Scottish Tea Guide

Scottish tea guide

If a strong morning cuppa is what you need to start your day right, you may want to try Scottish tea. Scottish Breakfast blends are strong enough to accompany a hearty breakfast, and usually a bit bolder than English breakfast teas. But, Scotland is not only a home to world-famous morning blends, it’s a home of many unique Camellia sinensis teas too.

Scottish tea origins

English, Scottish and Irish Breakfast teas are the three most traditional breakfast blends in the world. While English breakfast may be the most popular blend in the world, it was the Scotland where the morning full bodied black tea blends were first created. The first English breakfast blend was created over a 100 years ago by a Scottish tea merchant. But the history of tea in Scotland is much longer than the history of breakfast tea itself. Tea was introduced to Scotland by Duchess of York, Mary of Modena, in the beginning of the 17th century [1].

Scottish breakfast can be blended from different black teas – Assam, Keemun, Ceylon tea or African and other Asian teas [2]. Just like other breakfast blends, you should always add milk to a cup of Scottish tea.  There’s a little difference in today’s English, Scottish and Irish breakfast blends, although it’s considered that Scottish tea is stronger than English blends, and Irish breakfast may even be stronger. However, with no strict blending rules, strength can vary greatly.

What is the most popular tea in Scotland?

Scottish Breakfast teas, just like English Breakfast teas, need to be strong enough to accompany a hearty breakfast. There’s a lot of similarity in English and Scottish breakfasts, and both will contain porridge, bacon, white or black pudding, tomatoes, eggs, a type of bread, beans and mushrooms [3]. A cup of tea that goes well with this feast cannot be anything but strong. Today, when we look for the best breakfast blends, we think about caffeine too, not only the flavor and body that would go well with stronger food. They have a malty flavor similar to English Breakfast tea. Unlike English Breakfast tea, you don’t always need to add milk and sugar to a cup of Scottish Breakfast.

The most popular tea in Scotland is still black tea, but other types, such as green or white tea, recently gained a lot of popularity too. The most popular tea brands in Scottland include old and new Scottish brands of tea, the Scottish Blend and Brodies and other British brands such as Taylors of Harrogate, PG Tips, Yorkshire and Tetley. Not all popular brands necessarily have a specific type of Scottish Breakfast blend, but their traditional blends for Scottish market may be blended specifically for soft water in Scotland. Interestingly, world-famous Lipton tea brand was founded by a Scotsman too, Sir Thomas Lipton [4].

Scottish-grown Camelia sinensis tea

Scotland is home of many unique Camellia sinensis teas. In fact, Scotland is one of the most interesting and busy tea growing countries in Europe. There are several tea gardens, and some teas are available commercially. They are grown in small batches, such as black tea from Kinnettles Tea Garden in Angus [5] or Broich Tea Garden in Crieff [6]. Although incredibly unique and delicious, these Scottish-grown teas are not available in large quantities and are not used for blending Scottish Breakfast blends. Scottish Breakfast teas will contain teas that are not grown in Scottland, but other countries such as India or Sri Lanka. They will be blended to achieve a specific character and strength suitable for serving with a stronger meal.

Best Scottish Breakfast tea

If you want to try a real Scottish Breakfast blend and drink tea like in Scotland, try some of the Scottish tea brands or brands offering specially blended Scottish teas.

1. Brodies

Three tea merchants – Brodie, Melrose, Drysdale found Brodies back in 1967. In fact, it was Drysdale who blended the first English Breakfast tea in 1982. Today, Brodies are still offering some of the most popular Scottish blends – including Scottish Breakfast and Famous Edinburgh Tea. [7]

2. The Scottish Blend

The Scottish Blend tea is a brand of tea specially blended for Scottish water. Scottish water is softer than water in other parts of the UK, which may cause a dull infusion. That’s why Scottish tea is stronger than a regular English breakfast blend.

3. Tea & Coffee Edinburgh

Tea & Coffee Edinburgh, a younger company with a long heritage, is offering unique Scottish blends too – from Scottish Breakfast and Highland Tea to Whiskey Tea.

 4. Taylors of Harrogate

Taylors of Harrogate is an English tea brand founded over 130 years ago by Charles Taylor. Their Scottish Breakfast blend is also blended for soft water, and brews into a full bodied and strong infusion [8].



[1] https://scottishtea.com/history-of-scotland-and-tea/

[2] https://www.highlandtitles.com/blog/scottish-breakfast/

[3] https://www.highlandtitles.com/blog/scottish-breakfast/

[4] https://www.lipton.com/gb/about/lipton-tea-history.html

[5] https://teagardensofscotland.co.uk/kinnettles-tea-garden

[6] https://teagarden.co.uk/buy-tea

[7] https://www.brodies1867.co.uk/

[8] https://www.brandsofbritain.com/Taylors-of-Harrogate-Scottish-Breakfast-50-Tea-p/2505.htm