared to white, green, or oolong tea. But how strong is it compared to the English and Scottish breakfast teas or one may say, the other European teas? Let us look into it.

About Irish Breakfast

Irish Breakfast is a hearty breakfast blend originating from Ireland. In terms of tea consumption, Ireland is the second-largest country in the world per capita. Irish breakfast is often taken with milk and sugar for a hearty, warming cup of tea that’s perfect to start the day with. In Ireland, Irish Breakfast is often consumed throughout the day (not just at breakfast!)

While tea originated in China and is now grown primarily in China, India, and African countries like Kenya and Tanzania, tea culture also has a rich history in the British Isles. Here at ArtfulTea, our customers often ask us about the various breakfast tea blends they’ve encountered, particularly Irish Breakfast, English Breakfast, and Scottish Breakfast. While the origins of breakfast blends are not entirely clear, some tea historians attribute the start of what we now called “breakfast tea” to Queen Anne, who made it fashionable to drink tea instead of ale alongside a hearty breakfast.

Others date the breakfast tea phenomenon to about a hundred years ago when a Scottish tea merchant in Edinburgh created a very stout blend to go with the traditionally heavy morning meal. Queen Victoria is said to have loved a Scottish blend of tea, and English tea companies quickly began creating their own blends, dubbing them “English Breakfast” tea. Referring to blends as “breakfast tea” from a specific country caught on, particularly in the U.S.

Irish Breakfast typically contains Assam, a black tea grown near sea level in the Assam region of India and known for its strong malty flavor and bright coppery color. While Assam is usually the main component of the blend, Irish Breakfast may also include other Indian black teas, as well as black teas from countries like Sri Lanka and Tanzania. Irish breakfast is often finely ground, allowing the tea leaves to fully infuse the water for a rich, dark cup of tea. Today, Irish breakfast is consumed not only in Ireland but also all over the world!

Irish Breakfast Tea vs English Tea vs Scottish Tea

If Irish tea is a blend of black teas like Assam tea, Scottish breakfast teas are an invigorating combination of leaves originating from modern-day Sri Lanka, Africa, and Darjeeling. English tea, on the other hand, is made of a superior blend of high-quality Chinese, Indian, Kenyan, and Ceylon tea leaves. According to a paper published in the Czech Journal of Food Sciences, an average cup (237 ml) of black tea contains 47 mg of caffeine but can contain as much as 90 mg as well. A cup of green tea of the same quantity contains somewhere between 20-45 mg of caffeine. Scottish breakfast tea is considered to be the strongest and the boldest flavored tea out of the three. [rx]

English breakfast: Full-bodied and rich. Originally a China black tea but now frequently includes a strong Ceylon tea component. May also include teas from Assam, Africa, and/or Indonesia.

Irish breakfast: More robust than English breakfast. Generally has a strong Assam component, giving it a malty flavor.

Scottish breakfast: Typically the strongest of the three. May include teas from China, Assam, Ceylon, Africa, and/or Indonesia.

Irish Tea Breakfast Health Benefits

Like other black teas, Irish Breakfast contains a variety of health benefits and is a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. Some of the many benefits of Irish Breakfast include:

  • Energizing and uplifting – Because of its high caffeine content, Irish Breakfast is a great choice if you’re looking to increase your energy levels and wake yourself up in the morning.
  • Improves digestion – Black teas like Irish Breakfast have been shown to help aid digestion, reduce bloating, and soothe upset stomachs. Traditionally, Irish Breakfast accompanies hearty Irish and English breakfasts, and is a great tea to turn to when you’re eating a heavy meal!
  • Prevents Allergies – This type of breakfast tea is thought to prevent the symptoms of certain allergies such as hives, runny noses, or watery eyes. All of this becomes possible thanks to its quercetin content that is believed to have a positive impact in retracting the release of histamines that triggers allergies. However, more research and scientific findings are yet to be found to better support these ideas.
  • Controls Asthma – The allergy controlling ability of this beverage has also made it useful for people with asthma by minimizing their symptoms of asthma.
  • Maintains a Healthy Skin – Antioxidants contained inside the Irish tea is also beneficial for protecting the skin from free radicals and ensure cell functions in return. Drinking a few cups of Irish tea from week to week also helps in reducing wrinkles as well as premature aging.
  • Alleviates Dental Problems – The Irish breakfast tea also contains magnesium as well as fluoride found inside Assam tea within its blend, which combats the growth of bacteria that threatens oral health. In the long term, dental issues such as cavities or unhealthy gum can be prevented.
  • It Relieves Stress and Provides Relaxation – Just like the typical tea, the Irish breakfast tea also helps in soothing your nerves, calming down your emotions while driving away tension.
  • An Ideal Source of Caffeine – This tea contains a decent amount of caffeine, although not as much as in coffee. Caffeine is useful to sharpen and improve the performance of the brain when taken in moderate amounts. A cup of Irish breakfast tea is said to have half or third caffeine as to those found in a cup of coffee.
  • Reduces inflammation – Black tea contains theaflavin, a polyphenol that is responsible for reducing inflammation and promoting overall health.
  • Wards off illness – Black tea contains catechins with antiviral properties that can help to boost your immune system and ward off colds and other illnesses.
  • Reduces stress – Like other types of tea, Irish Breakfast contains l-theanine, which can help to reduce stress.
  • Good for studying and focus – Black tea contains a unique combination of caffeine and l-theanine. Together, these two compounds help to create a calm, energized state that is great for studying and focus.
  • Soothes headaches – The caffeine present in black tea can help to soothe the symptoms of a headache.
  • Good for your heart – Black tea contains flavonoids that can help prevent plaque buildup in the body’s arteries, which reduces stress on the heart.
  • High in antioxidants – Like other types of tea made from the camellia Sinensis plant, Irish Breakfast is a great source of antioxidants.
  • It can de-stress you (and keep you looking young and trim) – A recent study by UCL suggested tea may make your cortisol levels – the stress hormone that contributes to belly fat and makes your skin age quicker – spikeless. The study, published in the journal Psychopharmacology, found that people who drank tea were able to de-stress more quickly than those who drank a fake tea substitute. Furthermore, the study participants – who drank a black tea concoction four times a day for six weeks – were found to have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their blood after a stressful event, compared with a control group who drank the fake or placebo tea for the same period of time.
  • It can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke – A researcher at the Boston University School of Medicine conducted a study of 70 people with coronary arteries that were at least 70 percent blocked. After drinking black tea (English breakfast tea is a black tea blend) instead of other beverages for four weeks, blood vessel functioning improved by nearly 50 percent, leading Dr. Vita to conclude that drinking tea can prevent or reverse some types of artery diseases and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. They concluded that this is because tea’s concentration of flavonoids, plant compounds that behave as antioxidants, prevent the formation of plaque in artery walls.
  • It can prevent cancer – Drinking English breakfast tea might also keep cancer at bay. Researchers at Rutgers University identified a compound in black tea known as theaflavin-3′-monogallate, or TF-2, that caused colorectal cancer cells to destroy themselves without harming normal cells. In addition, they found that TF-2 suppressed Cox 2, a gene that is often associated with colon cancer.
  • It can increase your memory – Drink a cup of tea before you head into the boardroom. Extensive research has shown that the combination of caffeine and L-Theanine, a naturally occurring amino acid found in tea, improves reaction time and memory while increasing focus and concentration.
  • It can lower your cholesterol – Drink tea. A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that black tea consumption may help lower cholesterol levels in high-cholesterol adults. The study, conducted on 15 people over the course of three weeks, found that five servings of black tea per day lowered total cholesterol levels by 6.5 percent.
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Others Health Benefits

  • Antioxidants in ancient forest tea help fight the damages wrought by free radicals which are viewed as the source of many of today’s debilitating diseases. Did you know that aside from the catechins that are so abundant in tea.
  • Irish Breakfast Tea is abundant in the antioxidant compound known as quercetin. Quercetin is a plant-based chemical, or phytochemical, known as a flavonoid. Its proponents say that quercetin helps in protecting against heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Read more about quercetin here.
  • Aside from black tea, the flavonoid quercetin can also be found in such fruits as apples, vegetables such as onions, and drinks such as red wine.
  • Irish Breakfast Tea has a high magnesium content. Magnesium is a water-insoluble mineral that aids in helps in forming healthy bones and teeth. It also may help reduce the severity of asthma attacks. Go here for more info on magnesium.
  • Irish Breakfast Tea contains a good amount of caffeine, though not as much as coffee. A cup of black tea is said to yield only about a half or a third of caffeine as a similar cup of black coffee. While caffeine is believed to help sharpen and improve brain performance, it is also known to contribute to palpitations and insomnia when taken in large amounts.
  • Irish Breakfast Tea has a considerable content of Vitamin B1 or thiamine. Thiamine is a water-soluble vitamin that enables the body to use its carbohydrate intake for energy use. It also helps enhance blood circulation.
  • The quality of the water used to brew the tea is very important. It is believed that the water used must be free of contaminants and contain enough oxygen to enhance the natural flavor of the tea. Teas made with pure water yield a crisp flavor and a clear brew that is aesthetically pleasing.
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Brewing Irish Breakfast

  • We recommend preparing Irish Breakfast using a teapot, tea infuser, or tea filter. These brewing methods result in a richer, more flavorful cup. Since Irish Breakfast is very fine, you should be sure to choose a filter or infuser that’s fine enough to catch all the tea leaves and prevents sediment from settling at the bottom of your cup.
  • When preparing Irish Breakfast, you should use one teaspoon of tea leaves for every six ounces of water in your pot or cup. Heat water to boiling, then infuse the leaves for three to four minutes. Irish Breakfast is tasty on its own but really shines with a splash of milk and sweetener. Irish Breakfast also makes a great base for milk tea and tea lattes!

Serving

  • Due to its strength,[rx] Irish Breakfast Tea is commonly served with milk, but may also be consumed black, with sugar or even with honey.[rx] Irish Breakfast Tea has a robust taste and is red in color.[rx][rx] As dairy products are a major part of the Irish economy,[rx] most people drink tea with milk.[rx]
  • Being a black tea, it has a strong flavor and higher caffeine content[rx] than green, oolong, or white teas. The tea is virtually never referred to as “breakfast tea” (except as the name of specific blends produced by Barry’s, Bewley’s, Thompson’s, and the British brand Twinings) and is drunk throughout the day.[rx]
  • Irish Breakfast tea leaves are sought from India, Rwanda, and Kenya. It is said that it’s the African leaves that make a good refreshing breakfast tea.[rx]

How to Make Irish Breakfast Tea?

Methods 1

It is fairly simple to make Irish breakfast tea. To make the beverage, all you need is 200 milliliters of water, 8 grams of Irish breakfast tea leaves, 200 milliliters of milk and 2 tablespoons of sugar. If you prefer, you can also add a pinch of Himalayan pink salt. This entire recipe should ideally not take you more than 20 minutes. Let us take a look at the easy recipe below.

  • Step 1: Heat water in a saucepan and add Irish breakfast tea leaves to it.
  • Step 2: Turn the stove off and allow the tea leaves to steep for 4-5 minutes. Now strain the tea.
  • Step 3: In a separate saucepan, heat the milk along with the sugar and salt.
  • Step 4: If you want your tea to be frothy or bubbly, blend the milk and tea concoction (once it relatively cools down) for about 20 seconds.

As an option, you can add whipped cream and cinnamon powder as a garnish. Note that you can also replace the regular milk with almond, toned or soy milk if you’re vegan.

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Methods 2

STEP 1: Boil cold water.

  • Always use freshly drawn (filtered if possible) cold water in the kettle. Tea loves oxygen as it helps the flavor develop. Good tea depends on the water you use to make it.
  • Use an electric tea kettle with a temperature setting is possible. Just under the boiling point is perfect at 206°F.

Although new research suggests that microwaving tea water successfully is possible, I still like to heat water d the corner, for most of us, it’s still recommended to boil it.

STEP 2: Warm up the teapot.

  • Pour freshly boiled water into a teapot and swish it around. Then discard the water.
  • Warming up the teapot allows the tea to unfurl, relax, and deliver the maximum flavor. It also helps to keep the tea warm without dropping the temperature.

STEP 3: Put the tea into a teapot and add hot water.

  • Twinings’ top tip is to “never pour boiling water over a tea bag or loose tea.” They say “this is because the boiling water will burn the tea, it scalds it and therefore, the tea doesn’t release all of its maximum flavors.”

STEP 4: Cover teapot and steep for 3-4 minutes.

  • Black tea is best steeped between 3 and 5 minutes. Experiment with tasting tea at 3 minutes and up to but not more than 5 minutes.
  • If you like a stronger cup of tea, brew more tea instead of steeping longer. Longer brewing can make your tea bitter.

STEP 5: Strain tea leaves and pours the tea into a teacup.

  • Irish tea drinkers traditionally add milk to 1/3 of their teacup before pouring strained tea over the milk. Add sugar if desired.

What can you serve along with Irish breakfast tea?

  • One thing Ireland is truly known for is its wholesome and hearty breakfasts. Needless to say, the Irish breakfast tea is an important component of this meal. The meal consists of local produce and homemade food items. Typically, Irish tea goes really well with Irish tea cakes, sausages, bacon, baked beans, eggs, scones, toast, butter, marmalade, potatoes made into a hash, and oatcakes.

Irish Breakfast Caffeine Content

Irish Breakfast is high in caffeine, containing about half as much as a coffee per cup. The caffeine content present in tea is influenced by several factors, including:

  • Tea varietal – Teas made from the camellia Sinensis var. assamica tea plant, which is indigenous to India, tend to be higher in caffeine than teas made from camellia Sinensis var. Sinensis tea plant, which is indigenous to China. Irish Breakfast tends to be primarily composed of Indian black teas.
  • Leaf size – The smaller the leaf size, the higher the caffeine level tends to be. Irish Breakfast is produced using a tea processing method known as CTC, which results in a very fine and concentrated loose leaf tea.
  • Water temperature – The hotter the water you use to brew your tea, the more caffeine will be present in the brewed cup. We recommend preparing Irish Breakfast using boiling water (approximately 212 degrees.)
  • Steep time – The longer you steep your tea, the higher the caffeine content. We recommend infusing Irish Breakfast for about three to four minutes.

Precautions When Consuming Irish Breakfast Tea

The following are the side effects of Irish breakfast tea that one must take note of.

  • Because the Irish breakfast tea is a strong yet thick beverage, excess consumption of it may cause nausea, dizziness, headache as well as stomach upset.
  • As with other caffeinated beverages, excess consumption of the Irish breakfast tea may also lead to insomnia, restlessness, and many more other caffeine side effects.
  • Pregnant women should also be reminded that its high caffeine content may have unpleasant side effects on their offspring. In this case, it is suggested for pregnant women to consult their gynecologist beforehand for the best solution.

From Where To Buy

Twinings of London Irish Breakfast Black Tea Bags, 20 Count (Pack of 6)
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Twinings of London Irish Breakfast Black Tea Bags, 20 Count (Pack of 6)
  • FRESH FLAVOR: 6 boxes of 20 Irish Breakfast black tea bags. A fine black tea with a full-bodied, thick, and malty taste. Steep for 4 minutes for the perfect cup of Irish breakfast black tea.
  • ONLY THE FINEST QUALITY: Our expert blenders source only the finest leaves cultivated to our exacting standards by trusted growers around the world. From these tea gardens we hand-select the leaves that will shape your next Twinings moment.
  • IRISH BREAKFAST BLACK TEA: Our Irish Breakfast tea pays tribute to the Irish, who are well-known for their love of strong teas. This blend combines teas carefully selected from four distinct regions to give it added body, flavor and strength.
  • RICH HISTORY In 1706 Thomas Twining began selling fine tea from an English storefront in The Strand, London. Today, Twinings still sells some of the worlds best teas from the original store and in more than 100 countries throughout the world.
  • HAND SELECTED FOR YOUR HOME Made without artificial ingredients, Twinings natural teas provide a wholesome tea experience. If you enjoy Bigelow Tea, Lipton Tea, Harney and Sons Tea, Davidsons Tea, or Prince of Peace Tea, try Twinings of London Tea.

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