Best Teas Reviewed & Rated for Quality & Taste

When it comes to warm beverages, coffee and hot chocolate are two of the most popular choices. There is another option that tends to get overlooked at times. That option is tea, it is a very versatile choice as it can be served both hot and cold. Many will overlook it because they don’t know anything about the product. It is hard to drink something that you know so little about. Research has shown that this little plant-based beverage can boost your energy as well as your overall health. Choosing the right flavor profile can be confusing when you haven’t a clue what to look for.

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When it comes to finding a flavor that will suit your taste buds there are some factors that will come into play. You first need to decide why you want to change to this beverage. Are you looking for a beverage that offers more caffeine or one with less? Maybe you’re looking for a healthier selection to change things up a bit. Ask yourself what type of flavor you prefer something that is bold or one that will be milder. As you can see there is quite a bit to think about when choosing this caliber beverage.

This leads us to the question, “Where can we find out which ones are the best?” The answer to this is right here in this buying guide. We have created a list of what we found to be the best ones out there for you to give them a try. With the product that we have chosen will come a quick review of each. In those reviews, you will find what other consumers have found to be both good and bad about the product. As many of us know, others opinions can come in handy to help us make our own choices as well.

 

10 Best Teas

 

1. Twinings English Breakfast

1. Twinings English Breakfast
The first selection on our list offers one of the more robust flavor profiles out there. It is a convenient option for those who enjoy things in life that are in the simplest form.
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Black Variety
The robust flavor profile comes from the fact that this beverage is of the black variety. They are oxidized to the fullest to achieve that full-bodied flavor you are looking for.

Bagged
Whether you're rushing out the door or toting your cup out to the patio. Often times we lean toward options that a faster for us. That is what you get with this selection as the leaves are already in the bag for you. You can allow the bag to steep while on the go.

Cost and Value
The cost for this can vary depending on the package you order. There are different options for quantity available to you. With this beverage option, you get that bold taste you are looking for in a convenient little package.
Pros

The flavor is robust as this is a black variety.

Can be ordered in several different quantity options.

This contains no artificial ingredients.

These are of the bag variety.

Cons

There are statements that this has a milder flavor than expected.

2. Harney & Sons Paris

2. Harney & Sons Paris
Next up is the same variety as the first with a flavor twist that you won't be expecting. Perfect for those who seek a little twist within their morning brew.
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Flavor Profile
This is also of the black variety line but has a slightly different flavor than the first. Added ingredients to the leaves give you a hint of vanilla with an afternote reminiscent of caramel.

Caffeinated
For those who seek a little boost in their beverage, this one has what you are looking for. Within one cup of this is at least 40-60 milligrams of caffeine, providing you with the mid-day boost you are looking for.

Cost and Value
When you enjoy the robust flavor that this variety can offer but are looking for something with a twist. This selection has what you are looking for. With a decent amount of caffeine to each cup, you won't have to worry about that afternoon lag time.
Pros

This option has a robust flavor with a hint of vanilla and caramel.

Comes in a bag for convenience.

Has a good amount of caffeine for an energy boost.

The tin can be reused for storing other items.

Cons

Some customers have had concerns that the container this product comes in affects the integrity of the product.

3. Yogi Stress Relief

3. Yogi Stress Relief
Here is an option that can help you forget all about the stress of the day while relaxing in your favorite chair. It is a proven fact that some herbal elements can reduce the amount of stress one feels by relaxing them.
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Stress
The combination of natural ingredients such as chamomile and lavender added to this selection promote relaxation. With that relaxation will come the melting of the stress from the day.

Organic
For those who prefer the all natural side of things, this beverage option is perfect for you. The manufacturer prides itself on the fact that it uses no artificial ingredients whatsoever.

Cost and Value
After a long and stressful day on the job, you need something powerful to relax you. This beverage selection can be the next valuable asset to your relaxation needs.
Pros

No artificial ingredients added to the product.

The chamomile and lavender promote relaxation to reduce stress.

These come prebagged for convenience.

This can be purchased in different quantities.

Cons

Some have found that this has a milder flavor than anticipated.

4. Traditional Medicinals Organic

4. Traditional Medicinals Organic
Here is a selection that can be used on those seemingly restless nights. The flavor profile has something to offer those who like to try different things.
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Sleep Aid
For some, a restful night a few and far between, but taking a pharmaceutical option for rest can be scary. Why not try a more natural approach to things? This beverage selection uses a combination of natural herbs to promote a restful nights sleep.

Flavor Profile
This beverage takes a different approach to the flavor it has as well. You will see that is slightly more bitter than other varieties. With that comes an essence of mint with a hint of citrus.

Cost and Value
Sleep can be a very valuable event for most. With this option, you gain a natural sleep aid at a relatively low cost to you. Over time you will see a huge improvement to your sleep pattern.
Pros

The beverage can be used to promote sleep.

Has a minty taste with some citrus notes to it.

This product uses natural herbs to aid in sleeping.

Each box has sixteen servings in it.

Cons

Some who have tried this product have stated it has a very pungent odor.

5. Taylors of Harrogate

5. Taylors of Harrogate
This is the first selection we have stumbled across that promises to have a little something for everyone. In the event, you have a tea lover in your life this is noted as making a perfect little gift for them.
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Variety Pack
As we stated previously, this little box has something to offer everyone. Whether you like black or green variations, possiby seeking something new, this one has several options for you to choose from.

Perfect Gift
This comes in its own little box with a huge variety to choose from. Making the perfect gift idea for those that might be hard to buy for. They can use this when company comes or keep the contents all to themselves.

Cost and Value
The cost for this is minor, which makes it the perfect selection for those seeking to tryout something new. With this, you get a large variety of flavor profiles to please everyone's pallet.
Pros

This has a variety of flavor options to choose from.

Would make the perfect gift for friends or family.

The beverage comes in the bags already.

Those who have tried this have stated that it is a smooth tasting option.

Cons

Some have stated that this option is less like leaves and more like debris in the bag.

6. Bigelow

6. Bigelow
Next on the list is one that will sooth the tastebuds of those who enjoy different versions of the black variety. Selections like this allow those people to spice things up a bit.
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Variety
With this purchase, you would obtain different blends of the same type of beverage. These blends will allow you to enjoy your favorite beverage with a little different flavor profile to each.

Protection
This manufacturer wants to ensure that you get the best of the best when it comes to their products. You will notice when you open the box that each of the bags is wrapped in a protective foil wrapper. This foil gives the leaves a defense against soaking up pungent smells. Ensuring that each brew is as fresh as the first.

Cost and Value
Upon purchasing this product you will receive six boxes of beverage selections. Each box will house a different flavor profile. All of this comes as a relatively inexpensive option to try new things.
Pros

This is a multi-flavor purchase option.

It is a great way to explore different flavor profiles.

You have the option to choose from several different variety options when ordering.

The bags are protected by foil to preserve the flavor of the leaves.

Cons

There are complaints that the bags seem weak as they break apart while in the water.

7. Numi Organic Variety

7. Numi Organic Variety
This is another potentially great option for those that prefer the more all-natural approach to life. With this selection, you get the benefits from a blend of natural herbs and plant life to boost the flavors for you.
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All Natural
Here is an option you can take pride in, as they use all natural ingredients to enhance the flavor profiles that you receive. Some of the ingredients they have chosen to use are fruits, flowers, and different spice mixes.

Assortment
This particular package will offer you the benefits that come from an assorted flavor mix. You will have the ability to test these flavors out to see which one or more will be your next favorite selection.

Cost and Value
This package allows you to experiment a little with your flavors. You can do that with this product as the cost for this one won't even put a dent in your pocketbook.
Pros

This selection is a variety of flavors.

All natural ingredients are used in flavoring the beverage.

You have the option to purchase this in different quantities.

These come prebagged for convenience.

Cons

Customers have stated that some of the flavors are pungent.

8. Tazo Awake English Breakfast

8. Tazo Awake English Breakfast
Next up comes another great version of the breakfast blend. Don't let the name fool you this beverage is great at any point throughout your day. When a bold flavor is what you seek this pick has something in store for you.
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Black
The leaves of the plant are put through the oxidization process for quite some time to provide you a more bold yet beautiful flavor option. For some strong is better, if this represents you, then a product such as this will fit the bill for you.

Breakfast Blend
Although this is an eye-opener for some, it can be enjoyed all throughout the day. Just because the name states that it is for breakfast doesn't mean that you can't have it later in the day.

Cost and Value
Since this product is offered as a bulk buy it can reduce the amount spent when this is your daily beverage choice. For many the savings, you accrue can be a very valuable asset all on its own.
Pros

This beverage offers a bold taste.

Contains caffeine for an added boost.

Sold as a bulk purchase which can cut costs.

The bags come individually wrapped to preserve the product.

Cons

Some consumers have stated that the flavor is milder than expected for a breakfast blend.

9. The Republic of Tea

9. The Republic of Tea
This product offers a different flavor and comes in two different forms. With an option that is so easy to brew, you will be enjoying your next cup in no time at all.
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Green
The variety of leaves used for this product are the green ones. This type is known for its potential health benefits as well as the amazing flavor profiles that can be developed with such a mild base.

Easy to Use
Whether you choose this option for convenience with the prebagged version or like the loose leaf form better either one is simple to prepare. Heat the water to just around boiling then steep the leaves for a quick 1-3 minutes and you're ready to drink. When using the loose variety you might want to leave it in for at least 4 minutes.

Cost and Value
The cost for you can vary as there are several quantity options to choose from. Which is great for those who already enjoy this selection and perfect for those looking to try something different.
Pros

This has a milder flavor profile.

Can be purchased in several quantities.

Easy to prepare this drink.

The container can be used for other storage purposes.

Cons

Some have stated that the honey flavor seems to be a little off.

10. Pukka Herbal

10. Pukka Herbal
The last selection on the list offers plenty of health benefits to the person choosing to use it. Made to be a more robust flavor profile than some of the other options on the list.
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Ginger
Made from three different types of ginger root, you will get a more robust ginger flavor than some of the others on the market. In this variety, they blend it with turmeric to take the flavor to a whole new level.

Health Benefits
In case you weren't aware ginger is an amazing root when it comes to your overall health. It has the potential to ease the turmoil in an upset stomach. Giving you a more relaxed sensation after finishing your cup.

Cost and Value
With the potential health benefits involved with this beverage, it can be valuable to you. It doesn't cost that much so you won't have to worry about blowing your budget.
Pros

Made with ginger which has health benefits.

This is mixed with turmeric to enhance the flavor.

Comes in several size options.

There are many statements as to how outstanding the flavor is for this.

Cons

Some have stated that the ginger flavor just wasn't for them.

After seeing what our list has to offer to wet your whistle a little it is time to move on to learning a little about your choices. In the next section, you will find the information we used to create the list. We have included this so that you can be more informed when it comes to choosing what you might like. Moving on to the last section of the guide, you will see that we have included some common questions that get asked. We do so to try and eliminate some of the reservations you may have before making your selection. All that is left for you to do is kick back and brew yourself a cup.

Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Teas

Upon delving into this beverage choice you will notice that there is more than one product type. There are some that are popular and then there are those that are not. Either way all of these except the herbal variety come from the same exact plant. It is the section of the plant used paired with how it is oxidized that gives the different varieties their distinctive tastes. Oxidizing the plant is a method that is used to dry the plant for use. The oxidation process will also control the level of caffeine within the beverage. The longer the plant is oxidized the more caffeine content it will have. Basically, this type of beverage can be broken down into four varieties.

Variety Options

Black

This variety is made by rolling the leaves of the plant and allowing them to fully oxidize. Giving it a robust flavor with a hint of bitterness. When brewed you will see a red tint to the drink and is known for carrying half the amount of caffeine that one cup of coffee has. This makes the black variety the highest as far as caffeine content is concerned. The most common selections of this variety are Assam which is found in India. Assam will have a potent smell to it along with a dark red tint to it. The flavor profile has been described as having a malted taste.

Another version also deriving from India is Darjeeling. The flavor profile will depend on the season in which it is harvested. In the first harvest period, it is known for its subtle flowery taste. While the second harvesting season results in a flavor that has been described as fruity. That will bring us to our last selection Ceylon. Described as having a more fruity note to the taste.

White

This one was once reserved for royalty in China. It is stated the reasoning for this is the fact that the part of the plant that this derives from is rare to find. Obtaining its name from the small shoots of the plant the flavor is found to be as delicate as they are. This variety is made simply by drying the buds of the plant because it is produced in smaller quantities it is more expensive than the others. The flavor is one of the mildest as well. Although there are some flavored options available there are two main choices. The first is the silver needle, which is known for being sweet with a floral taste that is subtle. Next is the white peony said to have one of the best smells once brewed.

Green

Totally opposite in the way it is prepared, the green variety takes a new approach during the processing portion. Instead of allowing it to be oxidized it is put through a process to prevent oxidation. This is done by exposing the plant to heat either by roasting of steaming the leaves. When the leaves are roasted you will notice a more mild and sweet tasting tea. Exposing them to steam will yield an earthy but bitter flavor profile. Many will choose this flavor variety for its health benefits. It is used for a weight loss element as well as accredited for boosting the energy level of many.

Oolong

Here is a variety choice that really isn’t as popular but definitely worth mentioning. The oolong variation is meant to fall between the black and green brews for flavor as well as color. This variety is known for boosting the metabolism slightly even with a minimal caffeine content. The level of oxidation will control the flavor profile of the brew. Some will be of the nutty variety while others will deliver a flavor reminiscent of fruit. With that being said you can choose from several flavor profiles.

One of which will be Darjeeling, it delivers a fruity note while remaining pale in color. Formosa is oxidized longer than most so it will appear with a darker color in the cup. Some have experienced a fruit essence while others have claimed to get a nutty flavor. The last one we come to is Pouchong, it goes through the least amount of oxidizing. Giving a completely mild flavor that makes this a great base for building other flavor profiles such as jasmine.

At this point, you might be thinking that these are not the types of teas you are seeing in the store. You are partially correct on that point, however, these varieties are the base for which your flavors are built. Many of the brand names out there will use these varieties then add their own twist to them to develop a further flavor profile.

The Possible Benefits to Drinking Tea

  1. It can be used as a form of hydration as it is essentially water with some flavor added to it. You might be thinking that coffee can do the same, this is only partially true. There are additives to coffee that can cause you to release water faster than you retain it for hydration purposes. Whether you choose to drink it hot or cold tea is better for hydration.
  2. There are interesting studies being looked into that state that this beverage can reduce the risk of tumors. There is information floating around from research done over five thousand years ago as to the health benefits of this type of beverage.
  3. Some variations of this beverage are known for providing higher levels of energy throughout the day. Now there is conflicting information out there as far as the level of caffeine offered by this selection, however, it isn’t always about the amount offered. It boils down to how the body can process this energy, it has been proven that in this form it tends to boost energy level for longer periods.
  4. It is easy to brew yourself a cup as all you need to do is add the bag to hot water. Allow the bag to steep for a while and voila you have yourself a freshly brewed cup.
  5. Some varieties are loaded with antioxidants which are great for your health. They keep you both looking and feeling great at the same time. Many products of all kinds on the market have antioxidants added to them but with this drink, they come naturally.
  6. With recent studies in place, certain varieties of this beverage have been known to aid in weight loss. The green version of this beverage has been known to boost the metabolism of many. You could also attribute the weight loss factor to the fact that this is a low-calorie beverage option.

Loose Vs. Bagged

This issue has become one of the biggest debates among enthusiasts of this beverage selection. Some will tell you that the loose leaf version offers a much better flavor than that of the bag variety. The bags are normally filled with the leftover pieces of leaves and dust from the processing stage. Some are wary of the fact that the bags can contain bleaching agents that change the quality of the product. It is well known that the bagged version offers more convenience than the loose variety and is easier for beginners to use.

Consider These Tips

  • Go with organic if possible, as this type of plant cannot be washed during the preparation phase. So it stands to reason that whatever pesticides that get sprayed on the plant will not get washed off. Many are opposed to the chemically altered ingredients used to alter flavors. Choosing the organic version of this beverage will ensure there are no chemicals used in the process.
  • In the event, you choose to try out the loose leaf version of the beverage be sure you are using the correct amount of leaves. A good rule of thumb, every one to two teaspoons of leaves will be enough for an eight-ounce cup. When you notice that the flavor of your drink is off, be sure to check your measuring strategy.
  • Another piece of advice for those using the loose leaf method is to know your equipment when it comes to the brewing process. There are two pieces of equipment that people tend to misconstrue a little. The first is the strainer which sits on top of the cup. While the other is an infuser, this is a piece of equipment that will hold the leaves within the mesh basket.
  • When beginning the brewing process it is best to start with fresh water each and every time you brew. Using water that you have boiled once or twice before can result in less than desirable beverage tastes.
  • Know what temperatures are best for brewing your favorite variety. Some will require a higher temperature than others. For best results be sure to boil the water for the black and oolong varieties. While being careful to use a lower temperature for the white and green flavors.
  • Be sure you are steeping the leaves or bag for the proper amount of time. As a guideline most will need to be steeped for up to three minutes. Overdoing the steeping time can leave you with a sour tasting product.
  • There are firm believers out there that are against adding milk to the beverage. This is due to studies showing that milk can contradict the natural antioxidants in the beverage. Therefore ruining some of the potential health benefits from drinking it.
  • You can feel free to add a squeeze of citrus to your beverage choice. It enhances the level of vitamin C and adds to your antioxidant absorption rate. Instead of using sugar to sweeten your cup, try using honey or even agave. Feel free to add some spices to your brew to enhance the flavor profile in the cup. Some popular additions are ginger, basil, mint or even coconut oil.
  • Loose leaves can be used for more than one brewing session. Some varieties can be used more times than others. Here are some guidelines to follow: Herbal teas can be steeped anywhere from one to three times. For black, green, white and oolong leaves feel free to brew those up an additional two to five times. Following these guidelines will give you the maximum amount of life from the leaves.
  • The last thing to cover would be the storage of the leaves. Find a container with a lid to place the leaves inside of it. Place that container in a cool yet dry location. Be sure to keep the leaves out of the sun as it tends to change the flavor for the worst.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many loose leaves are needed to brew one cup?

A: For every six to seven ounces of water, you should be using at least one heaped teaspoon of leaves. For most of us, we tend to use a mug to drink our hot beverages. The standard size of a mug is twelve ounces, in that case, you would want to use at least two heaped teaspoons of leaves. However this is a general rule of thumb, so feel free to play around with the formula a bit to achieve the level of flavor that you desire. Just remember that attempting to steep for longer to enhance the flavor will result in a bitter tasting product. When using a pot to brew, every cup of water placed in the pot will need one heaped teaspoon of leaves.

Q: What does the term infusion mean when brewing?

A: Infusion refers to the process of the leaves coming into contact with the water. This holds the same meaning as the words steep or brew. They are all referring to the process by which the flavor is removed from the leaves. When using the leaves in bag form one cycle is recommended. When brewing the loose leaf form you can steep them for a number of times before throwing them away.

Q: Are there any precautions that I should take when shopping for leaves?

A: The quality of the leaves will be your main concern. To ensure you have the highest level of quality look for leaves in the whole fashion. Although these will also be the more expensive route to go as well. Keep in mind that some leaves are broken due to processing. While others are busted up to enhance the flavor of the drink as well. Stems and twigs of the plant is another indicator in most cases that the quality of the product is lower. If you notice dust, stems, or twigs in the bag or packaging chances are you have a beverage of lower quality.

Q: Why does my tea have such a weak flavor profile?

A: A weak flavor profile can arise due to several reasons one of which could be that you have a variety that was meant to be mild in flavor. There are a couple of strategies you can try to increase the flavor of your brew. Be sure you are checking that the water is at the proper temperature for steeping the variety you have selected. It is also possible that you may not be using the proper amount of leaves. Try upping the number of leaves you use on your next brew. Last but not least, certain varieties will need to steep longer than others. If you recently switched you may want to check the amount of time that product should steep for. As a reminder over steeping the leaves can leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.

Q: What is the average steep time required?

A: This will vary greatly by the type of product that you have. It is best to check the manufacturer’s directions for steeping before you begin. In the event, you don’t have directions you can follow these basic guidelines for required steeping times. White varieties will need roughly 1-2 minutes to steep. While oolong will require at least 3 minutes. When steeping the green variety be sure to leave it in for 2 minutes. Black versions will need a slightly longer steeping time than the others this variety will take 3-4 minutes.

Q: How long will the leaves remain fresh?

A: The leaves really never lose the “freshness” factor so to speak. With that stated, they can lose some potency which can change the overall flavor of the brewed product. When opening a bag of white leaf variety or the green it is best to use them within two months of opening the bag. When referring to the black or oolong variety these will last for up to 4 months after opening the bag.

Sources

  1. Let’s Drink Tea, What’s the Right Tea for You
  2. Swanson Vitamins, Finding the Perfect Cup: A Beginners Guide to Tea
  3. Odyssey, A Complete Beginner’s Guide to Tea
  4. Life Hack, 10 Benefits of Drinking Tea Over Coffee
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