A Tea-Lover’s Guide to the Best Tea Brands in the World

·19 min read

Few beverages are as comforting and versatile as a nice cup of tea. Just think about it: What warms you up on a chilly day? What wakes you up in the morning? What helps you relax after a long day? What soothes your stomach during a tummy ache? Tea, tea, tea and tea! While coffee may win out when it comes to giving you a daily boost of energy and focus, a cup of tea delivers an unparalleled dose of relaxation in every cup.

Of course, the best tea is good for more than just relaxing. The different leaves and blends available can be used for everything from relieving anxiety to settling an unhappy stomach. Green tea is one of the world’s leading healthy beverages as it delivers a wealth of benefits, including lowering cholesterol and preventing bad breath. Meanwhile, black tea is full of antioxidants and contains more caffeine than green tea, making it great for an early morning energy boost.

If you don’t know your oolongs from your chais, that’s okay — there’s a lot of variety out there when it comes to teas. That’s why we’re giving a primer on the best tea brands, broken down by type. Talk about spilling the tea!

BLACK TEA

best black teas
best black teas

If tea were to have a popularity contest, black tea would be the winner. Black teas tend to be bolder since they have more tannins. If that word sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve probably heard it used to describe red wine — the compound delivers a dry sensation in your mouth. Black tea has a longer oxidation process than most of its peers, during which the leaves are rolled or cut up to release the natural oils, then roasted at high heat to stop oxidation and dry them. Black tea is best served with milk or lemon.

Popular black teas include:

  • Assam: Hailing from India, it’s often used as a base in chai tea and used in breakfast blends.

  • Ceylon: Grown in Sri Lanka, it can have a range of flavors depending on where it’s produced, from citrus to chocolate. On the spicy side, it’s typically the main leaf in Earl Grey and popular in fruity blends.

  • Earl Grey: This popular type of tea actually isn’t a variety — it’s essentially Ceylon tea with bergamot added to give it its signature distinct flavor.

  • Darjeeling: There are three different growing seasons of Darjeeling in India and each has a unique flavor, from floral to strong to sweet.

  • Chai: The popular blend of black teas is enhanced with different spices.

  • English breakfast: The mix of black teas has a strong kick to it.

GREEN TEA

best green tea
best green tea

Native to Asia, this varietal takes second place in the tea popularity content. Made with a smaller leaf, green tea is unoxidized. Since it doesn’t go through the oxidation process, it retains its green color. Green teas tend to be sweeter and more delicate than black teas but can range depending on how the tea was processed.

Popular green teas include:

  • Matcha: Literally translated to “powdered tea,” this is a specially grown and processed type of green tea that is finely ground into a powder.

  • Sencha: Super popular in Japan, the leaves are steamed before drying to give its signature grassy flavor.

  • Bancha: Though it’s processed the same way as sencha, it is harvested later in the season, delivering its sweet yet earthy taste.

  • Chun mee: Veering on the sour side, it has a strong aftertaste.

  • Hojicha: This is as close to coffee as tea gets. Its hue is more red and brown than green, and it has a nutty flavor with hints of caramel.

OOLONG TEA

best oolong tea
best oolong tea

A blend of black and green tea, oolongs originate from China and has the flavor profile of both with a full body. The leaves are semi-fermented and then go through a partial oxidation process prior to being roasted, so their type of prep allows for a wide array of flavor, from floral to fruity to spicy to earthy and beyond. When they’re lightly oxidized, they taste closer to a green tea, while longer oxidation brings out a stronger flavor.

Popular oolong teas include:

  • Tieguanyin: Especially common in the Far East, it’s sweet and floral.

  • Wuyi: Its dark hue and smoky flavor are courtesy of its long roast, which is sometimes as much as 30 hours.

WHITE TEA

best white teas
best white teas

White teas have the least processing of the bunch since they aren’t oxidized or roasted, making them the sweetest and lightest variety. You can typically expect a white tea to be delicate and floral, and sometimes nutty.

Popular white teas include:

  • Silver Needle (Bai Hao Yinzhen): Typically from the Fujian and Yunnan provinces of China, it’s made exclusively from silver-colored buds, which is where it gets its name. It has a golden color and sweet yet rich flavor with a floral scent when brewed.

  • White Peony (Bai Mu Dan): Made from a blend of young tea buds and leaves, it’s pale green in color, has a full flavor and hints of florals and nuts.

  • Tribute Eyebrow (Gong Mei): Grown in China’s provinces of Guangxi and Fujian, it has a bold, fruity flavor similar to oolong tea.

  • Long Life Eyebrow (Shou Mei): Mostly grown in China’s Guangxi and Fujian provinces, it is harvested later than White Peony and Silver Needle white teas, giving it a darker flavor and color.

HERBAL TEA

herbal tea, best tea brands
herbal tea, best tea brands

Herbal teas are excellent for tea drinkers who prefer to avoid caffeine, as you can get a lot of flavor without the jitters. Herbal teas are typically flavored with fruits, vegetables, herbs (duh) and other flavors that don’t come with caffeine. Many of them are a mix of a multitude of flavors, and can be drunk all day in large amounts without the concern for a caffeine crash in the afternoon.

Popular herbal teas include:

  • Chamomile Tea: Known for its calming effects, chamomile tea has been studied as a helpful sleep aid in humans and may have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects as well.

  • Peppermint Tea: Peppermint tea is one of the most commonly drunk herbal teas in the world, and may help support the digestive tract when consumed strategically.

  • Ginger Tea: Ginger tea is known for its spicy, full flavor and powerful antioxidant properties. It may help relieve symptoms of nausea, especially among first trimester pregnant women, and may also help relieve aches and pains in the body.

PU-ERH TEA

best pu-erh tea
best pu-erh tea

Native to the Yunnan province in China, this is a fermented tea that was traditionally used as a medicine in Asia. Also known as pu‘er, its flavor profile is earthy and rich.

Popular pu-erh teas include:

  • Pu-erh green: The uncooked tea is only processed lightly before fermentation, giving it a raw, earthy flavor.

  • Pu-erh black: Expect to sip a smoky and smooth tea.

To get you excited for your next tea break, we’ve put together a list of the best teas for all occasions. Take a scroll through and find the tea which best speaks to your tea-drinking needs.

1. Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Herbal Tea

BEST SLEEP-INDUCING TEA

As one of the most popular bedtime teas, Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra Wellness Tea is a great choice if you struggle to fall asleep at night. The comforting tea is made from a blend of chamomile, spearmint and other herbs. Valerian root is also added to the mix to induce natural, sleepy feelings. Altogether, this tea is like a hug in a mug.

Celestial seasonings sleepytime tea, best tea brands
Celestial seasonings sleepytime tea, best tea brands


Buy: Celestial Seasonings Herbal Sleepytime Tea $24.24

2. Pukka Supreme Matcha Green

BEST GREEN TEA

If you didn’t already know, green tea is full of health benefits. From lowering your cancer risk to aiding in weight loss, there’s not much these little tea leaves can’t help you with. If you’re not already enjoying at least one cup a day of this antioxidant-filled tea, it’s time to invest in this Pukka Supreme Matcha Green Tea. It’s made with organic whole leaf green tea leaves to produce a truly fine matcha powder you’re sure to love. The tea leaves are also ethically sourced and certified by Fair for Life.

best tea pukka green
best tea pukka green


Buy: Pukka Supreme Matcha Green $15.24

3. Lipton Tea Bags

BEST VALUE

Lipton Tea was probably the very first black tea you ever tried. It remains one of the top teas worldwide thanks to its price-to-quality ratio. Each leaf inside these Lipton Tea Bags has been carefully selected to ensure its natural tea taste and the pleasing aromas drinkers have come to expect. This popular tea is also 100% natural, Rainforest Alliance-certified and ideal for use in hot or cold beverages. And, if you’re partial to Southern-style sweet tea, you can’t do better than Lipton. On Amazon, you can get more than 600 individual tea bags for under $20.

Lipton tea bags, best tea brands
Lipton tea bags, best tea brands


Buy: Lipton Tea Bags $18.25

4. Numi Organic Tea Golden Chai

BEST CHAI

Brew these bags right and you’ll see there’s no need to haul yourself to a coffee shop to get quality chai. This Fair Trade-certified organic blend combines Assam black tea with organic cinnamon cardamom, anise and ginger for a traditional Indian masala chai tea. Full-bodied and cozy, it has a medium level of caffeine for an extra kick.

Numi Organic Tea Golden Chai
Numi Organic Tea Golden Chai


Buy: Numi Organic Tea Golden Chai $5.89

5. Dilmah Premium Single Origin 100% Pure Ceylon Tea

BEST CEYLON

Grown in Sri Lanka, Ceylon tea is found in a variety of black tea blends, such as Earl Grey. You can certainly use the Dilmah Premium Single Origin 100% Pure Ceylon Tea to make your own blends at home, but its slightly peppery flavor makes it a pleasure to drink pure as well. When shopping for Ceylon, be sure to check out the Dilmah brand, which remains one of the largest and most popular after several decades. That’s because they use a traditional method of farming and tea making to ensure the freshest tea finds its way into every single cup.

best tea dilmah premium
best tea dilmah premium


Buy: Dilmah Premium Single Origin 100% Pure Ceylon Tea $9.50

6. Twinings Tea Pure White Fujian Chinese

BEST WHITE TEA

Delicate and floral, white teas are not oxidized or roasted, giving them a sweeter and lighter profile than most other types of tea. White tea is also made only from the choicest of unopened tea buds and young tips, meaning it’s usually quite a bit more expensive than a box of black or green tea. But, the price is totally worth it if you pick up a pack of this Twinings Tea Pure White Fujian Chinese. Grown in China’s Fujian Province, this tea only needs to be steeped for two minutes to produce its earthy yellow hue and a beverage you’re sure to enjoy.

best tea twinnings
best tea twinnings


Buy: Twinings of London “Fujian Chinese Pure White Tea” : Box of 20 Tea Bags $5.99

7. Southern Breeze Cold Brew Blackberry Sweet Tea

BEST FOR ICED TEA

This pre-sweetened black tea from Southern Breeze is made to be brewed cold, and is perfect if you want a refreshing, caffeinated beverage in the summertime. It brews in cold water and requires no heat whatsoever. It contains no calories, carbs or sugar and can be ready in five minutes or less.

southern breeze cold brew tea, best tea brands
southern breeze cold brew tea, best tea brands


Buy: Southern Breeze Cold Brew Sweet Tea $15.80 (orig. $21.28) 26% OFF

8. Harney and Sons Tea Hot Cinnamon Spice

BEST BLACK TEA

For decades, Harney and Sons have been producing some of the finest teas in the world, and their line of English tea blends, which were created in partnership with the Historic Royal Palaces, is no exception. In particular, this Hot Cinnamon Spice tea has proved to be one of the company’s most popular. Created in 1980, the blend contains Chinese black tea leaves, sweet clove, cinnamon bark and orange peel. The resulting brew is highly aromatic, naturally sweet and spicy on the palate.

best tea harney and sons cinnamon
best tea harney and sons cinnamon


Buy: Harney and Sons Tea Hot Cinnamon Spice $11.99

9. Tiesta Tea Lavender Chamomile

BEST CHAMOMILE

The Tiesta Tea Lavender Chamomile herbal tea is relaxation in a cup. This loose leaf tea features a blend of lavender to put you in a stress-free state and chamomile to help you feel sleepy. The flowery brew can be enjoyed hot or iced and can be prepared without sweeteners or with a dollop of honey for an indulgent cuppa.

best tea lavender tiesta
best tea lavender tiesta


Buy: Tiesta Tea Lavender Chamomile $4.99

10. Jinglong Tea Factory Pu-erh Tea

BEST PU-ERH

If you’ve never tried pu-erh tea before, you’re in for a shock. This tea is actually fermented in bricks or discs for many years, giving it a very earthy aroma that you might find off-putting at first. However, the taste is divine, and the tea is known to help with digestive issues, too. In fact, the Chinese and the Taiwanese proudly sell pu-erh tea like fine wine in specialty shops. Older teas are displayed behind glass cases and can be very expensive. But, you can now enjoy this magical tea at home with the Jinglong Tea Factory Pu-erh Tea. You’ll get several discs of tea in a bamboo tube. Simply break off a piece of the disc and brew it like a loose leaf tea. In total, this pack of tea makes 80 cups.

best tea jinglong tea factory
best tea jinglong tea factory


Buy: Jinglong Tea Factory Pu-erh Tea $14.99

11. FGO Store Organic Oolong Tea Bags

BEST OOLONG

For a good oolong tea, look no further than the FGO Store Organic Oolong Tea Bags. The USDA Organic certified tea is grown in China and then shipped to California where it is placed inside hemp fiber paper tea bags. These bags are free of dyes, glue and bleach, ensuring your cup of tea makes the least impact on the environment and keeps you healthy at the same time. Here’s a tip: a good oolong tea can be brewed several times. It will result in a different flavor profile each time, so don’t throw away your tea bag after the first use. Keep brewing with it until you no longer enjoy the taste.

best tea organic oolong tea
best tea organic oolong tea


Buy: FGO Store Organic Oolong Tea Bags $14.99

12. Bigelow Lemon Ginger Plus Probiotics Herbal Tea

BEST FOR DIGESTION

This Bigelow Lemon Ginger Plus Probiotics Herbal Tea contains a mix of lemon and ginger, making it a great choice for anyone looking to support their immune system and digestion. These tea bags are also free from caffeine and come individually wrapped for a fresher experience and easier storage options. In addition, each of these all-natural tea bags is 100% biodegradable.

best tea bigelow lemon ginger
best tea bigelow lemon ginger


Buy: Bigelow Lemon Ginger Plus Probiotics Herbal Tea $16.02

13. Yogi Tea DeTox Tea

BEST DETOX

Because tea and herbal infusions are such powerful substances full of natural antioxidants and vitamins, it can be very helpful if you’re trying to detoxify your body. The Yogi Tea DeTox Tea is designed to do just that. It includes a traditional Ayurvedic spice blend of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and pepper known as “trikatu.” This blend has been used for centuries to flush toxins out of the body. In addition, Yogi Tea has also added dandelion and burdock to support healthy cleansing of your digestive system. The resulting herbal infusion is caffeine-free, vegan and kosher with zero sweeteners.

best tea yogi tea
best tea yogi tea


Buy: Yogi Tea DeTox Tea $24.92

14. Tetley Premium Decaffeinated Black Tea

BEST DECAF

The British know their way around a cup of tea. In fact, the country drinks about 60 billion cups of tea a year. And, Tetley Premium Black Tea stands firmly among the most popular brands in the UK. While you could buy normal Tetley tea, we’re partial to their decaf version, purely because finding a decaf black tea can be hard to do. The tea itself is robust and slightly on the bitter side. You may only need to steep the bag for a minute to arrive at a tea strong enough to tickle your tastebuds. If you really want to drink it like the British, add a splash of milk once you’ve removed the tea bag.

best tea tetley premium
best tea tetley premium


Buy: Tetley Premium Decaffeinated Black Tea $8.94

15. Teabloom Flowering Tea

BEST FOR GIFTING

Everyone knows someone who absolutely loves tea. And this Teabloom Flowering Tea is a great gift idea for them, or for yourself, as the set includes 12 different tea varieties for a range of options every time you need a cup of the good stuff. Each flowering tea comes individually wrapped to preserve its freshness and to ensure your cup is full of the flower’s delightful aromas after steeping. Plus, the tea comes in a beautiful canister which makes it gift-ready on arrival.

best tea blooming
best tea blooming


Buy: Teabloom Flowering Tea $24.95

16. Palais des Thes Herbal Blends

BEST TEA BLEND

What’s great about tea blends is that they allow you to take the best part of several different herbs to create a delicious new brew. This Palais des Thés herbal blends are no exception. There are eight different blends to choose from, depending on what you’re looking for in your cup. Try the The des Lords for an intense bergamot flavor or the The du Hammam for a fruit-filled option. Each blend also comes in its own attractive, color-coded tin, making these teas a great gift idea for tea-loving friends.

best tea palais des thes
best tea palais des thes


Buy: Palais des Thes Herbal Blends $21.00

17. Dona Chai Tea & Turmeric Concentrate

BEST CONCENTRATE

If you’ve ever tried recreating a delicious cup of chai at home, you’ll already know the process isn’t as simple as it seems. However, with this Dona Chai Tea & Turmeric Concentrate in your tea arsenal, the hard part has been removed. Simply add equal parts of milk and concentrate to enjoy a ginger, vanilla bean and ground cinnamon-containing beverage. You’re not likely to forget this delicious tea latte anytime soon.

best tea dona chai
best tea dona chai


Buy: Dona Chai Tea & Turmeric Concentrate $26.00

18. Twinings Tea Bags Sampler

BEST VARIETY

This tea sampler from Twinnings comes with 48 (yes, 48!) different kinds of tea inside, so if you’re unsure of your favorite flavor this should help clear it up. Flavors including everything from your standards like Natural Green Tea and Earl Grey to Chai Spiced Apple, Orange & Cinnamon Spice and Darjeeling as well. This sampler pack would make a great gift for a college student to stock their dorm room, or a tea newbie looking to try as many flavors as possible.

Twinings tea sampler, best tea brands
Twinings tea sampler, best tea brands


Buy: Twinings Tea Bag Sampler $19.99

19. Maisson Boissier Parisian French Loose Tea

BEST LOOSE LEAF TEA

This Maisson Boissier Parisian French Loose Tea comes in two different varieties: black and green. Each of these loose leaf teas is packaged in a beautiful pink tin which is worthy of sitting pride of place in your kitchen. In the green tea version of this tea, you’ll find gorgeous flowers in the blend, which give this tea delightful fruit, rose and blueberry aromas. Meanwhile, the black loose leaf can be compared to a luxurious hot chocolate with hints of vanilla. Whatever tea you choose, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed.

best tea loose leaf english
best tea loose leaf english


Buy: Maisson Boissier Parisian French Loose Tea $30.00

20. Vahdam Teas Turmeric Tea Tales

BEST SPLURGE

If you don’t trust us that the Vahdam Teas Turmeric Tea Tales is worth your time and money, maybe Oprah can convince you. The attractive was named as one of Oprah’s Favorite Things 2019 and has rave reviews from everyone’s favorite tea-loving TV host. The set includes two different tea varieties, including ginger masala chai and Maharani chai-spiced oolong tea. The loose-leaf tea set also comes presented in a beautiful box, making it a great gift idea for tea-loving friends and family.

ON SALE!
Vahdam Teas Turmeric Tea Tales
Vahdam Teas Turmeric Tea Tales


Buy: Vahdam Teas Turmeric Tea Tales $29.99

21. Pure Leaf Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder

BEST TEA POWDER

Pure Leaf is best known for their widely available bottled iced teas, but they also make tea products that allow you to brew at home. This Matcha powder from Pure Leaf is a great option for cost-conscious consumers who also want a high-quality product. The finely ground matcha is 100% organic, and the bag has enough powder for up to 100 servings. The tea comes in an easy to open and resealable kraft bag.

best tea brands
best tea brands


Buy: Pure Leaf Matcha Green Powder $19.32

22. Stash Tea Bags Sampler Assortment Box

BEST SAMPLER

If you love sampling new teas, this set from Stash is worth considering. There are 52 teas in total and 29 different flavors, including a mix of herbal, black and green teas. Classics like Earl Grey and English Breakfast are included, along with more unique options like Acai Berry and Mango Passionfruit.

best tea brands
best tea brands


Buy: Stash Tea Bags Sampler $19.99

23. Taylors of Harrogate Tea Variety Box, 48 Count

BEST CLASSICS

Taylors of Harrogate is a reputed English tea brand with a history dating back to the late 1800s, and this gift set is a great option for any tea lover. The flavors are pretty classic — in addition to distinctly British options like English Breakfast and Earl Grey, flavors like Green Tea with Jasmine and Peppermint are included.

best tea brands
best tea brands


Buy: Taylors Classic Tea Variety Box $11.49

24. Honest Tea Organic Fair Trade Just Black Tea

BEST ICED TEA

Making iced tea at home is easy enough, but sometimes you don’t want to wait for your tea to cold brew or cool down. In that case, you might enjoy keeping a few bottles of Honest Tea around. They’re organic and Fair Trade certified. 12 bottles of unsweetened black tea are included in this listing.

best tea brands
best tea brands


Buy: Honest Tea Iced Tea $20.99

25. Ahmad Tea 25 Teabag Caddy Gift Tin

MOST BRITISH

If it wasn’t clear that Ahmad Tea is an English tea brand, perhaps the red phonebox-inspired tin will tip you off. The phonebox design also makes this a better gift than the standard cardboard tea boxes — they’ll want to hold onto the tin long after the tea is gone. The tin contains 25 bags of English Breakfast.

best tea brands
best tea brands


Buy: Ahmad English Breakfast Tea $9.07

26. China Mist Passion Fruit Black Iced Tea Bags

BEST TROPICAL FLAVOR

This Passion Black Fruit Tea flavor from China Mist is naturally sweet, and has a fruit-forward flavor with a clean and crisp finish. It’s formulated for a rich brew every time, and each tea bag produces up to a half gallon of wonderfully brewed tea, making it an economical purchase as well.

china mist passion fruit black tea
china mist passion fruit black tea


Buy: China Mist Passion Fruit Black Iced Tea Bags $5.22

27. Bigelow Seasonal Flavor 6-Pack Variety Pack

BEST SEASONAL PICK

Who doesn’t love a nice seasonal tea flavor? Gingerbread? Peppermint Bark? Pumpkin Spice? They’re all winners in our minds, and this seasonal variety pack from Bigelow is perfect for stocking up before the holidays. It’s got all your favorite seasonal tea flavors for the fall/winter and holiday season, and there are teas for morning, noon and night as well.

Bigelow seasonal flavor variety pack, best tea brands
Bigelow seasonal flavor variety pack, best tea brands


Buy: Bigelow Seasonal 6-Flavor Variety Pack $20.66

28. Tea Drops Sweetened Loose Leaf Sampler

BEST NOVELTY

This adorable set from Tea Drops comes in a decorative wooden box and includes eight servings of loose leaf tea. “Loose leaf” isn’t exactly right, though they aren’t in tea bags, either. Instead, the tea drops are packed into star and heart-shaped pucks using pressure and sugar. Simply put hot water, add one of the drops, stir, and you’ve got tea.

best tea brands
best tea brands


Buy: Tea Drops $15.99

More from SPY

Click here to read the full article.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting