The Virginia Tea Company’s English Breakfast

English Breakfast by The Virginia Tea Company
Black Tea / Straight
$11.50USD for 2oz


The Virginia Tea Company has provided me with English Breakfast for the purposes of providing an honest review. I received this product at no charge to me and received no other compensation.

First Impressions

Much like The Virginia Tea Company’s Earl Grey, English Breakfast came in a cardboard container, with the loose-leaf tea in a wax paper bag, and it came with an tea ball infuser, wooden spoon, and 10 tea bag filters. English Breakfast is a fair trade and organic tea, which is a good thing to know. I like knowing that the people who grow and harvest the tea that I drink are paid fair wages (which is part of what International Tea Day was about). English Breakfast has a strong smell to the tea, almost malty smell to it like from an Assam, with some light plum notes to the dry leaf of the tea that are enticing.


The English Breakfast that The Virginia Tea Company sent me was the $15.00USD version (2oz tea plus tea accessories). The tea-only version with 2oz of loose-leaf tea is $11.50USD.


The Virginia Tea Company suggests steeping English Breakfast in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. The carton (and their website) suggests that the tea leaves can resteeped up to 3 additional times. I steeped English Breakfast in my tea pot in 100°C (212°F) water for 2 minutes.

First Taste

After the initial 2 minute steep, I had a tea that was a deep orange colour. The fragrance that wafts up from my tea cup reminds me of the malty flavour of Assam teas. The tea itself has a very mild astringency that just leads to a slight mouthpucker at the end of each sip. There’s zero bitterness when steeped for the 2 minutes. English Breakfast has quite a strong taste to it, with the malty flavour from the black tea base and deep plum notes that show up at the beginning of each sip. The tea is quite smooth and enjoyable. The strength in the flavour, despite a short steep, is what I look for in a good breakfast tea. The tea is good on its own, but me being me, I added some sugar and milk to it and found that it tastes quite good with being doctored up as well.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped English Breakfast, adding 30 seconds per subsequent steep. I did a total of four resteeps (five steeps total with the same leaves). I found that the plum flavours were the strongest in the second steep. The third steep fared about the same as the second, although the plum flavours weren’t as strong. The fourth steep was quite similar to the first steep in terms of strength and flavour. For the fifth resteep, the flavours were very weak. The suggested three resteeps was a good number for enjoyable tea each time.


My Overall Impression


I loved The Virginia Tea Company’s English Breakfast. A good strong black tea is always appreciated in the morning, which is a great time for a cup (or pot!) of English Breakfast. I found this one did very well in terms of resteeping, which is shows the quality in the tea leaves. I found the plum notes to be delicious, and the malty flavour in the tea to be enjoyable. I might have even enjoyed this tea best with some sugar and milk, but it is good plain if that is your cup of tea. The tea and tea accessories version is a nice complete starter kit for someone new to loose-leaf tea, I really like that it’s a complete gift option, if you’re looking for a gift for someone.

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The Virginia Tea Company’s Earl Grey

Earl Grey by The Virginia Tea Company
Black Tea / Flavoured
$11.50USD for 2oz


The Virginia Tea Company has provided me with Earl Grey for the purposes of providing an honest review. I received this product at no charge to me and received no other compensation.

First Impressions

The Virginia Tea Company’s packaging is pretty nice. It’s a sturdy cardboard container and inside was the 2oz of tea (in a wax paper bag), 10 tea bags, 1 tea ball infuser, and 1 wooden spoon. There’s various price points for their tea, according to the website. For 2oz of tea only, it’s $11.50USD and for the option of the tea plus all of the accessories, it’s $15.00USD. I think the tea plus all the accessories would make for a great gift-giving option as it would be a nice loose leaf tea starter kit.


The tea leaves have a strong Bergamot smell to them, it’s quite nice. Otherwise, the black tea base has a great malty smell to it that reminds me a lot of Assam tea. According to the packaging, this tea is 97% fair trade and organic. The Virginia Tea Company’s Earl Grey consists of black tea and Bergmot flavouring.

As a side note, at the time of writing I was unable to determine on The Virginia Tea Company’s website if the drawstring tea bags were compostable. I messaged the company and found out the ones photographed above are not biodegradable and the company is in the process of changing to tea bags that are.



The steeping instructions from The Virginia Tea Company is to steep with boiling water (100°C/212°F) for 2-3 minutes. My initial steep of Earl Grey was for 3 minutes.

First Taste

The first thing I noticed when steeping Earl Grey is that there was an instant waft up from the tea when I was pouring in the water of a malty smell – it definitely reminds me of Assam tea. It steeped it for three minutes and my first sip? It’s bitter! It’s very malty and has strong Assam flavours.


To counteract the bitterness, I added sugar to it. This helped to cut down the bitterness and it did brighten up the bergamot flavouring quite a bit so that it was more noticeable. I doctored it further by adding evaporated milk and that helped to cut down the bitterness completely. Sugar and milk saved the day! I definitely think that 3 minutes is too long for an initial steep.


I attempted again at the beginning with fresh tea leaves for a 2 minute steeping time, and found that the tea was mildly bitter. It required less sugar and milk to make it more palatable. For my third go around, I steeped for 90 seconds and found that the tea had zero bitterness.

A Second Cup?

I resteeped the tea leaves from my third attempt (initial steep of 90 seconds) and found that the flavours were still quite good. It has a robust malty flavour from the black tea base, which coupled with the bergamot is enjoyable. I quite enjoy Earl Grey on a regular basis, so this does resteep nicely. The packaging suggests that the tea leaves can be reused up to three more times. I found by the third resteep (fourth steep overall at 3.5 minutes), the bergamot is no where to be found although the black tea base is still going strong. The bergamot flavouring was still noticeable in the second resteep (third steep overall).


My Overall Impression


I liked The Virginia Tea Company’s Earl Grey. I do think that the recommend steep times are a little long for this Earl Grey, and would highly recommend starting at 90 seconds for the initial step. This tea does well with being modified, so if you do over steep it like I did with your first steep the tea can still be saved. A little bit of sugar and milk goes a long way to keeping your tea tasty. It’s not often that I come across an Earl Grey that can be resteeped more than once, usually because the bergamot flavouring is completely gone with the initial steep – so that was certainly a nice touch! I really like that The Virginia Tea Company offers you the option of buying the tea with or without the accessories – if you’re buying it for a gift for someone who’s new to loose leaf tea, the accessories option would be a great idea that way they’re not struggling to figure out how to keep the tea leaves out of their mouth.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.