20 Tea Brands, Ranked From Worst To Best

If you're a tea lover, it's likely you have a preferred way to enjoy tea. Or maybe you have a few. Do you enjoy an iced tea on a hot summer day or a warm mug of tea in the middle of winter? Do you like it as an afternoon pick me up or as a way to wind down at the end of the day? For us, we love tea every which way and have really grown to love the ritual of drinking tea just as much as the actual beverage. Not only is tea delicious, but it also provides a great supply of health benefits. For example, green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants (via Healthline).

When we choose a tea brand, we're looking for a brand that tastes great, without question. But we are also looking for a brand with a positive social impact and mission statement. Since tea must be harvested like other forms of agriculture, sustainability is important not only for the long-term success of a tea company but also because of the quality of tea that results, as Food Tank explains. Additionally, because so many people are required for the harvesting of tea (a whopping 13 million people are employed by the tea industry, via FAO), it's also important that these brands treat their employees fairly, ideally with fair trade certification.

Lastly, we love tea brands with a wide variety of product offerings to appeal to many audiences. Below, we've evaluated 20 popular tea brands and ranked them from worst to best. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it!

20. Talbott Teas

Talbott Teas is a tea brand owing its beginnings to a reality show: "Shark Tank." In fact, before Talbott Teas' episode even aired, "Shark Tank" panelist Kevin O'Leary decided to throw his support behind the nascent business, helping to scale the start-up in its early stages. O'Leary's connection to Jamba Juice also worked out for the tea company, as the smoothie shop eventually acquired Talbott Teas in 2012 (via The Motley Fool).

The brand's actual products, however, are rather difficult to lock down today. While its website offers a "Shop" page, no products can be found. Instead, its website appears to only offer a blog with access to posts such as "How to Make Tea from Herbs" and "Patchouli Tea: You Should Try to Enjoy It."

Jamba Juice appears to still carry Talbott Teas' matcha tea in a matcha green tea blast smoothie (via Jamba Juice), but it seems that the shop used to carry more of the Talbott Teas line; this apparently has changed in recent years. Because of this limited menu, stagnant website, and lack of information, we've placed this brand at the bottom of our list.

19. Red Diamond

Red Diamond Tea was founded in the late 1800s in Birmingham, Alabama. Its passion for tea-making goes back five generations, a history not commonly found in American tea manufacturing, but more prevalent with English companies.

Red Diamond carries a very limited product line. It only carries three types of hot tea: black, green, and decaf. Additionally, the company only offers three types of iced tea: sweet tea, unsweet tea, and sugar free tea, sold in gallon jugs.

As said, this American brand has been perfecting tea for many years. And while it's true Red Diamond has a very limited product line, it's certainly dang good at what it does. However, because so many other tea brands have the ability to offer a large variety of products, we've placed this brand near the bottom of our list. Again, Red Diamond tea is tasty, but sometimes we want to have something other than black or green brew.

18. Capital Teas

Capital Teas is owned and operated by Anchor Beverages in Annapolis, Maryland. With a large variety of teas and blends, Capital sells loose-leaf teas directly to consumers on a subscription basis on its website. For us tea fanatics, subscription services are a great way to ensure that we never run out of our favorites. The tea gets regularly delivered to our doors, just when we're beginning to run out.

Capital Teas offers an interesting product called Fruit Tisane. This is marketed as an alternative to soda, containing dried fruit, nuts, beets, and some tea leaves. With lots of flavors to try, we could see how this could be the perfect solution for the afternoon slump.

However, because this brand does not offer tea sold in packages via the grocery store, we find this to be a bit inconvenient. While Capital Teas maintains a subscription service, it is currently lacking a solution for those that simply want a small amount of tea.

17. Imperial Tea Court

In 1993, Imperial Tea Court, the first traditional Chinese teahouse in America, was founded by Roy Fong in Chinatown San Francisco. Imperial Tea Court today has two brick-and-mortar locations in the city, but it also sells loose-leaf and tea bags directly to consumers via its website.

Its product line is extensive, including many types of green, black, imperial, white, oolong, jasmine, yellow, pu'erh, herbal, and blossom teas. Its blossom teas are particularly unique and appealing; the teas are made with green tea leaves that have been hand-tied into a sphere bud shape. When the bud is immersed in hot water, the sphere opens up and reveals an elegant flower remaining at the bottom of your mug. How cool is that?

While we are big fans of the blossom teas, Imperial Tea Court doesn't otherwise stand out among the rest. For this reason, we've placed this tea brand near the bottom of the list.

16. Argo Tea

Argo Tea was founded in Chicago by two lifelong friends from Armenia. Through the company's many Argo Tea cafe locations on the East Coast of the United States, as well as in Korea, Argo Tea offers classic teas, bubble tea, and even teappuccinos, as seen on its menu. Golden Fleece Beverages recently bought the brand in 2020.

However, you probably are more familiar with Argo Tea's line of bottled iced teas, available in Walgreens and other retailers across the nation. These bottled iced teas come in delicious flavors of Hibiscus Tea Sangria, Carolina Honey Tea, Hibiscus Tea Squeeze, and Green Tea Ginger Twist. In addition to its bottled varieties, Argo sells loose-leaf teas directly to consumers on its website.

While this brand offers a few delicious bottled varieties, we wish it would carry more teas for us to enjoy. For this reason, we've placed Argo Tea at No. 16 of our ranking.

15. Upton Tea

Upton Tea specializes in loose-leaf tea leaves from around the world. Founded in 1989, the company offers many tea flavors and cupping notes via its website. We appreciate being provided with these notes as they can offer a way for us to up our tea expertise, and we'll admit, snobbery.

However, Upton Tea only carries loose-leaf tea, which we don't love. In our books, a true tea brand will carry tea in a variety of formats, including tea bags, the aforementioned loose-leaf, and even iced tea to provide ultimate access to us as tea lovers. This said, even though the company only carries loose-leaf teas, Upton Tea does, in fact, offer a huge variety of tea. And we mean it. Looking at its selection available for purchase online, you're left with the urge to try all the delicious Upton Tea flavors. However, because the company does not offer other forms of tea, we've decided to put Upton Tea in the bottom portion of our list.

14. Bigelow Tea

According to its family's story, in 1945, Bigelow Tea was born out of Ruth Campbell Bigelow's New York City kitchen. She was the first to create a specialty tea, hers with black tea, orange rind, and sweet spices. Now, three generations later, Bigelow Tea is the umbrella brand over Bigelow, Benefits, Botanicals, Steep by Bigelow, Steep Cafe, and Charleston Tea.

With over 120 flavors of tea, Bigelow offers tea for everyone. This American company stands out among the rest because it takes great pride in its packaging. Each tea bag is packaged in a foil pouch in order to protect the quality of the tea. The rest of its packaging is completely recyclable. With a great interest in sustainability and support of the military, Bigelow has a large charity arm that we love to see from big brands.

Despite all that, we hate to say it, but we find Bigelow Tea's tea a little lackluster. It's good, but it doesn't taste like anything special.

13. Good Earth Tea

We were first exposed to Good Earth Tea when we tried its Sweet & Spicy Original tea. Oh boy, can you say yum? Now, the company carries a few other flavors in this Sweet & Spicy line, including vanilla chai, caramel chai, chamomile, pomegranate, mango, matcha, green, and peppermint (via Good Earth Tea). Additionally, Good Earth carries a line of Ayurveda teas as well as a line of Sensorial Blends.

Good Earth Tea, which was founded in 1972 in California, has always had a large interest in being environmentally friendly. The company's sustainability efforts include eco-friendly packaging, being an Ethical Tea Partner, and being Rainforest Alliance Certified. This highlights how Good Earth is not only focused on environmental issues but also issues of fair employment.

Unfortunately, in terms of flavor, not all its blends are top notch. Because we find its tea to be rather hit or miss, we've moved Good Earth to the bottom half of our list.

12. Mighty Leaf Tea

Mighty Leaf Tea is managed by popular coffee brand Peet's Coffee. It offers loose-leaf teas, tea bags, and iced tea for sale at Peet's Coffee locations, retailers nationwide, and directly to consumers on its website. Mighty Leaf Tea even offers the ability to set up a subscription to be delivered directly to your home doorstep. This kind of access is exactly what we, as tea lovers, are looking for from a brand.

What's more, we are bowled over by the variety of flavors Mighty Leaf carries. From winter solstice to spring jasmine and turmeric ginger, Mighty Leaf Tea has a lot of unique and intriguing flavor combinations to try. In terms of taste, some flavors are better than others. This is to be expected when you carry such a large variety, but we sometimes find them a bit hit or miss. If you're in a pinch, Mighty Leaf Tea will do, but it's not one of our favorites.

11. Numi Organic Tea

Numi Organic Tea was founded in 1999 by a brother-and-sister team. The name Numi comes from a steeped dried lime drink they used to drink as kids in Iraq. The company's vision is to introduce unique and creative flavored teas to the U.S. market while driving social change and sustainability. Its social impact efforts, through the Numi Foundation, include a COVID-19 food relief program; an art elementary school curriculum; a clean water initiative called Together for H2ope; and Iraq Summer School, a program providing childhood education in the founders' hometown.

Numi offers various types of tea, including loose-leaf, iced tea, a Stay Healthy collection, drinking chocolates, flowering tea, and matcha. The flowering tea that Numi sells is similar to the blossom teas from Imperial Tea Court. Numi is very involved in making a community impact and for that we have to give the company props, but its tea is just OK, so Numi lands near the middle of our list.

10. Teavana

Remember when you'd be shopping at the mall and the tasty tea samples in front of the Teavana stores would lure you inside? After the Starbucks acquisition of the Teavana brand, we would see these stores everywhere. Have you noticed that you haven't seen them in a while? As a result of decreasing mall traffic, Starbucks shut down all Teavana stores back in 2017-18, as reported by The Motley Fool. Instead of brick-and-mortar stores, Starbucks re-envisioned Teavana's future in packaged tea products.

Teavana currently offers only eight flavors: White Chocolate Peppermint, Mandarin Mimosa, Jade Citrus Mint, Peach Tranquility, Lemon Ginger Bliss, Spiced Apple Cider, Beach Bellini, and Earl Grey Creme. While these flavors sound delightful, and we are loving what the company is doing with the Teavana brand design, the limited offering of tea varieties gives us no choice but to put Teavana in the middle of our rankings.

9. Honest Tea

You've probably seen Honest Tea in the beverage section of your favorite lunch restaurant or at the gas station. As the story goes, Seth Goldman and his Yale School of Business Management professor founded the company back in 1998. Honest Tea is known for its bottled iced teas; these teas are all Fair Trade Certified and USDA Organic. The brand offers unsweetened varieties and varieties that are "just a tad sweet." 

The Honest Tea mission is to promote health and wellness, reduce environmental footprint, create economic opportunity, and democratize organics. The company is a firm believer in providing only organic and low-sugar options. We love its mission and strong health stance backing its product, but we wish that Honest offered tea in other forms like hot tea bags or loose-leaf. A cozy mug of hot brew on a winter day appeals in a certain way that an iced tea can't.

8. Stash Tea

Stash Tea, founded in 1972 in Portland, Oregon, offers tea bags, loose-leaf tea, as well as iced tea varieties. The company is especially known for its mint leaves, as the mint that grows in the Pacific Northwest is considered among the "most flavorful, fragrant, and potent mint in the world." 

Stash Tea prides itself on being Non-GMO Project Verified and compostable, even down to its packaging. In 2017, Stash became a Certified B Corporation, which aims to act in the best interest of the environment, its employees, and its partnerships. We love when a brand has a strong mission statement that we can get behind.

Stash Tea's tea flavors are extensive, including classics like premium green tea and English breakfast black tea as well as original exclusives such as Christmas in Paris and Decaf Chocolate Hazelnut. Because of its variety of good-tasting flavors, we've placed Stash Tea near the top half of our list.

7. Twinings

The English brand Twinings dates all the way back to 1706. With a history like that, Twinings is the oldest brand on this best-teas list. Thomas Twinings began selling tea in his coffee house to the wealthy elites of London. From there, his son began exporting it to America in 1749.

Twinings offers a lot of different tea varieties, including black, herbal, green, wellness, cold infusion, white, oolong, decaf, organic, chai, and even cold brew. Not only does the company sell many types of tea, it also offers many forms of tea: tea bags, loose-leaf, cold water infusers, and even K-Cups.

Twinings is passionate about sustainability and responsible sourcing. This is important in the tea industry, as agriculture is dependent on a thriving environment (via Finlays). Because we find great trust in a brand that has this much experience and impact, we've placed Twinings at No. 7 of our rankings.

6. Yogi Tea

Over 30 years ago, Yogi Tea was founded in the spirit of Ayurveda, the Indian holistic healing philosophy. Today, Yogi carries many types of teas in a variety of flavors intended for specific healthful benefits such as detox, digestion, or immune support. We love that these teas are intended for certain ailments and to support healthy body function. The act of choosing the perfect tea for a certain condition brings a special element to tea selection.

Yogi Tea has a large number of charitable international partnerships, including with NatureFund, Nevandra Association, and The Kumari Project. We stand by brands making a positive impact in society, so Yogi Tea is honestly one of our favorites. Not only is the company doing good in this world, but its teas taste good as well. For this reason, we have placed this brand near the top of our list. You won't be disappointed with Yogi Tea.

5. Harney & Sons

Harney & Sons is a family tea business, dating back four decades. With over 300 varieties of tea, this company is definitely not slacking on providing some options for tea lovers. We appreciate the creativity behind some of its collections as well, and we are suckers for any type of classification based on the zodiac wheel, so we especially love the Harney & Sons Zodiac collection. In 2019, the Millerton, New York, company even debuted a line of CBD teas.

Harney & Sons carries Fair Trade Certified teas and contributes 1% of its total sales to environmental organizations as a way to encourage sustainability. It seems, in this industry, if your brand is not contributing to eco-friendly initiatives, it is extremely behind the curve.

Despite its long history, Harney & Sons is making an effort to keep up with both innovation and creativity. For this, we can thank Harney & Sons by placing the company near the top of our list.

4. Celestial Seasonings

Celestial Seasonings, founded in 1969, was the first brand to introduce herbal teas and various blends in America. According to the company's history, the first Celestial Seasonings teas were sold, unsurprisingly, to health stores. Now, with over 105 varieties of tea and 1.6 billion cups of tea sold per year, Celestial Seasonings has very clearly expanded its reach and emerged a crowd-pleaser. The company even offers a tea room and cafe in Boulder, Colorado, to tour the tea-making facilities, which is temporarily closed due to COVID-19.

With a large variety of tea options, including Bengal Spice, Cranberry Vanilla Wonderland, Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride, and Country Peach Passion, you can likely find a tea bag for everyone. We love its innovative flavors and herbal tea blends; Celestial Seasonings is perhaps best known for its Sleepytime and Red Zinger lines. Because of its variety and its brand-name recognition, Celestial Seasonings cracks the Top 5 of our list.

3. Lipton

Did you know that Lipton Tea is the world's leading tea brand? This is likely due to its long history, dating back to the 19th century. Founded back in 1880 by Sir Thomas Lipton, a Scottish man from New Jersey, Lipton emerged as the first tea company to package tea leaves in tea bags, revolutionizing the industry. Today, Lipton's farmers are found all over the world, from Kenya to Argentina to Sri Lanka.

Lipton carries a huge product line, including black tea, green tea, matcha, aguas frescas, health benefit teas, iced teas — you name it, Lipton carries it. With a huge variety like that, what's not to love? After sampling many Lipton teas over our lifetimes, we can say with certainty that we've never been disappointed with the tea produced by this brand. Maybe it has to do with brand favorability, but we think Lipton knows how to make tea right. For this reason, we rank Lipton Tea as the third-best tea brand on our list.

2. PG Tips

Founded in 1869 by Arthur Brooke in Manchester, England, PG Tips was formerly known as the "Pre-Gest Tea." Brooke eventually abbreviated this somewhat medical-sounding term to PG and added the word "tips" to indicate that the company only uses the tips of the tea leaves in its production. Today, PG Tips offers nine tea products: Dairy-Free, Gold, Extra Strong, Tasty Decaf, Plus Caffeine, Plus Metabolism, Original Loose, Original, and Plus Immunity.

PG Tips is also yet another brand that is committed to bettering the environment by operating in eco-friendly manners. For example, the British company was the first major tea brand to sell fully Rainforest Alliance Certified teas. Further, with a strong interest in environmentally friendly products, PG Tips only uses 100% biodegradable tea bags.

With huge brand recognition, an impressive social impact, and really tasty teas, we love PG Tips. We just wish the company had a little more variety for us to enjoy than its current selection.

1. Tazo

When we think of Tazo tea, we think of luxury. There's nothing like spending a freezing cold afternoon curled up by the fireplace with a mug of warm Tazo tea. Can this be our favorite form of self care?

Tazo carries a lot of different tea varieties, including classic hot teas, iced teas, lattes, sweet flavored teas, and a really interesting new line of mixers. If you haven't tried Tazo's Rose Pink Latte or its Berry Hibiscus Margarita, do yourself a favor and get right on that.

Not only does Tazo carry a unique line of products, but it also brings strong social values. Tazo's brand purpose centers on sustainability and climate justice. To that end, it has partnered with American Forests, creating Tazo Tree Corps, an effort that involves planting trees in BIPOC communities within five major cities. With a strong social impact and delectable products, we've decided to rank Tazo as our No. 1 tea brand.