Black tea is such a gigantic category, encompassing everything from fruit-flavored teas to Chai. And we can’t forget about artisanally crafted containers of loose leaf tea! We knew we wouldn’t be able to taste every single type, style, and flavor of black tea, so we narrowed it down. For this specific taste test, we only tried unflavored varieties that explicitly call themselves “black tea” on the label and come in a tea bag. If you want an even deeper dive, stay tuned for more tea taste tests in the future!
Davin Tjen, senior segment producer for Good Mythical Morning, insisted on joining us for this black tea taste test because he’s a tea lover and self-proclaimed expert. We were happy to have him help us taste all the black teas we could round up. These were our top five.
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- Lipton Black Tea Bags
If you’re looking for the best standard black tea that’s available pretty much anywhere, Lipton undeniably takes that spot. It’s not the fanciest tea on the market or the most beautifully packaged; it is, however, wonderfully affordable and utilitarian. It has a standard, lightly bitter black tea flavor that makes it taste great hot or iced. It would also make an ideal base for an Arnold Palmer, homemade bubble tea, or a tea-based cocktail. These trusty tea bags can do no wrong!
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Rite Aid
- Celestial Seasonings Energy Tea Black Tea
This tea surprised everyone on the Sporked staff. Fellow staff writer Danny Palumbo was taken aback by its pungent flavor, and I was shocked by how much I loved it! This energizing tea is sweet, vanilla-y, and citrusy without an overpowering cinnamon or clove flavor. You would not need to add anything at all to this tea because it’s already bringing notes of honey and lemon. I also love that there’s no string attached to the tea satchel, making it more sustainable (my least favorite component of tea bags is the excess garbage). This Celestial Seasonings tea is a winner on all fronts. I brought the box home with me and now I start my day with it!
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Walmart
- O Organics Black Tea
The biggest selling point for O Organics Black Tea is the lack of bitterness. It packs a ton of natural tea flavor without being too earthy. It’s great on its own for the black tea purists who don’t like too many tastes in their tea. A splash of whole milk and a spoonful of sugar would be welcome additions to your mug of O Organics. I like to have this tea with honey and cream at night because it’s calming (for some reason caffeine has no effect on me).
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Albertsons
- Twinings Lady Grey Black Tea
I am convinced that there is no fancier name than Twinings Lady Grey Black Tea. It’s so mysterious and elegant. Who is Lady Grey? She sounds like a pearl necklace-wearing rich lady from Downton Abbey (to be honest I don’t watch that show, but that’s the vibe this name gives off). And luckily, the tea lives up to its luxurious name. It’s very citrusy and herbal without being overwhelming. Davin made sure to call dibs on this tea as soon as we tasted it.
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Amazon
- Signature Select Black Tea
If you’re looking for something like Lipton at a lower price point, grab a box of Signature Select Black Tea. It’s mild and comforting and costs almost nothing. If you’re making iced tea in bulk for a big family barbecue, Signature Select is your friend. Its flavor is simple, with no orange peel or rosemary essence to distract from the essence of the product: black tea. This would be great for a pitcher of southern-style sweet tea, just make sure to follow your grandma’s recipe.
Credit: Sarah Demonteverde / Vons
Best of the Best
Best for Mornings
Best for Add-Ins
Other Products We Tried: Twinings black tea variety pack, Bigelow “Constant Comment” Black Tea, Signature Kitchens Black Tea, 365 Black Tea, Allegro Organic Decaf Black Tea, First Street Black Tea, Sprouts Black Tea, Kroger Black Tea, Benner Black Tea
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Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!
More tea tests in the future? Sign me up! Let me know if you need someone out east in NC to taste test teas for you. (FYI – that’s a tongue twister!) My teacher friends and I have tea time in my third grade classroom first period on Thursdays during the school year. I’d love to see some rankings on breakfast teas – English, Irish, Scottish, Canadian…the first cup of the day has a job to do. The cups after that are to be savored…or used as stress relief while teaching third graders about unit fractions.
Twinings Earl Grey and Chai are some of my favorites. Allegro tea is also a stand out for me!
When it comes to tea, I swear by August Uncommon. its the best flavored tea in the world as far as I’m concerned. They have some wonderful black tea blends that i think you all might enjoy.
My favorite black tea is Twinings Price of Wales tea.