9 Best Loose Leaf Teas of 2020

Best Loose Leaf Teas
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The best loose leaf tea brands package their products with an abundance of healthy nutrients and antioxidants. But finding the best option for your taste pallet can be a long and arduous process. That’s where we come in.

After analyzing the taste, scent, and price of countless loose leaf teas, the best loose leaf tea overall is Dilmah Premium Ceylon Black Tea. While Dilmah ranked well in every category, tea comes in all different varieties — which is why we’ve curated the top flavors around. Check out this list to find your next go-to loose leaf tea. 

Our Top Picks: Best Loose Leaf Teas

Short on time? Check out our top picks:

  • Best Overall: Dilmah Premium Ceylon Black TeaDilmah’s teas are smooth, without sacrificing their robust and rich flavor. Their products are affordable and authentic, arriving at your home from the plantation in Sri Lanka. 
  • Best Green Tea: Harney & Sons Japanese Sencha Green TeaConsistently ranked among the best tea brands, Harney & Sons produces tasteful loose leaf tea at an affordable price. Their loose leaf green tea is one of the best on the market. 
  • Best Budget: Yorkshire GoldThe perfect morning wake up for those on a budget, Yorkshire Gold’s loose leaf teas are smooth without the bitterness commonly tasted in black teas. 
  • Best Earl Grey: Vahdam Earl Grey Tea LeavesWith rich aroma and a pleasantly smooth sip, Vahdam’s loose leaf teas are one of the reviewers’ favorites when it comes to earl greys. 
  • Best Decaffeinated: Davidson’s Decaf Black TeaFor those who love the taste of a fresh cup of tea but are sensitive to caffeine, Davidson’s offers decaf teas made through the organic CO2 method.
  • Best Luxury: Tea Forte Chamomile Citron Bulk Loose LeafIf price isn’t a concern, Tea Forte makes loose leaf tea that drinkers rave about. They have one of the best chamomile teas out there. 
  • Best Sample Set: Solstice Tea Traders Loose Leaf Sampler SetWhether it’s for a gift or your own enjoyment, Solstice’s Sampler Set is a cost-effective way to try a little bit of a lot of different flavors.
  • Best Fresh: Ghograjan Masala Chai Loose Leaf Tea. Ghograjan is expensive, but worth your time if you want the freshest tea possible. This tea is coming to you straight from the company’s plantation in India.
  • Best for Newbies: Tiesta Tea Loose Leaf Variety Pack. Finding the best flavor loose leaf tea as a new drinker is challenging. Tiesta’s loose leaf variety pack helps solve that problem. 

1. Dilmah Premium Ceylon Black Tea

The best loose leaf tea overall

Dilmah Tea

Brand: Dilmah / Type: Black tea / Amount: 400 grams / Origin: Sri Lanka / Price: 💰💰💰

This Sri Lankan family-owned tea company was founded by one of the world’s most renowned tea makers, Merrill J. Fernando. The loose leaf teas from Dilmah are unblended, making them some of the world’s freshest tea.

Along with being fresh tea, Dilmah also practices ethical production methods. Drinkers should note that this loose leaf resembles coffee grounds over traditional loose leaf, but that’s normal for this brand. That said, it’s best to use a strainer with tight holes to avoid a cup of tea with loose leaf sediment at the bottom. 

The best loose leaf black tea on the market.

  • Rich color 
  • Robust flavor
  • Tastes clean and fresh

  • No large tea leaves
  • Looks like coffee grounds
  • Very fine powder for a loose leaf

2. Harney & Sons Japanese Sencha Green Tea

The best loose leaf green tea

Harney Sons Tea The best loose leaf green tea

Brand: Harney & Sons / Type: Green tea / Amount: 227 grams / Origin: Japan / Price: 💰💰

Harney & Sons has consistently ranked among top tea brands. They produce a range of flavors, from matcha to oolong. With flavors like their Green Tea Blend (with hints of berry and coconut), there is certainly a loose leaf tea flavor here for every drinker.

For those seeking a tea to use as their ritual morning pick-me-up, Harney & Sons might be a good option as their teas tend to contain a higher caffeine content than many other brands. Traditionally, loose leaf sencha tea is expensive, but Harney & Sons price theirs at an affordable rate. 

  • Excellent quantity for the price
  • Low astringency with a silky taste
  • Excellent price for loose leaf sencha

  • Lots of stems in the loose leaf
  • Many leaves were crumbled in package

3. Yorkshire Gold

The best loose leaf tea on a budget

Yorkshire Gold Tea

Brand: Yorkshire / Type: Black tea / Amount: 250 grams / Origin: Africa / Price: 💰

Yorkshire Tea is a family-owned business founded in 1886. Since its inception, the company has prided itself on remaining true to its core values. They don’t cut corners when producing their tea, keeping it as traditional and tasty as possible.

Every flavor of tea endures a rigorous set of taste testing before leaving the building. Drinkers of the tea often remark that Yorkshire is “one of the best teas to come out of the UK.”

Yorkshire offers the best black tea for those who want to avoid bitterness while maintaining a smooth, robust flavor. 

  • Smooth flavor
  • Sweet and savory
  • No bitterness & a lovely scent

  • Very bold flavor
  • Similar to generic black teas

4. Vahdam Earl Grey Tea Leaves

The best loose leaf earl grey tea

Vahdam Tea

Brand: Vahdam / Type: Black tea / Amount: 454 grams / Origin: India / Price: 💰💰💰

Vahdam Earl Grey Loose Leaf Tea might be one of the best earl grey teas you’ve ever tasted. 

Their earl grey contains 100% natural oil of bergamot, which is a pure source of antioxidants and fantastic for your health. While reviewers rave about the brand’s earl grey, don’t forget about the other flavors Vahdam has to offer. The brand’s teas are consistently reviewed as tasting fresh and smelling divine. There is sure to be a flavor for everyone from Vahdam. 

  • Rich aromas
  • Strong, but not pungent
  • Best loose leaf tea subscription service

  • Tastes artificial
  • Somewhat bland taste

5. Davidson’s Decaf Black Tea

The best loose leaf decaffeinated tea

Davidsons Decaf Tea

Brand: Davidson’s / Type: Black tea / Amount: 454 grams / Origin: India / Price: 💰💰

Davidson’s should be the brand best known for crafting teas for specific purposes. Whether it’s falling asleep quickly, losing weight, or boosting your immunity, Davidson’s has concocted a loose leaf tea blend to meet these needs.

Davidson offers one of the best decaffeinated teas on this list. It’s 100% USDA certified organic and 98% caffeine-free, complements of a natural carbon dioxide rinse. Davidson’s is also fair trade certified. 

In recent years, the brand has gotten creative with ayurvedic infusions that intended to help balance the mind and body.

  • All the flavor without the jitters
  • Uses organic CO2 method for removing caffeine
  • Great breakfast tea for those wanting to avoid caffeine
  • Weak flavor
  • Doesn’t taste crisp or fresh
  • Loose leaf contains plenty of sticks

6. Tea Forte Chamomile Citron Bulk Loose Leaf

The best luxury loose leaf tea

Tea Forte Tea

Brand: Tea Forte / Type: Herbal tea / Amount: 454 grams / Origin: Egypt / Price: 💰💰💰💰💰

Tea Forte produces some of the finest teas on this list. Their taste and smells are heavenly enough to make even non-tea drinkers fall in love. Most reviewers report having first tried the brand at a hotel or restaurant and instantly loving it.

The decorative packaging of their variety packs also makes Tea Forte teas a great gift. The largest complaint for drinkers is simply the price. For the number of cups you get from a single purchase, this brand is easily the most expensive on this list. Most drinkers counter this by saying the taste of the tea simply can’t be beaten. 

  • Enticing aromas
  • Soothing and robust flavors 
  • No need for additional sweeteners

  • Very Expensive
  • Finely ground, so a small filter is needed

7. Solstice Tea Traders Loose Leaf Sampler Set

The best loose leaf tea sample set

Solstice Tea

Brand: Solstice Tea Traders / Type: Black, green, and herbal teas / Amount: 340 grams / Origin: Worldwide / Price: 💰💰💰

This is the ultimate tea brand if you want to start with a robust sampler set.

Solstice Tea Traders is the best tea sampler because it features 12 different teas: green, chai, black, herbal, and more. Once you’ve found your perfect flavor, purchasing loose leaf teas in bulk is easy with Solstice Tea Traders.

Drinkers of this brand consistently remark on their love for the brand’s wide selection of flavors with the sampler set. They say the taste is strong and smooth across all teas. While the sampler set does fall on the more expensive side, it is a more cost-efficient way to try many teas at once. 

  • Each tea comes in its own storage tin
  • Cost-effective way to try many new teas
  • High-quality and tasteful teas for a decent price

  • Fruit flavors taste somewhat artificial 
  • No time or temperature guides to help drinkers prepare the tea

8. Ghograjan Masala Chai Loose Leaf Tea

The best fresh loose leaf tea

Ghograjan Tea best fresh loose leaf tea

Brand: Ghograjan / Type: Black tea / Amount: 454 grams / Origin: India / Price: 💰💰💰💰

This loose leaf tea is coming to your home straight from the Ghograjan Tea Estate in India. The brand’s history dates back to the 1930s when the garden was first planted. This loose leaf comes in beautifully packaged containers. Flavors include Assam Breakfast, Assam Golden Tips, Premium English Breakfast, Vintage Earl Grey, and Royal Masala Chai.

For generations, Ghograjan has prided itself on producing quality tea. Most reviewers consistently remark on the exceptional quality of the brand’s chai. The flavor is fresh and sophisticated without being overbearing or bitter. Like Tea Forte, Ghograjan prices their loose leaf higher than average, but they offset this by crafting an exceptional tea. 

  • Smooth texture
  • Rich and complex flavor without being overbearing
  • Reasonable price considering loose leaf comes straight from the plantation
  • Very finely ground loose leaf
  • Some called it “weak” or “tasteless”

9. Tiesta Tea Loose Leaf Variety Pack

The best loose leaf tea for new tea drinkers

Tiesta Tea The best loose leaf tea for new tea drinkers

Brand: Tiesta Tea / Type: Black, green, and herbal teas / Amount: 227 grams / Origin: Worldwide / Price: 💰💰💰💰

Tiesta Tea should be the first choice for those new to loose leaf tea. The most common complaint of new tea drinkers is on the bitterness of most earl grey or black teas. A simple solution to this is to try more herbal or fruity brews. Tiesta Tea has no shortage of fun and vibrant herbal teas to choose from. From chunky watermelon to blueberry hibiscus, every tea drinker, will be able to find a flavor to suit their tastes.

If you’re curious to try more than one flavor from this brand, try purchasing their sampler pack with their five most popular teas. The brand likewise offers tea designed to boost your immunity, assist in weight loss, and help you relax for a good night’s sleep. 

  • Very affordable
  • Great for beginners 
  • Wide variety of flavors

  • Weak flavor
  • Less ideal for caffeine lovers

What to Look for in Loose Leaf Teas

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Along with tasting delicious, loose leaf tea comes with a wealth of health benefits. You’re treating yourself right when sitting down with a nice warm cup of tea.

Whether you’re a daily or an occasional tea drinker, it’s essential to know what to look for when choosing your favorite blend.

1. Type

One of the biggest questions people ask in regards to tea is the difference between loose leaf tea and tea bags. Most of the flavor of the tea is lost when using a teabag. It’s less fresh and generally a lower-quality product. Teabags are suitable for one use only, but you can re-steep some of the more high-quality loose leaf teas, giving you a bigger bang for your buck and making it a more sustainable practice. 

2. Quality

As a general rule, the larger the leaf, the higher quality the tea. Make sure that you also smell the tea before brewing. This will inform you if the tea has gone stale. Smelling the leaves is especially crucial for herbal teas. The color and scent of herbal teas will tell you about the tea quality once it’s been brewed. If the colors are faded or have a weak scent, it’s probably best to find a new loose leaf. 

The other essential factor in regards to quality is the ingredients list. Most people think that the ingredients in tea are pretty straight-forward, but this isn’t always the case. Some brands will add artificial sweeteners or flavors to enhance the taste of their product. This is often done to mask low quality tea. Ideally, your tea brand should be certified fair trade, organic, and eco-friendly. 

3. Flavor

As a final note, for those relatively new to tasting and learning about tea, the most common complaint is that it is too bitter. Instead of adding spoonful after spoonful of sweetener to your drink, try first an herbal or dessert tea. There are naturally-occurring sweeteners in these flavors that offset the “bitterness” and help you build a foundational pallet for trying countless flavors of tea. 

Our Process

For this guide on loose leaf teas, our team spent 6 hours researching the most popular blend from over 20 brands big and small. We then read about two hundred and fifty user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each flavor. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 9 loose leaf teas on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.

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