The 7 Best Tea Subscription Boxes of 2020

Four varieties of tea: black, green, fruit and herb

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The 7 Best Tea Subscription Services of 2020

Best Overall: Arbor Tea

Arbor Tea

Arbor Tea

Arbor Tea is a family-owned tea company from Ann Arbor, MI, founded by Aubrey and Jeremy Lopatin in 2004. They have grown from a tiny website - funded by painting their web designer’s kitchen - to a full-service tea delivery system with a comprehensive knowledge of the history and makings of tea and the organic process. Their website is a masterclass in tea and sustainability. They genuinely love tea and the environment. And they care about getting the best tea to your doorstep.

Arbor Tea earns the Best Overall distinction for best tea delivery because they excel in every category we can imagine for an online tea experience, including selection, information, and price. They feature seemingly endless options within 10 categories of tea. Tea from 11 countries is available with Fair Trade options in every category. They’re exclusively organic, USDA certified organic, fair trade certified, with backyard compostable packaging, and they offset carbon emissions with a carbon fund. Whatever tea you love: Black, Green, Pu-Erh, Rooibos, Oolong, White, Herbal, Decaf, and Iced; from whichever region you prefer: Africa, India, China, Korea, Japan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, South America, USA, Vietnam, you’ll find what you’re looking for delivered to your house.

Head to arbortea.com and steep into their website. If you want to buy only tea, it’s the first tab on their menu, click Organic Tea, and the menu drops down for all of their options. With their Tea of the Month Club, six months for about $96 or 1 year for roughly $186, you’ll receive one package of their featured tea at the beginning of every month, and it’s free shipping. Spend some more time on their website, and you’ll see they offer a full range of tea products and history lessons. Come for the tea, stay for the education.

Best Japanese Tea: Tea Crane

Tea Crane

 Tea Crane

Have you ever wanted a personal tea sommelier? Certified tea-master Tyas Sōsen of The Tea Crane is your guy. Originally a martial arts enthusiast, he relocated to Japan and fell in love with the Japanese rite-of-tea and dedicated his life to it. His particular ethos eschews larger industrial conglomerates for small organic local farmers, each featured with blurbs on his website. The Tea Crane is as close to farm-to-table for tea as it gets, and he seeks to bridge the gap between global consumers and local makers.  

Sōsen curates a collection of naturally-grown, traditional teas made by artisans throughout Japan. His details on what he selects, and why, is unparalleled.

Through his Tea Crane Tea Club, he sends at least one package of an otherwise unobtainable, authentic, naturally produced tea, a detailed letter on the experience of the tea, and exclusive online access to info about the farmer and the region. At $25 a month, this is truly a deep dive into the tea experience, with access to a travelogue clearly written from Japan. There are also individual teas available for as low as $14 for 40 grams. That’s a fair amount of tea, for a specific and magical experience, as the aromas drift you away to the farmlands of Japan.

Best Green Tea Latte: Clevr

Clevr

 Clevr

Clevr knows functional lattes so well - they call them SuperLattes. They started in a van traveling California and spreading the adaptogenic latte and mushroom coffee gospel. Then they turned around and said, - how can we make these products available in people’s homes? And that’s when they started work on their SuperLatte blends.

Their Matcha SuperLatte is chock full of adaptogens - like reishi and ashwagandha and lion’s mane. It’s entirely plant-based, getting that creamy latte mouth feel from their combination of oat milk mixed with coconut cream and monk fruit. Their zippy Matcha is sourced from Japan and is sure to give you that calming sense of energy with long-lasting focus. They only source Organic or Non-GMO ingredients, they prioritize working with smaller ingredient suppliers, and their shipping materials are 100% post-consumer recycled and recyclable. For about $24 at 14 servings per container if you subscribe, you’re looking at less than $2 per flavor/health-packed cup. That’s barista level quality in 10 seconds flat - plus they have Chai SuperLatte and Golden SuperLatte as well. Head to clevrblends.com and get SuperSipping.

Best Curation: Sips By

Sips By

 Sips By

Sips By is in a unique position, where they spend time searching for tea from different companies and make it available on one website. They begin the process with a tea quiz, which is quite fun, and a tea expert matches your taste to the brands they offer. Do you like tea smoky? They’ve got a tea blend and the best brand for that. Do you like your tea sweet? They’re on the case. A tea expert sends you four types to try, from more than 100 global brands, according to your tastes. Every month four different offerings are delivered to the door. No other company provides cross-brand choosing. 

Many of the brands source organic tea and use biodegradable materials for packaging. And some are family companies that grow, blend, and package their own tea - how better to ensure laborers are treated fairly and paid well? Each package is $15 a month, delivered to your door. Plus, they support Women-owned and Black-owned companies, so you can make sure your tea provider is coming from a diverse group of makers. Head to Sips By and start the quiz.

Best Tea Based Drink: Sparkling Botanicals

Sparkling Botanicals

 Sparkling Botanicals

Bubbles for Tea! We all love bubbles, and now we have tea plus bubbles with Sparkling Botanicals tea-based drink. They partner with Rishi, a tea company whose commitment to sustainable tea could be a selection on its own on this list with over two decades of providing fantastic online tea direct from farmers. Together, they have created a new crossover tea product. Sparkling Botanicals is tea for people on the go who don’t have time to brew tea. 

They grow organic teas and herbs, without the use of agrochemicals like pesticides and fertilizers. They are a direct trade importer of organic teas and botanicals based on long-standing, personal relationships with growers of sustainable gardens in remote locations around the world. This combination of tea and vision creates a new product for $48 a 12 pack. Certainly pricey, but indeed good. And the flavors like Dandelion Ginger, Grapefruit Quince, Patagonia Maqui, and Schisandra Berry (also known as the Sandra Bullock) are combinations not to be found elsewhere or pronounced correctly. Get to sparkling-botanicals.com.

Best Blends: Art of Tea

Art of Tea

 Art of Tea

Steve Schwartz started his journey to tea through a study of preventative medicine at the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico. He rose to prominence through his ability to select and blend teas and now gives workshops all over the world on his blending techniques. His taste has brought unique flavor combinations to tea drinkers across the globe and has made Art of Tea, the leading online provider of blends all over the world. His years of traveling to Asia, India, Africa, and the Middle East, has brought him into contact with farmers and distributors who treat their teas and employees with the highest respect for the craft of creating tea, and it’s easy to find organic options on the site. 

Since Steve is so flavor-forward, you can choose tea categories on his website based on flavor - like grassy, sweet, citrusy, or fruity - rather than tea type. Alternatively, he also categorizes by origin, so you know where your tea orignates. Sift through the many offerings, as well as a wealth of education on tea and Ayurvedic medicine. Or to subscribe to a tea club starting at $18 per month for an annual subscription, head to artoftea.com and select from five options: Classic, Single Origin, Caffeine-Free, Pyramid Teabags, and Explore.

Best Tea Party: TeaTurtle

TeaTurtle

 TeaTurtle

Tea can be a very zen experience, contemplative, thoughtful, and pondering. But other times, you just want a Tea Party. And the folks at TeaTurtle are the people you want at the Mad Hatter’s table. They started TeaTurtle over their shared love for football clubs in their hometown of Yorkshire Dales. Each owner comes from a different walk of life - food, higher education, sales - and has joined to give us a tea subscription of which the dormouse would be proud. 

They’ve done their job at finding Fair Trade suppliers, their packaging is entirely recyclable and compostable, and have sourced plant-based bags for delivery. And it’s a sizable amount of tea for $13 for a monthly subscription (plus shipping if you don't live in the U.K.). But what they don’t do is tell you where they specifically source their teas from or get into the specifics of their types of tea beyond Breakfast, Green, Wild, or Mixed. They stop at that description. So who knows what we’re getting - and that makes it all the zanier. Or, as the March Hare says, “You might just as well say, that “I like what I get” is the same thing as “I get what I like”!

How We Chose the Best Tea Subscription Services 

Tea is an endless labyrinth of knowledge, and the offerings online are as wide as the study itself. There are very few other comparable practices with such a long and storied history as tea, so we had a lot of tea online to choose from. We tried to balance our list with tastings from the spectrum of commercial and boutique, always with an eye for the sustainable and organic. We wanted to make sure we included offerings beyond standard hot tea, like Sparkling Botanicals and Clevr, so we could inspire and educate on where tea is headed. We chose Arbor Tea because it balanced the boutique experience and the commercial experience, with depth and love of tea in a way that we thought toed the line of all of our choices.