Friday, November 5, 2010

Your Average, Rich Black Tea: Devonshire English Breakfast Satisfies With Limited Flavor!

The Good: Caffeinated, Tastes good, Environmentally responsible packaging
The Bad: Tea flavored.
The Basics: Almost perfect by default of being good tasting, though flavorless beyond the taste of tea, Devonshire English Breakfast is a delicious, basic black tea.

When I neared the end of my inventory of Celestial Seasonings teas, I was discovering there were some flavors of my favorite tea company's tea that I have not had before and might not even have known about. The one that surprised me it took so long for me to try was Devonshire English Breakfast.

The reason, in part, for my not trying Devonshire English Breakfast tea until I have almost exhausted the complete inventory of Celestial Seasonings teas no doubt has to do with this being an adjective tea. I tend not to like trying to review teas with names which tell the consumer anything about the taste by the name; it's a lot of pressure on me as a reviewer to describe the taste and when there is little or no comparison available for me, it's something I don't enjoy doing. If Celestial Seasonings's Victorian Earl Grey is the ultimate tea, Devonshire English Breakfast may well be the gold standard for unflavored black teas. I prefer the Victorian Earl Grey, but if I have to have an unflavored black tea, Devonshire English Breakfast may be the best way to go. This ought to be the standard for teas (as opposed to Lipton tea!).


Devonshire English Breakfast is a Black Tea from Celestial Seasonings. This black tea is 100% natural and has caffeine because the base is black tea. It is a very simple tea in every way, though this is richer than most English Breakfast teas I have tried in that its taste is forthright and bold on the tongue, never watery tasting.

Devonshire English Breakfast comes in Celestial Seasonings's standard stringless tea bags, which are paired together with easy to separate perforations that allow one to separate the tea bags. When I make pots of tea, I tend to use two bags and leave them connected. A box of Devonshire English Breakfast comes with ten pairs (20 individual) of tea bags.

Ease Of Preparation

Devonshire English Breakfast is like a standard black tea as far as the preparation goes. A single tea bag will make the standard 8 oz. coffee mug worth of tea. The tea bag could be reused and make a second cup of Devonshire English Breakfast and this is a fairly good flavor for that. The second cup or pot, comes out about three-quarters as strong as the first, but provided the first steeping was not more than the recommended upper recommended steeping time of five minutes, this is pretty good. I tend to make my tea using a 32 oz. steeping teapot and that works well for both a first and second steeping.

To prepare Devonshire English Breakfast tea, bring a pot of water to a boil and pour it over the tea bags. This tea takes three to five minutes to steep and when the water is actually boiling, it comes out strong by the four minute point without needing any additional time. After five minutes, though, the flavor does not concentrate any more so there is no benefit to letting it steep longer than that.


Devonshire English Breakfast Tea is a strong black tea and when it is brewed it smells like the essence of black tea. The steam opens the nostrils with a leafy scent that has the familiar, woody aroma of black tea leaves. My wife says it smells like spring rain and I think that is fitting.

Hot, Devonshire English Breakfast is bold, but bland. It tastes like black tea and it has no aftertaste. As a result, it is strong, washes over the tongue with a taste I cannot analogize to anything that sounds good. What it tastes like, which might sound unappetizing but is actually quite good, is autumn water. In fact, this is the best comparison I've got. If one has ever tripped (or swam) into a pond where dry leaves have been slowly rotting or had such water splashed into the mouth, this is what Devonshire English Breakfast tastes like. It is a very earthy taste, with a touch of sour at the end.

As the tea begins to cool, it takes on a slightly dry aftertaste, but mostly, this is just a tea flavored tea. It is strong, but the flavor is what the tea is: black tea. With sugar Devonshire English Breakfast becomes sweeter, but still has a very basic tea flavor to it. With milk, the tea holds its own and just becomes a slightly creamier beverage.


This tea is all-natural like most of Celestial Seasonings's teas and this is one of the most simple teas on the market. The lone ingredient is black tea and, as such, it is unsurprising it is such a flavorless tea! There is nothing unpronouncable in this tea and it is 100% natural. It is noted that this tea is gluten-free and is Kosher as well.

In terms of nutrition, like most teas, Devonshire English Breakfast is not something you want to try to live on. An 8 oz. mug of this tea provides nothing of nutritional value to the drinker; there are no calories (save what one adds from sugar or milk), no fat, sodium, nor protein. This tea also has caffeine, approximately 60 mg, which is a little more than cola and a little less than drip coffee.


Devonshire English Breakfast tea is very easy to clean up after - the tea bags may be disposed in the garbage, or composted if you have a good garden and/or compost pile. The tea itself is a very dark tea and will stain light fabrics if left on them. Devonshire English Breakfast tea does not stain mugs or tea pots or leave any offensive odors that might make one want to wash it away quickly.


One has to remember that tea is essentially a brewed drink made from dried leaves, so being strong and earthy is not unappealing for the beverage, it is what one ought to expect of it. So, it might seem strange that I might praise something whose taste is likened to pond water, but the truth is, that is the basic taste of tea and this tea does it richly and well. As such, this should be considered the ultimate baseline for black tea and it is now a welcome addition to my tea chest!

For other teas by Celestial Seasonings, please check out my reviews of:
Canadian Vanilla Maple
Saphara White Tea with Schinzara
Saphara Premier Estate Assam


For other tea and beverage reviews, please visit my index page for an organized list!

© 2010, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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