Twining’s most popular tea, English Breakfast is a carefully-blended, robust black tea, made with teas from Africa and Asia–Assam, China, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi. Don’t ask why this tea ended up being called English when the leaves are anything but. Así es. Anyway, the flavor is really full, and it’s a great substitute for coffee.

Twinings English Breakfast

UK-based Twinings is one of the most popular sellers of black teas.

Before my visit to London in 2015 (maybe I’ll do a throwback post since I’m feeling all nostalgic), I’d been drinking black tea all wrong–I never added cream or milk! But I soon learned the error of my ways and now know that sugar alone does not a cuppa make.

Brewing the Perfect Cuppa’ English Breakfast (Twinings)

  1. Fill your kettle with cold, fresh water and allow it to reach the boiling point, but don’t let it over boil. There’s a science to it–the colder, fresher the water to start, the higher the oxygen levels will be. The same is true if you don’t over boil the water. Lack of O2 often makes the tea taste stale or flat.

    Kettle boiling

    English Breakfast tastes best when you use water that has just reached its boiling point.

  2. Pour the just-boiling water over the tea bag. (We’re starting with tea bags first, but we’ll talk about environmental impact and experiment with the loose leaves later in this series!) Any sized tea-cup will do–if you’re using tea bags the method is the same for a large mug or a small tea cup.Pouring Water into Tea Cups
  3. Allow the tea to steep. Now, the Twinings box will say 4 minutes or so, and other brands give you similar timelines. I like to brew Twinings-brand English Breakfast for more like 7-8 minutes. I’ve even *gasp* forgotten all about my tea, letting it steep for 15 minutes. It was still tasty. This isn’t going to be true for all teas.

    Steeped Tea

    Notice the reddish hue of your just-brewed tea. This batch was brewed for 4 minutes.

  4. Remove the tea bag, squeezing it against the side of the cup, and if it’s an eco-friendly brand, toss your tea bag into your compost. Not all tea bags are compostable, unfortunately. More on that later.
  5. Sweeten your tea. Now, there are two schools of thought here. Lemon and sugar or cream/milk and sugar. Barring the studies on antioxidant levels for a moment, it really comes down to taste and mood, doesn’t it? Lately, I’ve been adding a tablespoon of creamer, because it’s everything I need all in one. Not that one should ever rush through the art that is pouring a cuppa, but it’s convenient nonetheless.

    Creamer in Tea

    How tea becomes Dumbledore’s Pensieve: add creamer. Now stir.

  6. Enjoy hot with a classic English fry up, toast, or (my favourite) a digestive biscuit. And yes, there’s a right way to biscuit–I’m definitely team dip-your-biscuit-into-your-tea-Oreo-style.
Digestive Biscuit

Digestive biscuits are my favourite English Breakfast tea accompaniment.

Digestive Biscuit Dunk

Digestive biscuits are meant to be dunked.

Modified Full English Breakfast

A modified Full English Breakfast (Fry Up)

Assuming other tea enthusiasts don’t bite my head off over any disagreement or perceived inaccuracy (there are those who would suggest that adding cream to the cup before brewing is better, for instance), I’ll be back tomorrow with another brew. <3

How do you take your English Breakfast tea? Let me know in the comments. 🙂