The 20 Best Tea Brands to Cozy up with This Year
Whether you have a passion for a well-brewed pot of the stuff or want a break from your coffee addiction (hello, afternoon eye twitch), there’s no excuse for drinking subpar tea. In fact, a mug of tea that’s too weak, too bitter or otherwise uninspired is a worse fate than, well, drinking hot water with a bad aftertaste. Fear not, friends—just drink in our roundup of the 20 best tea brands and you’ll never suffer such a hot beverage bummer again.
Best Green Tea Brands
1. The Republic of Tea
The Republic of Tea has been crafting artisanal tea blends since 1992, when it first started sourcing leaves and herbs from the finest tea gardens around the globe. The smell-the-roses philosophy behind the company (“sip by sip, rather than gulp by gulp”) pairs perfectly with a steaming cup of tea. But there’s more to this brand than pretty packaging (though the sleek tins are quite nice) and tasty tea: The Republic of Tea, a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership, boasts a business model that supports positive social and environmental change, so drinking this tea will make you feel good in more ways than one. As for the beverage menu, this brand has top-notch blends in every category, but their green teas are especially exciting. If you’re new to green tea, their Honey Ginseng blend is an excellent introduction, since it’s subtly sweet and pleasantly mild.
Yogi, an Oregon-based company with international success, has been using tea leaves and herbs to create healing elixirs for the past 30 years, creating blends inspired by Ayurvedic principles. Their high quality botanicals and spices are ethically sourced, many of them coming from India and South Asia, where Yogi makes an effort to better the local communities while supporting sustainable practices. The end result? A tasty and incredibly successful line of teas you can readily find at the grocery store. But listen up, green tea lovers: One of the best-selling Yogi teas is their Super Antioxidant green tea, a bolder blend with notes of lemongrass and licorice described by its fans as downright delicious (and healthy to boot).
If sustainability is priority one in your book, look no further than FGOrganics, or FGO for short. The brand prides itself in delivering quality organic teas, superfoods and edible flowers to consumers at a fair price. The teas are also packaged in eco-conscious tea bags made from abacá hemp fiber paper, which is free from dyes, adhesives, glue and chlorine bleach, not to mention staples and strings. All their products are certified USDA organic and free of GMOs, but their energizing green tea is revered as the best of the bunch. It's sourced from the tea provinces of China, and you'll be on a one-way flight there with your first sip.
4. Jade Leaf Matcha
The Jade Leaf Matcha company specializes in one thing—namely, the Japanese green tea powder known as matcha—and their narrow focus has paid off in the form of high praise. The brand is the brainchild of two enthusiastic matcha drinkers who were fed up with the poor quality products available stateside and took it upon themselves to do something better. All of Jade Leaf Matcha’s goods are produced by a specific network of family-run farms—the Kizuna tea collective—that use methods both new and old to cultivate the tastiest and most nutritious matcha leaves. Both the Kizuna collective and the Jade Leaf Matcha brand have done something very right, as their original matcha product has earned tens of thousands of five-star reviews from matcha lovers who swear by its superior flavor and energizing effects.
Best Black Tea Brands
5. Harney & Sons
This East Coast tea brand is, as the name suggests, a family affair. The Harneys are passionate about tea, and it shows in the high quality fair trade blends they offer, which feature both classic and exotic flavor profiles. For three generations, the Harneys have been producing, blending and bagging artisanal teas that make connoisseurs of the stuff swoon. While the Harney & Sons catalog boasts plenty of exciting options, fans of the brand say their Hot Cinnamon Spice black tea is not to be missed. Boldly flavored black tea harmonizes with a blend of cinnamon, cloves and orange peel to produce a warming bev with lots of personality. (Tip: Sip on this whenever you’re tempted to get cozy with a mug of mulled wine but could do without the headache.)
Founded by Indian tea enthusiast Bala Sarda, VAHDAM has cut out the middlemen to bring tea lovers mug after mug of the finest ingredients the country’s renowned tea gardens have to offer. It’s an ethical business model that significantly benefits the farmers themselves, who far too often work for unfair wages. The VADHAM blends are inspired by native wellness rituals and, since they are all composed solely of leaves and herbs that were hand-picked in India, the result is quality you can taste. Don’t take our word for it, though: Just try their Earl Grey blend, a fresh take on a classic that combines the superior flavor of long leaf black tea with the heavenly citrus aroma of premium bergamot oil for a balanced drink that’s hard to resist.
Bigelow tea has been around for decades and remains a family-owned company. Over the years, they became a Certified B Corporation, meaning they meet high standards of environmental and social transparency and accountability. Each batch of tea passes 26 quality check points before hitting the store shelf, and all 120+ varieties of their tea come individually wrapped in foil pouches, so they retain their flavor, freshness and aroma as they wait in your pantry to be used. There's a reason Constant Comment, a blend of black tea, orange rinds and sweet spices, has so many rave reviews. It's Bigelow's most secret recipe of the ever-growing lot. Even today, the recipe remains unchanged from the 1945 original, and it's exclusively made by members of the family, so you're guaranteed a deliciously special cuppa every time.
Twinings of London has been producing high-quality tea for over 300 years, so it’s safe to say that this tremendously popular English tea company knows what it’s doing. Teas discerningly sourced from Kenya, Malawi and Assam give Twinings’ classic black teas a full-bodied flavor, while ingredients from other regions impart a softer taste for a cup of the good stuff that’s both balanced and complex. You can find Twinings teas, well, pretty much everywhere and, despite their large-scale operation, the company is committed to ethical practices when it comes to sourcing ingredients (so you can drink any blend in good conscience). Not sure which flavor to pick? You can’t go wrong with the Queen’s tea of choice: Twinings classic English Breakfast tea is royally good.
Best Herbal Tea Brands
The Iraq-born, Oakland-based sibling duo behind Numi united as business partners with a shared desire to create positive change and, of course, a mutual love of tea. Today, Ahmed Rahim and Reem Hassani advance humanitarian causes through their company and maintain high ethical standards in the production of their gourmet tea blends. In tea, the bigger the leaf, the better the quality—and Numi uses only the fullest tea leaves (alongside rare and exotic ingredients) to achieve blends that are noticeably richer, smoother and more refined than what you get from a run-of-the-mill alternative. Fans of the brand rave about their selection of herbal teas, in particular. Case in point, Numi’s Moroccan Mint: A lively and refreshing tea with the mild sweetness of young spearmint and an aroma that will wake you up without the help of caffeine.
10. Traditional Medicinals
The driving forces behind Traditional Medicinals business practices are “sustainability, ingredient purity and social and environmental activism,” but you might know them better for their premium line of wellness-centric teas. Traditional Medicinals was founded in 1974 by Rosemary Gladstar, a third-generation herbalist, educator and author on the subject of herbal studies, and Drake Sadler. Although the couple is no longer active in the company, the brand has stayed true to its original vision of bringing natural, herbal remedies to consumers. As such, this company remains a favorite among tea lovers in search of quality herbal blends. Traditional Medicinals has a diverse line of teas with a loyal following, but word on the street is that sipping a cup of their chamomile and lavender blend is a truly divine way to relax (and maybe even drift off).
Tazo teas are non-GMO, and the brand has turned its focus to environmentalism in recent years with Tazo Tree Corps. In collaboration with American Forests, Tazo launched this tree-planting workforce to help reforest BIPOC communities in five major cities that have been suffering disproportionately from climate change. They have a ton of creative herbal teas available (we're talking Wild Apple Sarsaparilla, Prickly Pear Cactus, Glazed Lemon Loaf and more), but the Passion variety is no doubt the most popular. (We're betting that has something to do with Starbucks using Tazo brand teas in their stores once upon a time.) This herbal blend is bright with mouth-puckering hibiscus, orange peel, rose hip and passion fruit, creating a tropical-inspired tea for the books.
Teeccino only makes herbal coffee and tea—and they do it well. It was founded in 1993 by Caroline MacDougall, an award-winning tea designer with the goal to create a line of robustly flavored alternatives that satisfy the cravings of tea and coffee lovers alike. Teeccino has succeeded at its original mission with an array of deliciously rich herbal teas, all of which boast health benefits, thanks to the blend of organic herbs, fruits and nuts they feature. You might be skeptical about any tea that claims to taste like coffee, but trust us: Teeccino’s Dandelion Coconut tea’s creamy, chocolaty and slightly bitter profile will make a believer out of you.
Best Luxe Tea Brands
13. TWG Tea
TWG is a luxury Singaporean teahouse chain, but its celeb-approved namesake brand has garnered buzz around the globe. TWG, with its extensive line of single-estate, exclusive tea blends, is the epitome of luxe. What you get for your money is more than just seductive and classy-looking packaging, though: TWG teas are widely recognized for their fine harvest and superior flavor. Fans of the brand rave over just about every blend they offer, so if you’re curious, we suggest you treat yourself (or some other tea-lover in your life) to one of their fancier selections, like this crème caramel red tea from South Africa that’s bursting with French spices.
14. Pukka Herbs
Pukka is a purveyor of top-tier organic teas, supplements and lattes, all of which are blended by herbal experts and nutritionists. Their mission is based on four ancient Ayurvedic principles: truth, respect, purity and effort. So, it's no surprise that the brand prioritizes organic farming, fair trade, conservation and sustainably sourced ingredients. (They also donate 1 percent of their revenue to environmental and social causes and went carbon neutral in 2019.) Treat yourself to this 45-sachet assortment of five invigorating flavors: Elderberry & Echinacea; Lemon, Ginger and Manuka Honey; Turmeric Gold; Three Ginger, and Blackcurrant Beauty. They each have their own special properties, from boosting the immune system to energizing the body.
15. Tea Forte
Tea Forte prides itself on offering hand-crafted artisanal teas, which are sourced directly from growers and blended using the finest and rarest ingredients around. (According to their website, Tea Forte ingredients “represent less than one percent of the teas available worldwide.”) These high-end tea purveyors design each delicate, unique flavor with unmatched artistry, and their signature pyramid infusers promise the perfect brew (and an elegant aesthetic to boot). Yes, the pleasure of drinking an ultra-luxe cup of tea will cost you a pretty penny—but if you’re looking for a decadent drinking experience, a Tea Forte tasting collection will not disappoint.
Best White Tea Brands
16. Smith Teamaker
Smith Teamaker is a Portland-based brand founded by Steven Smith, a teamaster too humble to accept the title (though fans will tell you that you can taste it in every sip of his stuff). Creativity is at the heart of the Smith Teamaker philosophy, which yields small-batch blends, all of which begin with a moment of inspiration and undergo rigorous tasting before they make their way to your mug. In other words, the mixologist-in-chief does not cut any corners when it comes to crafting an excellent tea. Smith Teamaker’s White Petal tea is a perfect expression of the brand’s devotion to quality: This antioxidant-rich blend of Chinese full-leaf white tea and flower petals is silky, soft and fragrant. Basically, it tastes like a new romance.
17. Taylors of Harrogate
Taylors of Harrogate is a Yorkshire-based family business that produces premium coffees and specialty teas alike. When it comes to the latter, the Taylors of Harrogate specialty is in building strong relationships with top-notch farms and cooperatives in tea growing regions, so as to source only the finest and most flavorful ingredients available. The brand has been around since 1886, but its commitment to showing kindness and respect in every aspect of business hasn’t waned over the years. By upholding the highest standards, Taylors of Harrogate continues to delight its loyal following with more than just its classic Yorkshire tea. Hint: Those in the know say that Taylors white tea—a creamy blend with delicate notes of peach and flower petals—is a pure, soul-soothing triumph.
Best Loose Leaf Tea Brands
Rishi was founded in 1997 by Joshua Kaiser, an avid traveler with a dream to bring the exquisite teas he tasted in Asia to the western world—and the brand has done precisely that. Rishi puts a high premium of social responsibility and sources ingredients for its passionately-crafted line of teas through direct trade with artisan growers. Rishi teas are an ode to the culinary and botanical arts, and you can taste the love in every blend they offer. But if you want to know one of our favorites, try the loose-leaf Peach Blossom white tea. The sweet and dreamy fragrance makes for a soothing brew that tastes like summer...and it’s delicious whether you enjoy it hot or cold.
19. The Tao of Tea
The Tao of Tea, a Fair Trade company based in Portland, Oregon, is a pure leaf tea brand that creates beverages and tea blends that are free of artificial flavors, additives and preservatives. They've been slinging herbs, blends and specialty teas since 1997, and they spend time working with growers to secure the best leaves of the harvest. Not only are their teas organic, but they also raise awareness about sustainable tea farming, and work sustainably to preserve the ecosystems where they source their ingredients from. This hibiscus-ginger loose leaf tea is equal parts, sweet, tart and spicy, thanks to being made with pure organic hibiscus flowers and organic dried ginger.
Born in Quebec, David’s Tea packages its impressive number of palate-pleasing and thoroughly original loose-leaf tea blends in eye-catching canisters and compact bags alike...but it’s the unique combination of flavors that keep fans coming back for more. As a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership, David’s Tea maintains high standards at every stage of the production process, but the way those ethically sourced ingredients come together is a te(a)stament to the power of imagination. Just try this coconut-caramel twist on classic rooibos tea and taste for yourself how its flavors commingle with soothing valerian root.