If you’re a tea drinker, chances are you’ve tried your fair share of black teas. Black teas are plentiful for a few reasons: they’re delicious, they’re a great coffee alternative, and there are so many varieties.
Whether you’re looking for some new black teas to stock up on or a first-timer looking for the right black tea to try, we have your back. Here are some of our hands-down favorite black teas and why they’re a delicious addition to your tea chest.
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What Is Black Tea?
Black tea comes from the tea plant, known formally as the Camellia sinensis plant. This plant grows primarily in China, India, and Africa, and its leaves are used to make black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea, and more tea varieties (basically, every tea except herbal tea calls Camellia sinensis its parent).
When making black tea, the harvested leaves are set out to dry and undergo a process called oxidation. This process is when the leaves react to oxygen, which darkens their color and increases their caffeine content.
There are actually a few types of black tea:
Assam, Darjeeling, and Nilgiri black teas from India
Ceylon black tea from Sri Lanka
Kee Mun, Yunnan, and Lapsang Souchong teas from China
Kenyan tea from Kenya
Each black tea has different flavors and textures depending on how the plant is oxidized, the nutrients in the plant’s soil, and different additives and extra processing.
Why Drink Black Tea?
The real question is: Why not drink black tea? Black tea is full of health benefits, and all you need is one taste to get started.
Black tea has an extremely high count of antioxidants that can help you maintain a healthy heart and immune system.
Black tea also has quite a bit of caffeine. Specifically, one eight-ounce cup of black tea contains an average of 47 mg of caffeine — about half as much as a cup of brewed coffee. Plus, caffeine in tea is processed by our bodies differently, so it’s a slower and steadier energy increase, instead of coffee’s jolt-and-crash method.
Besides giving you an energy boost, black tea can also support a healthy mood and may support focus. Black tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine which is known to promote relaxation and help keep your brain active and sharp.
15 Best Black Teas
With all of those reasons to drink black tea, why not try it? Here are some of our favorite black teas to get you started.
Biron Teas is based in Macon, Georgia, and they work hard to provide top-notch teas for tea beginners and experts alike. Beyond just having a peach flavor, this scrumptious black tea is blended with rose petals and peach pieces for a deliciously fruity experience.
We recommend putting a pitcher of this tea in your refrigerator and enjoying it over ice. Peach tea is an ideal summer drink, and you can even mix it with lemonade for a deliciously refreshing afternoon pick-me-up.
Arogya is a tea manufacturer that operates out of Connecticut, and they feature a ton of yummy hand-picked and organic teas. This Yunnan tea is no exception.
Handpicked from ancient trees in the Yunnan province of China, this black tea is rich and earthy. Yunnan tea is known for its mellow taste, so we recommend making a whole pot of this tea. It’s so good that you’ll want more than just one cup!
Irish Breakfast tea is known for being strong and highly caffeinated. Stash Tea is a tea house in Portland, Oregon that decided to give the traditional Irish Breakfast an extra kick.
This Irish Breakfast tea is super strong, so we recommend taking it with cream and sugar. It’s kind of like tea espresso. Irish Breakfast always features Assam black tea as a base, but this blend contains even more Assam than normal. The result is a thick and full taste that makes for a lovely morning cuppa.
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Earl Grey is a popular black tea that is characteristically blended with bergamot flavoring. Seattle, Washington-based Pinky Up presents a fun take on the classic Earl Grey.
This Earl Grey blend features the traditional bergamot flavor but adds in peach flavor and calendula flowers for a fruity finish. This tea is delightfully creamy and peachy. Once you try it, Earl Grey Macaron must just become a staple in your tea stash.
Churchill’s Fine Teas is based in Cincinnati, Ohio, and its founders regularly travel to Asia to make sure only high-quality leaves make it into their custom blends. This French Breakfast tea is no exception.
Like other Breakfast teas, this French Breakfast tea is highly caffeinated and very strong, which means it’s a wonderful candidate for a little well-placed cream and sugar. Featuring a rich blend of organic Ceylon and other Chinese black teas, we recommend enjoying this tea alongside a croissant or buttered baguette.
If you close your eyes, you’d almost believe you’re at a small patisserie by the Seine.
Pinky Up strikes again with this beautiful take on a Chai latte. Built on a base of strong black tea, this blend is wonderful for a sweet afternoon rush of caffeine.
Delicate flavors like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and peppercorn come together to create a spiced tea that will quickly warm you up. You can enjoy hot or combine with steamed milk to create a true Chai latte. Either way, this sweet tea might just be one of your new favorites.
This is yet another divine blend by Churchill’s Fine Teas. If you’re a fan of anything French vanilla (we’re talking ice cream, coffee creamer, or whipped cream), then you’ll be a fan of this tea.
Churchill’s French vanilla features Ceylon black tea with added vanilla flavor. As if that’s not enough, this blend also includes jasmine, sunflower, and calendula petals for a deliciously creamy texture that will keep you coming back for more.
Rainy Day Tea Co specializes in teas so good that they’ll brighten up even the rainiest days. So next time you have a rainy day, grab a book and curl up with a cup of this Earl Grey.
This Earl Grey has a unique twist: instead of the classic bergamot, Rainy Day decided to blend its black tea base with lavender and cornflower petals. With such a floral taste, we have to agree – this is a tea made for rainy days.
Biron Teas secures another spot on this list with their take on the classic Earl Grey. Along with the traditional bergamot, this Earl Grey features calendula flowers for a smooth taste that we are #obsessed with.
If you love the classic Earl Grey, think of this blend as the ultimate Earl Grey. Biron Teas named this tea so well – it really feels like we struck gold with this one.
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We know there’s a lot of Earl Greys here, but we just can’t help ourselves to one more. This creamy vanilla tea combines the classic Earl Grey with yummy sweet vanilla for a delicious match.
With a splash of marigold petals and a generous helping of caffeine, you can enjoy this tea as-is or with milk and sugar for your morning caffeine boost. We think this tea tastes absolutely lovely alongside some buttery pancakes and fresh strawberries.
Don’t believe us? Try it for yourself!
Cookie Tea is a tea company that makes some of the most mouthwatering cookie-themed teas we’ve ever tasted. This tea is one of our favorites because it’s like pouring a buttery almond cookie into a cup.
Based on black tea, this blend includes almonds, cinnamon, and safflower petals for a pretty convincing cookie taste-alike. You can even pour in some milk to create a makeshift almond cookie latte.
Plus, this tea comes in the most adorable oven packaging. It’s so cute that sometimes we keep the boxes just for decoration.
This mellow Yunnan tea is a golden blend that grows organically in southern China. We love this blend because of its soft and earthy flavor, especially with some cream and sugar.
This mellow tea is a gentle way to ease into a slow morning. Its high caffeine content means that you’ll get a calm wake-up while enjoying its light taste and smooth texture.
Another Earl Grey tea? You know it! We’d be kicking ourselves if we didn’t recommend this amazing Earl blend to our favorite tea drinkers.
Inspired by the City of Love itself, this tea is blended to make you fall in love. Whether it’s with your current read, your cozy kitchen, or your morning routine, love is in the air.
This beautiful blend includes bergamot, black tea, lavender, and vanilla for a silky smooth blend that will hopefully make your morning. But don’t just take our word for it — try it for yourself!
Stash Tea’s third tea in this lineup is a delicious take on the classic Lady Grey tea. Similar to Earl Grey, this Lady Grey combines black tea with bergamot and a delicate citrus twist.
This tea is wonderful for fans of the classic Earl Grey. With bergamot oil, orange oil, and orange peel, this taste is far from subtle. The orange flavor is bold and takes center stage, while lemon oil creates a slight citrus note that adds depth and flavor.
Basically, this tea is Earl Grey to the max.
Nepal Tea is a tea manufacturer that controls the process from start to finish. They grow, prepare, blend, and sell their own tea. This means that you aren’t just drinking a cup of tea — you’re sharing a vision.
This Masala Chiyah combines Orthodox, CTC black tea, and homemade masala spice mix for a warm blend that is made for summer nights. Black tea creates a strong base in this blend while cinnamon, cardamom, and clove take front and center.
In case you don’t know, CTC (crush, tear, curl) refers to a special tea processing technique where oxidized black tea leaves are crushed using mechanical rollers. The tea ends up in small pieces, which helps the leaves to fully oxidize.
Summing It Up
Besides being highly caffeinated and rich in flavor, black tea is also full of antioxidants and other health benefits.
One of the best parts about black tea is that there are just so many flavor varieties! You can find anything from peach to almonds to marigold in your cup of tea, and the flavor combinations are endless.
If you’d like more options for black tea, try taking our tea quiz. Our tea quiz helps pair you with the best teas, which we’ll mail to your doorstep each month in a personalized tea box. Talk about varie-tea!
Black Tea Shop
Discover the best black teas as rated by Sips by's 750,000 tea-loving Members. From loose leaf black tea to bagged black tea, flavored black tea to unflavored black tea, these are the best black teas from different tea brands around the world. Find your favorite black tea, from Earl Grey to English breakfast to chai to Darjeeling and Assam, with the caffeine you need to jump start your day. No matter the type of black tea you're searching for, Sips by has options you'll love.
About Sips by: We’re a female-founded and led startup that makes discovering tea fun, personalized, and affordable. The Sips by Box is the only multi-brand, personalized tea subscription box. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Based out of Austin, Texas, we are adept at savoring a hot mug even when it’s seasonally inappropriate.