Readers request: high tea

If tea drinking were an Olympic Sport, I’d have broken Michael Phelps’ medal record long ago.

So when readers ask about my favorite teas, it’s hard to answer in anything other than a full post.  So here’s the deal.


Fact: I drink a lot of tea. 


Connoisseur that I am, I go through my fair share of newbies on a regular basis.  There are just so friggin’ many, it would be a shame to miss out on what could be my tea next obsession due to a lack of taste testing.  And yet, there’s nothing worse than buying a box of 20 teabags only to try one and immediately realize it’s not that great.  As a result, my tea rotation is a delicate balance between my favorites and my firsts. 

But if there’s one thing that is certain, it’s my satisfaction with my repeat buys.  For me to purchase the same kind of tea over and over again means I’ve found a real winner.

The way I see it, I know teas the way Lindsay Lohan knows rehab facilities. 

Chai tea is my #1 love. 


Tazo is the best in this category.  Their Chai tea is spicy but subtle enough to taste all the other flavors too.  For the record, their decaf variety isn’t quite as good. 


Celestial Seasonings used to be a close runner up.  They have a few chai flavors including Honey Vanilla Chai and Vanilla Chai Spice (plus a decaf one).  But I am boycotting the brand ever since I watched The Cove and discovered they are a SeaWorld sponsor.  I don’t do these companies anymore.  It’s sad to lose a delicious tea that I used to buy on a weekly basis, but I just can’t do it.  My $ may not make a difference in the company’s revenue, but it makes a difference to me.  Anyway. 


Yogi makes a decent alternative in Mayan Cocoa Spice.  It’s definitely rich and bold, but it’s not overly spicy. 


Peet’s makes a Masala Chai tea but it’s a bit strong for me.

Good Earth’s Chai tea is even stronger (as in spicy).  I can only tolerate it with a 30 second steep. 


As for Green tea…I think Newman’s Own really has the best bang for your buck. 


Their Organic Green Royal tea is cheap in bulk and big in flavor.  Zip else interests me for this reason.  Plus, as a company, Newman’s Own Organics is outstanding (they donate all profits – over $300 million – to charities in the US and abroad). 


[Yes, sometimes I make tea with a ton of non-dairy milk]

Flavored green tea varieties are also a nice change up though…and for those I look to Numi


Numi’s Jasmine Green, Ginger Sun, and White Orange Spice are yummy twists on a classic. 


Numi actually has several great flavors and if I were to try and pick a favorite brand this would be a major contender.  To be honest, I’ve never tried a Numi tea I didn’t like!


They are a local company (from Oakland), hence the soft spot in my heart, but they also make exceptional teas.  They’re organic with eco-responsible packaging (bamboo boxes, compostable and biodegradable filter-paper tea bags, etc.).


Numi also makes Puerh teas that I’ve come to adore.  Pronounced poo-er (I know), the tea is known to aid in digestion and weight management.  The Magnolia Puerh is a really light green tea with flowery notes. 


The Chocolate Puerh is exceptionally stellar.  When milk is added it tastes like hot chocolate.  A great dessert tea.  Or a dessert on it’s own.  It’s heavenly.


Yogi is another pantry force to be reckoned with.  As I already shared above, the Mayan Cocoa Spice is a staple in the apartment. 


Stomach Ease and Peach DeTox are also always on supply.  The first is good, but the second is a hippie essential. 


I mean it.  Essential.


The Vanilla Spice Perfect Energy is a new flavor that debuted at Expo West.  I loved it from the first sip.  Despite the word “energy” in the name, it’s only lightly caffeinated so it doesn’t make you shaky (just alert).  And it tastes great. 

In terms of loose leaf teas, I have tried several, but none have satisfied me as much as Peet’s teas. 


I use my French press to make big batches (maybe 3-4 cups) of English Breakfast (caffeinated) and Lung Ching Dragonwell Green tea (decaf).

And then there’s Tazo

Their chai flavor is a total gem and seems to be out of stock constantly, which means others feel the same way. 

Other top teas by Tazo include: Decaf Chai, Earl Grey, Green Ginger, Passion, Organic Apple Red (seasonal?) and Honeybush. 


I normally dislike herbal teas (because I don’t like mint or chamomile, and they are usually in most herbal teas), however, Tazo even manages to offer up an exception in this area. 


Every once in a while I splurge and buy The Mighty Leaf teas, which are fantastic, but also on the more most expensive end of the spectrum.


There’s organic Earl Grey, which is bold and caffeine packed. 


Then there’s Green Tea Tropical which is not really as fruity as it sounds.  I don’t brew it as long as it recommends because it tends to get bitter (sometimes I forget that I’m steeping teas and leave them too long).


Organic African Nectar has a really intense flavor and I almost always add milk to mellow it out. 


In any event, I like that Might Leaf’s teas come in loose leaf satchets, give the brew time, and tell you how caffeinated it is. 

That’s it as far as brand loyalties go…the rest of my tea sipping is simply random.


But inspirational messages on the tea strings do win extra favor in my eyes. 


Are you a tea drinker?  What are your favorite flavors and/or brands? 

Do you add milk?  Sugar? 

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Comments (67)

  1. Adara

    I have always been a “tea granny” as my family would say. Ever since I was little I have loved snuggling up with a steaming mug. My favorite used to be peppermint, but I love pretty much anything, though Stash’s “Licorice Spice” is a definite favorite of mine. Sometimes I add a little sugar, but mostly I just drink it as is.

  2. Karien

    I heart teas! My favourite brand down here in SA is My-T-Chai (corny, I know). They make two types I really LOVE: Green Rooibos Chai and Plain Rooibos Chai. (Have you ever tried Rooibos tea? Indigenous to SA – healthy, caffiene free – love it!). I also love Freshpak’s Green Rooibos and Lemongrass flavour. All of the above with honey, of course :), and no milk. Love!!!

  3. Laura Agar Wilson (@keephealthstyle)

    I love tea, my favourite being green and spiced flavours. My favourites are Yogi green chai and sweet chilli. My absolute favourite tea ever is a green tea and almond variety from Kusmi Tea, its amazing! I also love amaretto black tea and sencha cherry green. Ok now I’m just listing all my faves and could go on for ages! Loved this post though!

  4. Lenna

    I love teas! I drink like 4 litres daily:) My fave brand is Yogi, their licorice tea is awesome!! And the lotus flavour is also pretty stelllar:)

  5. Carey @ Positively Blonde

    This is great and so helpful! I’m usually a tea drinker just because I like to avoid caffeine. I love Tazo and Yogi teas but I will have to give those other brands a try. Thanks 🙂

  6. Kathy

    Do you have a favorite tea for iced tea? Summer’s coming…

  7. Evan Thomas

    I’m not a big tea drinker, but the one I can’t get enough of is Good Earth’s sweet and spicy red tea. It’s the best. I drink it without milk or sugar as an after meal tea.

  8. Abby

    I love tea! In the colder weather, I love having an Earl Grey with steamed milk or a Chai of some sort. In the warmer weather, I love teas that have fruity notes.

  9. Lindsey

    This post is great! I’m always looking for new tea to try.

    I just bought the Tazo chai for the first time this week and I’m loving it. I like Yogi tea and it’s made locally (Eugene, OR) so that’s a bonus. I haven’t had many Peet’s teas but I have the earl grey right now and it’s really good. And I LOVE Mighty Leaf teas but I rarely buy them because they are expensive.

    I’m grocery shopping today and I think I’ll try the Numi brand. I have never had it before. Thanks for all the suggestions!

  10. Red Deception

    I am a huge fan os Yogi tea, my fav is the Green Tea Kombucha – sweet with a green tea kick.

    I am a tea hog myself – I ca never get enough, even on a hot summer day!

  11. Tamar

    Hi Elise! Great post. If you love chai, you NEED to try Zhena’s Gypsy Tea brand of Coconut Chai. To me, it tastes like the chai I had in India (once you add milk and sugar, of course!). You can get it at Cost Plus World Market – and probably Whole Foods too.

    Also, have you ever tried making your own chai with spices and black tea? I like to do it with the following ingredients: 5 whole green cardamom pods, 5 cloves, 20 whole black peppercorns, 20 fennel seeds, 2-3 crushed bay leaves, 1/2 cinnamon stick. I use 1 P&G tips teabag with this mix. Just put everything in a pot with a few cups of water (depending on how strong you want it) and bring to a boil. Then just strain all the ingredients out, add milk and sweetener and enjoy!

  12. Patty

    Mayan Cocoa Spice is DA BOMB. Seriously, my life blood. Also, I love Yogi’s Kava Stresss RElief tea. Yogi has such interestin’ flavas.

    But I got two words for you, my tea loving friend. TULSI TEA. Try their rose flavor. It is OUT. OF. THIS. WORLD. Just crazy tea flavor. I’m not sure where you can get it – Probably Whole Foods or some natural foods store. I always get it as a present because it’s kind of expensive. But seriously.

  13. Janice

    I love teas! My favorite brands are yogi (skin detox) tazo(herbal) & tea republic (blueberry flavors). The only flavor I like of Traditional Medicinal tea is Eater’s digest. Like it more than stomach ease, simply because I love minty flavor. 🙂

  14. Roxie J

    Have you tried Stash Tea? My fave

  15. lou

    omg, thank you for mentioning that fact about celestial seasonings, i had no idea! and now, i will never buy their tea again!!

    the republic of tea makes this amazing vanilla coconut white tea. so yum! and for digestion you should try dandelion root. traditional medicinals makes a nice one.

  16. *Andrea*

    i guess i visit your blog only in google reader, but i just noticed the layout and LOVE it!!!

    great tea review too! i love my tea with stevia and milk, but i feel like that makes me a tea wimp since i can’t drink it solo haha.

  17. melissa

    I’m strictly a just add hot water tea drinker. No milk. No sweetener. I have no idea why.

    A tea that I love (the tea, not the name) is Yogi’s Green Tea Blueberry Slim Life. It taste amazingly fruity on its own. I want to make iced tea out of it for a cook out. Yum!

    Loved this post. Always looking for reviews of teas so I don’t waste $.

  18. Lee

    You know, I have that peach detox tea in my cabinet and I’ve never tried it. Might just have to do that now.

    Lately, I’ve been really enjoying Bigelow Peppermint with a spoonful of honey.

  19. Ailsa

    I don’t normally comment…just read along quietly. But as I tea addict I had to comment. I’m british so my main form of tea consumed is your regular English tea (not early grey)…. best made is a teapot and the milk goes in your cup before the tea! I am a stereotype. If something goes wrong/right/nothing happens I head for the kettle. But I am also open to green and white teas. My favourite green tea is green tea with pineapple and grapefruit from twinings. I also had an amazing peach tea at a friends that I am desperately trying to get hold of. All in all I’m a tea addict. I almost always have a mug attached to my had… in fact I’m going to go brew a pot now.

  20. Sarah

    Love tea! Thanks for this great post. Sometimes have it with milk, never with sugar. I love peppermint and ginger teas; standard but amazing. I’m going to have to try Chai tea, I’m not a fan of the fruity teas, they just taste a bit “non”.


  21. Amy

    A good herbal tea that I like is Stash Lemon Ginger. I’m not sure if they are part of any of the companies you boycott, but Stash has some great teas! 🙂

  22. Elise (Post author)

    hi ailsa, thanks for commenting 🙂 i completely agree with your prep. my tea has to be made in a teapot with the milk added first. its the best thing to turn to when im stressed. thanks for sharing!

  23. Elise (Post author)

    that is one reallllly long tea name! im adding to my “to-try” list

  24. Elise (Post author)

    thanks andrea! that how i like my tea (most of them) so i dont think youre a wimp 🙂

  25. Elise (Post author)

    wow that sounds stellar. thanks for the rec!

  26. Elise (Post author)

    no but im gonna look into it now, thanks!

  27. Elise (Post author)

    ooooo…thanks for the recommendation!

  28. Elise (Post author)

    so that recipe is for one cup of tea? this may be my next experiment.

  29. Elise (Post author)

    oh nice! i had rooibos once in a cafe, but i cant remember how it tasted. im sure i liked it though. ill look into the ones you mentioned. anything chai im game for!

  30. Elise (Post author)

    please, a list is welcomed. with all the stuff on the shelves its definitely helpful to narrow it down! thank you 🙂

  31. Elise (Post author)

    hey kathy, not sure if you got my initial response (still working out the kinks with the new blog), but kyle generally makes lipton’s sweet tea in bulk for iced tea in the warm weather.

  32. Elise (Post author)

    i wanted so badly to stop at the yogi manufacturing place when we were driving through portland last summer. yum yum yum. they have such good teas.

  33. Elise (Post author)

    i agree. i have to be in a distinct mood for fruity teas. the only one i really like is passion by tazo. its great iced too.

  34. Elise (Post author)

    youre the second person to recommend stash tea. methinks i have to try it soon!

  35. Tamar

    It definitely makes more than one cup. Just depends on how many cups of water you use. I use about 2-4 cups and then it makes about 2-3 servings of tea.

  36. Marissa

    I only got into tea last winter because I was FREEZING all the time! But now that its warmer, I don’t really find myself craving it as much. But lately, if my stomach is bothering me late at night, I’ve been making some herbal peppermint tea that I love. And it really does make my tummy feel better.

  37. Yolie @ Practising Wellness

    Wow, this is such a comprehensive selection of teas that you’ve covered! It’s amazing! Love it 🙂 I live in England so we have different brands than you guys in the USA, but I’m completely with you on the inspirational messages – I would buy the tea bags just for that! Like a fortune cookie, but better, lol! 😛
    You and I have opposite tastes though – I adore mint tea. My favourite make is Pukka tea, here in the UK (they do lots of lovely chai varieties for you!) and also Starbucks has recently introduced the most wonderful chamomile tea which has real flowers in it! I love it! <3 One thing I can't stand in tea? Licorice! Eeeeeew! 🙂 xyx

  38. Yolie @ Practising Wellness

    PS: Thank you for the info about the Cove – that was such a horrifying, disturbing documentary, but at the same time, so thought-provoking and awakening because of it. I had no idea about celestial seasonings supporting sea world, and although I love their Sleepytime teabags I will not longer buy them, because I agree completely with your stance. That is why I love blogs, you can learn so much! It was only through blogs that I saw The Cove too…I love the sharing of knowledge and experience 🙂 xyx

  39. BroccoliHut

    I am a huge tea drinker! I love Mighty Leaf in general, but particularly their Orange Dulce. Right now I’m really digging Bigelow’s Vanilla Chai–excellent with just a few drops of vanilla stevia!

  40. Kathy

    I did see it. Thanks!

  41. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli

    I ALWAYS keep Yogi Ginger tea in stock! It’s the best for settling an “off” tummy and so far I think it’s the best ginger tea I’ve had. Good flavor without the burn!

    I also love the Blueberry and Mandarin Orange from Celestial Seasonings!

    And I’m a purist all the way! No milk or sugar for me!

  42. Paula

    I second that Laura! Kusmi tea is legit gourmet tea I highly recommend if you want something a little extra special. I have not yet tried their green tea yet – my favorite is loose leaf Prince Vladimir: black tea flavored with citrus, vanilla, and spices, it is to die for!

    For a more everyday tea, I can vouch for Republic of Tea bagged teas. I don’t think I’ve tried a flavor I didn’t like but my favorite is Earl Greyer (dare I say its better than Tazo?!)

  43. Elise (Post author)

    oh wow. better than tazo means i MUST try it. thanks paula!

  44. Elise (Post author)

    awesome. i think im going to give this a try!

  45. tt in nyc

    I had to chime in since no one has said anything about “traditional medicinal” brand teas……and they have a tea for every ailment! Their stomach soother (I think that’s the name) and throat coat teas are always on hand for when I’m under the weather- I first got hooked at a hippie health food shop in santa cruz but they’re popular now, all organic, not too expensive and they work!!

  46. Elise (Post author)

    thanks tt!

  47. Becky

    Tea lover here! When I was a kid and went to my grandma’s house in the country, I couldn’t stand the taste of her water (well water), so the only thing I could drink was her Bigelow Constant Comfort with lots of sugar and creamer. So I’ve been drinking tea for a long time.

    I don’t care for Constant Comment any more, but I love Tazo Wild Sweet Orange and Bigelow Peppermint. I really drink more black tea than anything and recently discovered the Trader Joe’s brand. Yum!

    Also, I didn’t know about Celestial Seasonings. Bummer. I’ll have to try a different chai brand – maybe Tazo, like you suggest.

  48. Becky

    Another thing – when I was in college (oh, so many years ago), I had to put together a senior art show for my major. My show was all about coffee and tea. One of my pieces was an area rug made from empty Bigelow tea bag wrappers. Then I used the tea bags as my invitations to the show, replacing the flags with the show details.

    Expensive “art” supplies, but I was set for teabags for months!

  49. Becky

    I meant Constant Comment in my first paragraph, not Constant Comfort. D’oh!

  50. Jennifer

    I second the recommendation for Zhena’s coconut chai, the smell alone is pretty much the best thing on the planet.

    also, a brand I cant quite remember (something evolution? Evolution organics? White boxes, with a really pretty picture of whatever plant is in the tea) made a Honeybush caramel tea that I haven’t been able to find for too long that was amazing.

  51. Jennifer

    Their peppermint tea is amazing iced. Its been a summer staple for me forever

  52. Tamar

    Oh yes. It’s Revolution Tea. I love that Honeybush Caramel flavor too! It’s a rooibos tea, I think. And you can find it at Whole Foods. Not sure all Whole Foods stores carry it, but I have bought it at the one in Pasadena.

  53. Katherina @ Zephyr Runs

    Yay a tea post!!! I work at a teahouse and love me some tea diversity. Herbal teas are actually my favorite kind of teas because I’m not a huge caffeine fan. One of my favorite is actually a chamomile, peppermint + rooibos which is delicious despite the fact that I, like you, am not a huge chamomile or mint fan! I love all kinds of herbal blends though…probably my favorite herbal blend ever is cinnamon chips, roses, red raspberry leaf & orange peel. So yum. I’m surrounded by looseleaf tea and tend to seek it out (through mountain rose herbs, teavana, persimmon tree tea) but have nothing against tea bags and ought to explore that realm!

  54. Katherina @ Zephyr Runs

    Your post also reminded me of the tea scene from Scott Pilgrim 🙂

  55. Elise (Post author)

    that herbal blend sounds so good (the cinnamon one, not the peppermint one)! looseleaf teas are definitely more fragrant and flavorful, and i should try them more often when im home. the problem is i drink so much tea at work i really need to have them in bag form (and a lot of them). thanks for sharing!

  56. Elise (Post author)

    hahahaha….great video!!! thanks for the link 🙂

  57. Becky (have turtle will travel)

    I’m so behind seeing this, but I am another big time tea drinker, even more so since coffee and I are not getting along so well these days. Twinings English Breakfast with sugar is just right for me, but like you, I like a variety. I drink a good bit of mint when my belly is unsettled. I have to say, I was completely disappointed in WF’s 360 brand mint herbal tea. I’m not a big herbal drinker either, except for the mint, but this barely has flavor. Spend a few bucks more for any of the better brands. Glad to see so many other tea lovers!

  58. Elise (Post author)

    sorry about you and coffee (ive been off the java train for a few months now, but tea will always be my heart and soul).
    i dont like mint at all, so i use ginger flavors to soothe my stomach.
    isnt it great having so many recommendations for tea here!! i always refer back to this page when im in the mood for something new.
    btw, i just got 365 organic black tea to try, so ill let you know how it is.

  59. Carly

    where do you buy your yogi tea? I can’t seem to find it at my grocery store (harris teeter) or target

  60. Elise (Post author)

    i get it at whole foods.

  61. Pingback: Iced tea & grazing

  62. Molly Geil

    I love tea – I drink a lot of it. My favorite is Arbonne detox tea. I also eat a plant based diet. I live in Reno and love all things fitness, nutrition and creative in the kitchen – Love meeting like minded people

  63. Elise (Post author)

    good to meet you molly 🙂
    i didnt know arbonne made tea!

  64. molly geil

    and an awesome vegan protein too….loving your recipes ~ make it a great day!

  65. Karen

    You can also purchase the Revolution Teas at their website if you can’t find them locally.

  66. Karen

    Love Stash teas also…full of flavor.

  67. Karen

    I follow the low-FODMAP diet as a result of fructose malabsorption. When it comes to tea drinking, I discovered I was drinking some varieties that had chicory/inulin as an ingredient which is a no-no for FODMAP’ers. So if this is a problem for you…read those labels carefully. Happy sipping!

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