Some of my ancestors, the Scots, are known for being, well, let’s just say, a “strong cup of tea.” Bold and colorful, vibrant and persistent, courageous and, perhaps a bit unconventional. Generally speaking, any or all of these qualities can be extremely positive and even delightful.
So, when I started out my journey of “one new-to-me tea per month” this year, I thought, why not try a good, strong Scottish brew to perk me up on the dreary winter days.
Enter: Scottish Breakfast Tea
I’ve tried many other teas from the United Kingdom, both on my adventures in the U.K. and here in the U.S. when I’ve had the chance to drink up on authentic brews. I’ve enjoyed nearly every one, so I thought it would be a great way to start the year.
Living Up to the Ancestral Reputation
This tea, like all breakfast blends I’ve tried, is a bold, dark, rich black tea. The flavor is slightly reminiscent of a cross between Billy Tea – the trail brew of Aussie ranchers – and English Breakfast. The high caffeine content and intense flavor are going to wake you up if caffeine affects you. It doesn’t happen to do much to me, but I believe this would definitely do it for anybody looking for a “wake me up” cuppa.
History and Flavor Profile
Legend tells us that the Scottish Breakfast Tea blend first appeared on the scene back in 1892 when tea master Drysdale saw the need for a stronger version of the existing breakfast blend that Queen Anne had popularized during the 1700s.
He set out to create a new blend with a flavor that would slice through the heavy British breakfast fare (think thick porridge, blood sausage, potato pancakes, bacon, etc.) and give that kick of energy most folks need first thing in the morning.
Since then, the Scots have continued to build the profile and make it even stronger, true to Scottish form. Now, this black tea blend has a woody flavor with a hint of smoky essence – though nothing like Lapsang Souchong!
Unlike Earl Grey or Lady Grey, there are no fruity notes in this tea. It’s pretty much just a straight up dark black tea. The leaves come from Sri Lanka, India, and certain countries in Africa, like most British teas.
My Thoughts on the Tea
Overall, it’s a powerful tea that, though strong, is pleasant and enjoyable. It’s great as a wake-up when you have a long day of work ahead or for staying up as you plug into that novel for a late night of writing.
I don’t think I’d drink this everyday, but I probably will continue to order a new box every few months or so when I’ve run out. It’s a good tea to have on hand for long days, dark nights, and those moments when you just need a solid, no nonsense black tea blend.