Black tea is renowned for its bold and robust flavors, making it a favorite among tea connoisseurs worldwide. Produced from the Camellia sinensis plant, the leaves undergo a process of withering, rolling, oxidation, and drying, resulting in a rich, dark brew with a full-bodied taste. The world of the best black tea offers a diverse range of delightful options for tea enthusiasts to explore.
We rely on tea for so many things! And have for quite a long time. In the Western world, black tea is more common than green tea because way back in the day, it was discovered that the more oxidized black tea would retain its freshness and flavor better over long export journeys than its minimally oxidized green tea cousin. Tea arrived in Europe from China in 1610, and by 1800, the English were annually consuming two-and-a-half pounds of tea and 17 pounds of sugar per person.
This trend didn’t phase out. In fact, it spread as the English developed colonies. Did you know black tea is the most popular tea in the world? There are many ways to prepare it — from sweet tea in the southern U.S. to India’s Assam black tea. Add milk, add sugar or add nothing. It’s as versatile as you want to make it. That is one of the reasons it’s so popular, especially among millennials who make up 60 percent of all Americans who prefer tea!
But is tea a beverage with benefits like coffee? Sure, tea can contain caffeine, so you’ll maybe get that perk, but there are some other pros as well. Research shows drinking two to three cups every day lowers the risk of stroke by 32 percent and drops the risk of developing dementia by 28 percent! And that’s not all. If you’re worried about diabetes, other research shows drinking four mugs of tea throughout the day knocks down the risk of developing it by 17 percent.
With so much to love about black tea, we went on a search for the most recommended brands on the market. Now we’re about to spill the tea on the five best black teas to try right now, according to 10 experts. Ready for it? Read on for the big reveal! And make sure to leave us a comment about your favorite black tea in the comments.
The List: Best Black Teas, According to Experts
With more than 300 years in the tea biz, we’re not surprised the experts named this tea brand as number one. “At this point, Twinings is synonymous with tea as the staple purveyor has been an expert in the stuff since 1706. Containing a generous 100 packets of rich black tea, this is an English Breakfast variety identified by its smooth yet robust flavor … Over its literally hundreds of years of experience, the company has developed key relationships with the world’s top tea producers ensuring every tin bearing their name meets a high standard of quality. This blend was created by mixing leaves from five different regions to achieve the best flavor,” writes Robb Report.
And according to Medmunch, you can expect nothing but the best: “As a trusted brew brand, you should expect the very best from their London English Breakfast black tea bags. Mixed with milk and sugar, or enjoyed black and steaming, these full-bodied tea bags from Twinings certainly do not disappoint. It is extremely well-balanced and flavorful and there are no artificial ingredients, leaving you with a clean, complex tea drinking experience. Simply steep for four minutes to enjoy the perfect brew at any time of the day.”
Pinkies up! Luxe Digital says, “With over 300 different blends … even the prissiest of tea drinkers are likely to be appeased with the formidable tea selection. The best-seller of the brand is also one of the oldest, developed by John Harney in 1980. The enticingly-named Hot Cinnamon Spice tea is a warming brew that is black tea-based, with orange peel, sweet clove, and three types of cinnamon. The conjunction of these complimentary flavors results in a sweet, rich flavor palate that is oh-so-comforting.”
The Spruce Eats raves about the delicious decaf option in the same spicy flavor: “A reliable cup of decaf isn’t easy to find. The decaffeination process alters and often weakens the taste of tea. That’s where Harney & Sons Decaffeinated Hot Cinnamon comes in. Teeming with notes of cinnamon, orange peel, and sweet cloves, the Ceylon-based blend delivers vibrant flavor in every cup. Customer reviews are overwhelmingly positive, with praise ranging from the tea’s aroma to the decorative tin it comes in. Harney & Sons also sells a caffeinated version, which is one of its most popular products.”
It’s half the caffeine of coffee but full of enjoyment. It’s also made by an environmentally-friendly company that’s part of The Ethical Tea Partnership. “The widespread love of Earl Grey starts with two distinct flavors: the robust punch of black tea leaves and the citrusy zest of bergamot oranges. This unique pairing comes to life in every sip of The Republic of Tea’s Earl Greyer,” writes The Spruce Eats. “The fair-trade-certified3 brand combines Ceylon tea leaves from Sri Lanka and, the key ingredient, bergamot oil to create one delicious cuppa.”
“This choice from The Republic of Tea is non-GMO verified, certified gluten-free and according to the company website, it contains less than half the amount of caffeine per cup than in a similar-sized coffee. Our experts commented on the light and floral taste with perfectly balanced notes of orange from the oil of bergamot,” says Good Housekeeping.
And for Food Taste Guide, this tea is great on its own without any extras: “This Earl Grey tea is quite strong in terms of bergamot. You will definitely notice this when you taste it, which makes it perfect for those of you looking for a naturally flavored tea that doesn’t need to be masked with sugar or milk. On the other hand, a dash of sugar or milk will create the perfect balance of tart (from the citrus) and sweet. Many who stray away in order to try other brands swear that they always head back to The Republic of Tea.”
Bergamot also stars in this black tea blend. “The use of real bergamot fruit (as opposed to bergamot oil) gives this tea bright notes of citrus and malty undertones. The flavor is bold, but it goes down smooth and mellow, pairing well with a light breakfast,” says Cooking Light.
Food52 also likes the bergamot, writing, “The citrus notes are present in Numi’s bright Earl Grey but balanced nicely with its soothing black tea. If you’re looking for a classic Earl Grey with high-quality ingredients, it fits the bill nicely.”
This brand is both an eco-friendly choice and delicious. Word on The Street is: “This black tea pack is USDA certified, gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegan-friendly that is extracted from high-quality botanicals. If you are a diet-conscious person, you can count on this black tea as it is free of artificial sweeteners and flavors. The best part is the manufacturer cares about the planet. You get these flavor-enriched tea leaves packed in compostable bags and delivered to you in a 100% recyclable paperboard carton.”
The Honest Consumer rates this tea highly for their production practices: “Using organic and non-GMO ingredients, Choice Organics is based in Oregon blending tea in their LEED-certified facility. Made from natural fibers, their tea bags are plastic-free and compostable, while their cartons are made from 100% recycled paperboard and are, in turn, recyclable. A Certified B Corporation, Choice Organics is also USDA certified and a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP). Their decaffeinating process is natural and free of toxic chemicals.”
So, what do you think of the experts’ recommendations? Let us know if you’re ready to try them for yourself (or already in a love/hate relationship with them) in the comments section below!
You might also be interested in:
- Robb Report
- Luxe Digital
- The Spruce Eats
- Good Housekeeping
- Food Taste Guide
- Cooking Light
- The Street
- The Honest Consumer
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.