How to Choose the Best Black Tea for You

Black tea is one of the most popular types of tea, and is a common gateway into the world of tea for beginner tea drinkers. Whether you drink black tea on a daily basis and are interested in expanding your tea collection, or if you’re new to tea and aren’t sure where to start, we have plenty of black tea options to choose from.

Our Loose Leaf Black Teas

1 of 3

Choosing a classic black tea

Classic black teas are made from the camellia sinensis tea plant, and don’t contain any added flavors or ingredients. These classic teas are fully oxidized, which turns the leaves a blackish-brown color. They tend to be full-bodied and moderate to high in caffeine.

If you want: a robust, high caffeine black tea

Hearty black teas that are high in caffeine are a great choice if you’re looking for a tea to start the day with. They’re also a great base for making tea lattes and milk tea. Indian black teas tend to be more robust than Chinese black teas. Here are our top picks for high caffeine black teas:

1. Assam Black Tea

Our organic Assam is a robust black tea with tremendous flavor. This 2nd flush tea has a grade of FBOP (Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe). It brews up a rich coppery color with a full body, hints of malt and toast, and moderate astringency. Assam is high in caffeine, containing about half as much per cup as coffee.

2. Irish Breakfast Black Tea

Our organic Irish Breakfast makes a rich cup of tea that’s sure to get you going in the morning. This stout, robust blend of Assam, Ceylon, and Tanzanian teas creates a full-bodied, malty tea that pairs well with milk and sugar.

3. English Breakfast Black Tea

An aromatic English Breakfast blend of high-grown Ceylon leaves, fine Assam, and robust Tanzanian teas. It is slightly lighter than Irish Breakfast, with toasty, malty notes and a nice natural sweetness.

Shop All Black Teas >>>

If you want: a mellow, medium-caffeine black tea

Chinese black teas are a great choice if you’re looking for black teas with a medium body, nuanced flavor, and moderate caffeine. Chinese black teas are typically produced from the camellia sinensis var. sinensis tea varietal, which has a slightly lower caffeine content than the Indian camellia sinensis var. assamica varietal.

1. China Keemun Black Tea

Grown in China's Anhui Province, China Keemun has a medium body and brews up a beautiful amber red. This tea has smokey, toasty notes and slight astringency.

2. Golden Yunnan Black Tea

Gold Yunnan is a bright, coppery tea from the famous Yunnan province of China. This tea brews into a soft, rounded cup with pleasant, slightly peppery notes, and is a wonderful example of a high-grade Chinese black tea with abundant golden tips. Like other Chinese black teas, it’s mild enough to enjoy on its own without any milk or sweetener.

3. Vietnamese Golden Tips Black Tea

From the Ha Giang Province in northern Vietnam, our Vietnamese Golden Tips is grown and produced at a family-run estate near the Cao Bo mountain, at an elevation of 4,600 feet. This tea is harvested from Shan Tuyet heritage tea trees that are over 50 years old. The light brown leaves have abundant golden tips, and brew into a beautiful copper-colored cup. Smooth, yet full-bodied and aromatic, the taste is lightly floral with hints of caramel.

If you want: something unique

We carry many unique, hard-to-find black teas that stand out from the crowd. If you’re looking to expand your tea repertoire or try something new, these teas are great options.

1. Nepalese Gold Black Tea

Grown in the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal, Nepalese Gold is a rich and mellow black tea with notes of honey and stone fruit, mild astringency, and a clean finish. This award-winning tea is a lovely reddish-golden hue and brews up into a flavorful and well-balanced cup.

2. Japanese Wakoucha Black Tea

Wakoucha is a rare black tea produced in Japan. It is a mild tea with a medium body, notes of honey and spice, and a smooth finish with just a hint of astringency.

3. Nigiri Black Tea

A strong organic black tea from southwest India. Nilgiri is a region that's rapidly becoming known for rich, well-rounded teas with intensely fragrant aromas. The environmental conditions in Nilgiri are perfect for growing quality, full-bodied teas.

4. Lapsang Souchong Black Tea

Our organic Lapsang Souchong is a smoky, aromatic tea with a smooth, crisp character. Reminiscent of woodsmoke or even expensive cigars, this classic tea has a hint of natural sweetness and is perfect to curl up with on a cool day. Like a campfire in a cup!

Shop Our Black Tea Collection >>>

Choosing a flavored black tea

In addition to classic, unflavored black tea, black teas also come in a variety of flavored blends with added herbs and spices. Popular flavored blends include Masala Chai, Apricot Brandy, and Vanilla Velvet.

If you want: a fragrant, spiced black tea

Spiced black teas are flavored with spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. These blends are rich, aromatic, and go great with a splash of milk and honey.

1. Masala Chai Black Tea

This traditional chai blend includes cinnamon, cardamom, ginger root, and cloves, all blended in perfect proportion with a premium Ceylon tea. Add milk and honey for the classic drink, or try it alone for a spicier cup.

2. Solstice Spice Black Tea

A spicy blend of black tea with apple, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, orange slices, and pink pepper – with a taste reminiscent of the holidays. A classic spiced tea!

3. Chimayo Chai Black Tea

When you’re in New Mexico, you quickly learn that chile is part of the culture here. Our Chimayo Chai honors that tradition by including just enough crushed red chile flakes in our chai tea to add the right amount of heat! Enjoy it in the classic way as a sweet, milky chai—or, if you’re brave, try it straight for a fiery cup.

If you want: something fruity

Fruity black teas are flavored with fruits like apricots, peaches, oranges, and more. These teas are great hot, and also make excellent iced teas.

1. Apricot Brandy Black Tea

Organic apricot pieces and natural brandy flavor give this black tea blend a delicious full flavor and luscious sweetness. An aromatic and visually appealing blend, it’s also our best selling flavored tea.

2. Ginger Peach Black Tea

In our Ginger Peach tea, the spicy character of ginger is mellowed perfectly by the sweetness of peaches. A smooth, classic black tea with a bright, flavorful taste that’s refreshing served hot or iced.

3. Pomegranate Lemon Black Tea

This enlivening blend of pomegranate and lemon is equal parts sweet and tart, and it's naturally loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C. A crisp, tasty black tea that is refreshing hot or iced.

If you want: something sweet

While these black teas don’t actually contain any sweeteners, they’re flavored with ingredients like cacao nibs that are naturally sweet. Like dessert in a cup!

1. Vanilla Velvet Black Tea

Vanilla Velvet brews up into a decadent cup of rich vanilla tea with a full body, and buttery, slightly floral notes. This tea is great on its own or with a splash of milk.

2. Coco Loco Black Tea

Our Coco Loco tea is a velvety smooth and decadently rich treat! We've blended organic black tea with organic shredded coconut and organic cacao nibs for a delicious drink that is rich, chocolatey, and naturally sweet.

Our Most Popular Black Teas >>>

Black tea caffeine content

Black teas tend to be high in caffeine, containing about half as much caffeine as coffee per cup. The caffeine content present in tea is influenced by several factors, including:

  • Tea varietal - Black tea can be produced from either the indigenous Chinese or Indigenous Indian tea varietal. The Indian varietal tends to be slightly higher in caffeine.
  • Leaf size - The smaller the leaf size, the higher the caffeine content tends to be, since the tea is more concentrated. Many black teas are produced using the CTC or cut-tear-crush method, which results in a smaller broken leaf.
  • Water temperature - The hotter the water, the more caffeine will be present in your tea. We recommend preparing black tea using boiling water.
  • Steep time - The longer you steep your tea, the higher in caffeine it will be. We recommend infusing black teas for about three to five minutes.

Black tea benefits

Like other types of tea produced from the camellia sinensis tea plant, black tea has a variety of health benefits. These include:

  • Boosts energy
  • Helps with focus
  • Supports immune system
  • Helps with digestion
  • A lower-caffeine alternative to coffee
  • Helps keep you hydrated
  • It tastes good!

Preparing black teas

To brew black teas, we recommend heating your water until it reaches a full boil (approximately 212 degrees.) Use one teaspoon of tea leaves for every six ounces of water in your pot or cup, and infuse your tea leaves for about three to five minutes. If you like a stronger black tea, you should time your infusion closer to five minutes, and stick closer to three minutes if you like a mellower cup.

As with all of our loose leaf teas, we recommend using a teapot, tea infuser, or tea filter to give the tea leaves enough room to expand as the tea steeps.

Shop All Black Teas >>>

FAQs about black teas

What is the best black tea for milk tea?

From Hong Kong milk tea to boba to a classic British cuppa, milk tea can take many forms. Rich, hearty black teas like Assam and English Breakfast often make great bases for milk tea, since they're robust enough to stand up to milk and sweetener.

What is the best black tea for iced tea?

Enjoying black tea iced is a great way to cool off on warm summer afternoons. We recommend experimenting with fruity black teas when making iced tea. Blends like Summer Romance, Ginger Peach, and Lemon Mint Menage are all exceptional when served over ice.

What is the best black tea for chai?

Black tea is blended with spices for a classic chai blend. You can enjoy pre-mixed blends like our Masala Chai, which includes Indian black tea and chai spices like cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. If you'd prefer to mix your own spice spend at home, you can add chai spices to a robust black tea like Irish Breakfast or Star of India.

Read more:

Back to blog

All Loose Leaf Black Teas

We recommend: