The weather is starting to get colder and for many, that means more mugs of hot tea. You don’t want just any old tea, however. A lot of cheap brands you’ll find in the store are low-quality and don’t offer much in the way of strong, good flavor. At their worst, the teas can actually taste bitter or like you’ve steeped dirty leaves in water. This year, it’s time to upgrade. Here are the best tea companies you can buy from:
Founded way back in 1706 by Thomas Twining, Twinings is the world’s oldest tea brand. After learning the tea trade from a merchant with the East India Company, Twining opened his shop in London, where it still stands today. For those of us who can’t just fly to London whenever for tea, Twinings also has an online store. You can buy tea – both bagged and loose leaf – as well as tea accessories and gifts. Tea blends include English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Lady Grey, Superblends, herbal blends, flavored blends, and more.
Tea can be a rough business, ethically, and Twinings takes that to heart with their “Sourced with Care” program, which seeks to improve the lives of the people working in its supply chain. Twinings is also a founding member of the non-profit Ethical Tea Partnership, which monitors ethical conditions on tea estates.
The Mighty Leaf Tea Company
Founded in 1996 by couple Gary Shiner and Jill Portman, this California-based tea company sources tea from places like China, India, Africa, Japan, and more. They are currently owned by Peet’s Coffee, which purchased the tea brand in 2014. You can get both whole tea leaf pouches and loose leaf in all types and flavors.
In 2018, Mighty Leaf Tea won the best bagged herbal flavored tea at the Global Tea Championship with their organic Chamomile Yuzu. As part of Peet’s Coffee, we assume The Mighty Leaf holds to the same code of ethics and participates in the responsible sourcing and supply chain transparency the company aims for.
The Tea Spot
Founded in 2004 by cancer survivor Maria Uspenski, this tea company gives 10% of all sales revenue to cancer charities. This makes it one of the best tea companies with a message. Based in Colorado, the Tea Spot’s online store offers a wide variety of loose leaf tea blends. Pyramid-style sachets of full-leaf tea are also available. The sachets are made of biodegradable material, so if you’re concerned about waste, you’ll be happy with this non-toxic, safe option.
On their site, you can also find cool gifts like tea infusers mugs, tumblers, and flavor samplers. In 2019, The Tea Spot won silver medals at the Global Tea Championships for both their Wild Harvest Green Pu-erh (in the Loose/Puerh Raw category) and the Japanese Orchid Green (Single Serve/Green Steamed category).
Founded in 2000 in London, Newby now sells tea all over the world. It’s a very picky company, so only 5% of the tea grown globally is good enough. According to the Newby website, tea tasters drink “thousands” of cups when making their selections. If quality is really important to you, Newby could easily be one of the best tea companies to buy from. That attention to detail paid off big-time at this year’s Global Tea Championships: they took home 14 medals.
They offer a wide variety of teas, which you can sort through by tea type, loose leaf collections, and single serve. Flavors include strawberry & mango black tea, wild cherry, jasmine blossom green tea, silver needle white tea, and so much more.
Not quite sure what separates all the different tea types? Here’s a quick summary on all you need to know.