The Best Organic Tea of 2022

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Want a more soothing start to the day with a cup of breakfast tea? Or do you prefer a mug of peppermint herbal tea to relax before bed? Whatever your tea habits, it's possible to find a perfect match that also adheres to organic standards, thanks to the plethora of growers practicing soil-friendly tea cultivation.

Sporting a variety of organic certifications from bodies like the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), we've looked for teas with verified practices for promoting soil health without artificial fertilizers or pesticides.

Our search has taken us beyond the tea tree as well, including our picks from the best organically grown herbal and chai teas. From punchy English breakfasts to earthy rooibos sweetened with vanilla bean, there's an organic certified tea that's right for you.

Here are the 10 best organic teas for sipping contemplatively.

Best Overall: Arbor Teas Organic English Breakfast Tea

Arbor Teas Organic English Breakfast Tea

Arbor Teas

English breakfast tea is a blend of black teas meant for daily drinking and as an accompaniment to a hearty breakfast. It's often combined with milk or lemon. As such, English breakfast tea is more about consistency than wowing the sipper. This means that you've most likely experienced English breakfast teas as a bland tea bag from a major brand. Let the Organic English Breakfast Tea from Arbor Teas change your mind—breakfast tea doesn't have to be boring.

A blend of organic black teas grown in both high and low elevation areas of India, this organic English breakfast tea is well-rounded, with a medium-body flavor that's both distinct and unassuming enough for daily drinking.

Arbor Teas are both USDA certified organic by the Global Organic Alliance and certified Fair Trade, combining sustainable agricultural practices with robust labor protections. Arbor Tea also minimizes their carbon emissions by using sea freight (instead of more carbon-costly air shipping), powering its packaging facility with solar panels, and purchasing carbon offsets in a partnership with the Carbon Fund. Even the packaging can be composted.

Available in a "Bulk" 10 ounce size (enough for 125 servings), "Regular" 3.5 ounces (44 servings), or a "Sample" package with enough for eight cups, Arbor Teas' Organic English Breakfast Tea is ready to become your daily cuppa, or something unpretentious to serve guests with a splash of milk. Arbor Teas also has a decaf version available.

Best Budget: Traditional Medicinals Organic Botanical Blends Blood Orange Tea

Traditional Medicinals Blood Orange

Amazon

This caffeine free, botanical blend herbal tea includes a diverse blend of organic herbs, but derives its flavor most from subtly sweet orange peel, tart hibiscus, and the floral, hay notes of meadowsweet, a wildflower in the rose family. With a sweet zing, perfect for after-dinner drinking, Traditional Medicinals Organic Botanical Blend Blood Orange Tea is a fantastic alternative to lemongrass tea.

Traditional Medicinals is a California Certified Green Business and a certified B Corp, which means it's been audited for both its social and environmental performance. The many herbs it uses in its tea blends are organic, according to the standards of the nonprofit California Certified Organic Farmers organization. Its tea bags are made from sustainably harvested hemp and Forest Stewardship Council approved wood pulp, making them compost-ready.

While its Blood Orange tea has a delightful and soothing flavor, with a complex herbal profile, we were unable to verify its description as a "Digestive Support" supplement. Meadowsweet has traditionally been used to treat acid indigestion, but there's little scientific validation for this use. While one study we found indicates that chemicals in meadowsweet may act as an anti-inflammatory (meadowsweet was once used in the synthesizing of aspirin), other research into its health effects were too low quality to draw conclusions. Traditional Medicinals tea is not evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration for specific health benefits.

Since Traditional Medicinals is one of the largest and oldest "wellness tea" sellers in the United States, its products are affordable and widely available in grocery stores.

Best Splurge: Tealeaves Organic Vanilla Rooibos

Tealeaves Organic Vanilla Rooibos

Tealeaves

Thanks to caramel notes and delicate vanilla beans sourced from Madagascar, this organic, loose leaf rooibos is earthy and rich, with a gentle sweetness embedded in its complexity. It's also caffeine-free, making it a good pick for evenings, or any time you just want to sit back and relax.

Tealeaves Organic Vanilla Rooibos is also a relatively affordable way to bring home a little luxury. The brand is known for supplying custom blends to Four Seasons Hotels and Michelin-star chefs.

All Tealeaves teas, including its Organic Vanilla Rooibos, are certified organic by the British Columbia Association for Regenerative Agriculture (BCARA). The company also supports international biodiversity initiatives. Its tea packaging is plastic-free, employing a combination of recyclable and compostable materials.

Best Green: Mighty Leaf Organic Spring Jasmine Tea

Mighty Leaf Organic Spring Jasmine Tea

Peets

Mighty Leaf's Organic Spring Jasmine Tea combines the sweet grass piquancy of green tea with jasmine buds, for a floral accent that creates an intoxicating aroma. Sourced from small-scale farms in China, Mighty Leaf has produced a blend that's complex, but still suitable for daily drinking.

USDA certified organic, the Organic Spring Jasmine Tea one of Mighty Leaf’s selection of 17 organic loose leaf teas, which are also 100% non-GMO. Mighty Leaf also partners with non-profit She's the First, which supports educational initiatives and provides scholarships to girls, including the young women who make up the bulk of the workforce at the Chinese tea estates providing organic green tea leaves to Mighty Leaf.

Mighty Leaf Organic Spring Jasmine Tea is available both loose leaf or in tea bags.

Best Black: Numi Breakfast Blend

Numi Breakfast Blend

Amazon

Combining black teas from Fair Trade farms in India, Sri Lanka, and China, drinking Numi's blend is like going on a world tour every morning. With its combination of Assam, Ceylon, Chinese Keemun and Darjeeling, Numi Breakfast Blend is full-bodied and complex. Flavor notes include malt, citrus, ripe fruit, and a floral aroma.

Numi's teas are Fair Trade and UDA certified organic. Through its own foundation and other initiatives the brand supports water access internationally and food relief domestically, delivering more than 637,000 pounds of fresh produce during the Covid-19 pandemic. Numi is also a certified B Corp.

Best White: Tielka Moonlight White Tea

Tielka Moonlight White Tea

Tielka

White tea comes from the same tea tree—Camellia sinensis—as black and green tea, but is minimally processed and typically harvested earlier in the season for young buds and leaves. Unlike green tea leaves, which are rolled, or black tea leaves, which are dried until they turn black (a process called oxidation), white tea leaves are minimally dried. This results in a pale yellow tea that has a light, slightly sweet flavor.

Tielka's Moonlight White Tea is single origin, comprised of leaves from China's mountainous Yunnan Province. The leaves are harvested by hand in early Spring. It is both Fairtrade certified and certified organic according to both Australian and European Union standards.

Best Chamomile: Tealeaves Organic Chamomile Flowers

Tealeaves Organic Chamomile Flowers

Tealeaves

The perfect post-lunch or bedtime cuppa, this tea is made from the buds of the chamomile plant, a member of the daisy family. Expect herbaceous notes with a gorgeously mellow aroma of apples and honey.

This herbal infusion is both luxurious and fully sustainable—certified organic by the British Columbia Association for Regenerative Agriculture. While chamomile has long been used in traditional medicine, there is no comprehensive scientific evidence for any specific claims. But it's hard to deny the relaxing feeling that comes with sipping this signature herbal tea.

Best Chai Blend: DavidsTEA Organic Turmeric Chai Tea

Davids Tea Organic Turmeric Chai Tea

Davids Tea

This aromatic blend of turmeric, ginger, and cardamom uses rooibos for a caffeine-free combo of spice and earthy richness. All of the ingredients DavidsTEA incorporates in its Organic Turmeric Chai are USDA certified organic. The sweetness of the rooibos balances perfectly against the turmeric and ginger, making for a rare combination of zestful spice and easy drinking.

Best Peppermint: Harney & Sons Organic Peppermint Loose Tea

Harney & Sons Organic Peppermint Loose Tea

Harney & Sons

This delicately minty tea is USDA certified organic and made from peppermint leaves harvested in Oregon. Available as a loose leaf tea or in tea bags, this peppermint peppermint tea provides all the soothing kick of the peppermint plant, without the candy cane sweetness of too many other peppermint tea varieties. Plus, it's just as good when brewed cold as it is hot.

In addition to its organic, locally-grown ingredients, Harney & Sons is also a member of the 1% For the Planet initiative, donating a percent of its total sales to a raft of non-profit environmental organizations.

Best Subscription: Tea Runners

Majestic Earl Grey

Tea Runners

Addicted to trying out new tea blends? The monthly subscription box from Tea Runners selects from over 300 teas, including small batch producers.

With four tea subscription boxes to choose from, ranging from only black teas to caffeine-free herbals, pure, non-blended teas, and an assortment box of all three, you can tailor your selection to suit your tea habits. There are 15+ choices of tea to pick from each month—although not all of the teas are USDA certified organic, so you’ll need to opt for those that are.

The teas are also matched to the seasons, so you can expect earthy, warming blends such as pumpkin spice oolong in the Fall and black tea mixed with rose petals for a romantic Valentine’s Day blend.

Final Verdict

Start your day with a cup of English breakfast tea from sustainability stalwarts Arbor Teas, which ships in fully backyard compostable packaging. If you would prefer some caffeine-free luxury than

check out the Organic Vanilla Rooibos (view at Tealeaves) and Organic Chamomile Flowers (view at Tealeaves) from Tealeaves.

What to Look for in an Organic Tea

Loose Leaf vs Tea Bags

Like “normal” tea, organic tea comes in a range of forms, from loose leaf to in tea bags. Loose leafs—and particularly those that come in a reusable tin without additional packaging—can help reduce waste by avoiding unnecessary single-use plastic.

While tea bags might look home compostable, they rarely are. This is because brands often use polypropylene, a sealing plastic, in their tea bags, which is not recyclable or biodegradable. Some tea bags made from plastic can also leach microplastics into your drink. 

As a result, we’ve only selected fully biodegradable tea bags or loose leaf teas, which are better for the planet and prevent you unintentionally coming into contact with any unwelcome chemicals. 

Organic Certifications

Most of the teas in our roundup are certified according to standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture, though we've also noted where international certifiers, including Canadian and Australian sources, are validating organic claims. For organic certifications attributed to a specific state it can be worthwhile to check out that state's organic standards, since states like California have more rigorous certification processes than others.

FAQs

How does organic tea help the environment?

Organic practices help promote healthy and sustainable soil, since natural fertilizers and pesticides must be used, requiring a greater attention to chemical balances in the soil and more proactive protection and maintenance of the local environment.

This also helps prevent contamination of local water sources, by averting the spread of pesticides to other ecosystems. By switching over to organic farming, tea companies can also help lower greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the use of synthetic nitrate fertilizer.

Of course, benefits to the environment also help the humans dependent on that environment, including the laborers who would otherwise be exposed to industrial chemicals. Downstream effects are notable as well, with some pollutants eventually making it to the consumer. For example, a 2012 study commissioned by Greenpeace found pesticide contamination in some tea brands.

Does organic tea have fluoride? 

Organic tea does not contain added fluoride. However, fluoride is a mineral that can be found in tea plants due to it being naturally absorbed from the soil and rainwater. As a result, organic tea does contain fluoride, but not in quantities that should be cause for concern. 

Fluoride is a mineral that our bodies need for building strong bones and teeth and the quantities found in tea vary according to the brand: a British study conducted in 2013 found that cheaper brands tend to have higher levels of fluoride in the tea. Your drink will also end up with more fluoride in it if you steep your tea for longer periods of time. 

This study also found that fluoride levels were different depending on the type of tea in question. Therefore, if you’re concerned about your fluoride intake, pu’er and oolong teas have the lowest levels of the mineral, followed by pure blends, black tea, and green tea. 

Why Trust Treehugger?

For this round up, we sampled gallons of tea from sustainable companies located across the USA and Canada—a tough job, but someone had to do it. Our focus was on teas with organic credentials, as well as companies going above and beyond to minimize their environmental impact and using certifications such as Fair Trade to make a positive social difference, too. 

Steph Dyson is a Brit and therefore considers herself an expert on all things tea related—particularly as she consumes more than a dozen teas every day.

View Article Sources
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  3. Tan, Monica. “Pesticide Pollution: Chinese Tea May Not Be Safe to Drink.Greenpeace USA, Greenpeace USA, 4 July 2015.

  4. Chan, Laura, et al. “Human Exposure Assessment of Fluoride from Tea (Camellia Sinensis L.): A UK Based Issue?Food Research International, vol. 51, no. 2, 2013, pp. 564–570.