10 Best English Teas | March 2017

We spent 30 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Tea contains loads of antioxidants and is a great lower-caffeine option to coffee. If you want the best tasting blends, try one of these English teas, made from black leaves rather than the Orange Pekoe used in typical American teas. Skip to the best english tea on Amazon.
10 Best English Teas | March 2017


Overall Rank: 6
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
★★★★★
Overall Rank: 9
Best Inexpensive
★★★
10
Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Gold tea is a beloved favorite of discerning tea drinkers the world over. It features a full-bodied, malty flavor balanced with a warm, orange liquor taste. But the steeping process is cumbersome.
9
The Harney and Sons Organic tea is a good way to jump-start your day. This box includes individually-wrapped sachets with ingredients sourced from only the most reputable and established estates and gardens throughout Asia and India.
8
The Bigelow English Teatime tea is made from a combination of hand-picked tea leaves and the rind of both oranges and sweet spice. Its individual, flavor-protecting envelopes also ensure great taste and freshness.
7
Good for experienced tea enthusiasts who like to dictate their own tea strength, the Positively Tea Organic English Breakfast comes as a 1-pound bag of loose-leaf tea that can steep in under 3 minutes at 212 degrees.
  • nice, red-gold color when brewed
  • has l-theanine which promotes relaxation
  • the bag tends to contain a lot of twigs
Brand Positively Tea LLC.
Model pending
Weight 1.1 pounds
6
Decent for restaurant use, the Stash Black Tea includes 100 separate tea bags offering a classic blend of Ceylon, Assam, Nilgiri, and Keemun black teas from all over the world. But the quality control on shipping needs improvement.
  • blended in the usa
  • tea is kosher certified
  • flavor is a bit weaker than competition
Brand Stash Tea
Model 79080
Weight 16 ounces
5
The Twinings English Breakfast Tea is a relatively bright amber tea that delivers a robust, invigorating flavor. This tea can be enjoyed with or without milk and either sweetened or unsweetened, depending on your preference.
  • natural source of antioxidants
  • company dates back to 1706
  • a bit pricey for only 6 boxes
Brand Twinings
Model 05331
Weight 2.9 pounds
4
The Tetley British Blend Premium Black tea includes 80 individual round teabags without strings or staples, making them easy and safe for microwave use. The tea comes from as many as 35 different countries and 10,000 unique estates.
  • bags steep in approximately 4 minutes
  • have 25% more tea than standard tea bags
  • customer service isn't very helpful
Brand Tetley
Model hhh-kyyy-tra-rat9600
Weight 3.2 pounds
3
As one of England's highest quality teas, the PG Tips Black Tea is made from the most flavorful top 2 leaves and bud on the tea plant. Each pyramid-shaped teabag acts as a mini teapot, giving the leaves ample room to move around.
  • harvested from leaves in ceylon & kenya
  • maintains healthy blood vessel function
  • has a very refreshing taste
Brand PG Tips
Model 10667803001053
Weight 3.9 pounds
2
Satisfy your desire for both a great cup of English Breakfast tea and an appreciation for art with the Ahmad London Telephone Box. Each tea bag in this collectible tin offers an eclectic blend of herbal and fruit-forward flavors.
  • 25 tea bags in all
  • tin can be reused for storage
  • very attractive design
Brand Ahmad
Model pending
Weight 6.4 ounces
1
The Tea Forte Presentation Box includes 20 handcrafted, pyramid-shaped tea infusers presented in luxurious, gold foil-lined wrappers. Each robust flavor has been selected from only the finest quality of organic black teas available.
  • tea comes from sustainable garden
  • flavors are rich and complex
  • tea is in whole-leaf form
Brand Tea Forte
Model pending
Weight 6.4 ounces

Tea's Only As Good As You Brew It

It's hard to qualify what it is about tea that is so soothing. There is nothing quite like taking a moment out of our busy day to sit and reflect over a hot cup of tea, no matter how you take it. Even in the warmer months, it serves a purpose, as a glass of iced tea with a little lemon might just be the most refreshing thing on the planet.

In England, tea is almost a religion. Spain has their siestas, the US has "that 2:30pm feeling," and England has tea time. Other cultures have specific rituals around teas, most notably the Japanese tea ceremony, but the British take it one step further by normalizing it among the populous.

That said, recent studies suggest that the Brits aren't particularly adept at making the teas about which they care so much. Perhaps, a little lesson is in order.

After tea leaves are plucked and processed, consumers either pick them up from the store in convenient tea bags or as loose tea, which they have to steep using a variety of available implements. The steeping process allows the dried up leaves to reconstitute themselves through heat and moisture, exchanging flavor and nutrient compounds with the boiling water.

The exact temperature of that water is of vital importance to the quality of your brew, as is the time your tea spends in its bath. For the English teas on our list, you'll want to boil water and let it sit for a moment, that it might cool down to roughly 200˚ F before you pour it over the bag. The steeping process after that ought to last a good four or five minutes if you want the full flavor of your brew. Also, do not add anything like milk or sugar until your brew is complete and you remove the tea from the water.

Taste Your Way To Tea Time

Choosing among teas is, more than most things you could spend time researching online, really a matter of taste. That said, there are certain characteristics you can look for in the description of a given tea that may or may not suit your palate. Additionally, you'll find yourself oscillating between a preference for bagged tea and loose tea on a pretty consistent basis, as both have their merits.

Starting there, most tea enthusiasts will tell you that there is no substitute for loose leaf tea. Scientifically, this tends to be true, as loose tea has more room to maneuver in the water, allowing for greater contact and more flavor. What's more, the leaves themselves are larger and less crudely processed than those you'll find in bags, which preserves more of the flavor compounds and more of the nutrients in your tea.

But bagged teas have come a long way, and since most of the teas on our list are bagged, we're going to confine the majority of our comments to comparing and contrasting their qualities. Just make sure you pick a brand that's processed carefully and that you brew it with a modicum of precision.

English teas traditionally have a strong, bold flavor to them, and their characteristics range along the increase in their cost from inexpensive, malty, and dense to lighter, more floral, and more expensive. Despite the differences in flavor, you'll find that the energy-inducing properties of the teas on our list–specifically their caffeine and theophylline counts–are more or less consistent.

A Long Time Brewing

You've got about as good of a chance deducing the origin of tea from scholarly anthropological research as you do from reading it in the tea leaves themselves. The drink, with its origins narrowed down to ancient China, has been with us for so long that its inventor and place of origin are unknown to us.

We do know that its use spread from southwestern China, around the borders with Burma in the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, sometime around 1500 BCE. Beyond that, we have only legend to account for the first encounter with the brew, and the legends abound.

One such legend states that an emperor sat in relaxation when some leaves blew off a nearby tree and landed in a cup of boiling water. Apparently, at the time, all the country had taken to boiling their water for sanitation. The heat allowed the leaves of this particular tree to expand and fill the cup with flavor.

Another legend centers around the Bodhisattva, the founder of Chan (A.K.A. Zen) Buddhism. This legend states that when the Buddha failed to remain in a meditation that had gone on for nine years, having fallen asleep, he awoke in disgust and cut off his own eyelids. When the Buddha's eyelids fell to the earth, they produced the first tea tree.

Whatever you believe, tea didn't make its way to the west until the 1660s, when King Charles II began importing it from China. The expansion of Great Britain's empire into India and China gave the U.K. unprecedented access to teas cultivated by cheap labor and slave labor, and under these deplorable circumstances, their pleasant afternoon ritual was born.



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Last updated: 03/26/2017 | Authorship Information

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