Buying a good-quality tea can be pretty difficult. It may not seem like that at first, but, the majority of the teas you come across at your local supermarket aren’t probably even made out of real tea. The tea in teabags is generally made from all the loose-leaf tea leftovers (like the branches and low-quality leaves), and is sold as this ‘high-quality, super flavorful tea’.
In fact, tea in tea bags is super low quality and can even sometimes contain dust and other toxic and harmful by-products. Not to mention that the tea bags are made out of plastic which, when in hot water, releases toxins into your tea. As a result, you’re being exposed to carcinogenic compounds every time you drink that tea.
Therefore, to help you on your tea journey, we’ve decided to create a list of the worst tea brands out there, who are guilty of all the aforementioned sins. This way, you can narrow down your search and check out some of our best recommendations. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Worst Tea Brands To Stay Away From
King Cole – Orange Pekoe
King Cole is a popular tea brand in Canada, which is also sold in the USA. It is known for selling affordable teas with a wide variety of flavors. However, a study conducted by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation showed that King Cole teas, especially the Prange Pekoe, contain monocrotophos.
This is actually a banned chemical that was linked to cases of cardiovascular issues, like arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat, and even coma. The study also reported traces of pesticides that exceed the government levels. Pesticides are known to affect the nervous system and damage it. King Cole tea is basically filled with toxins and it is overall low-quality, so we strongly recommend you avoid it.
Uncle Lee’s Legends of China – Jasmine Green Tea and Green Tea
Uncle Lee’s is another popular tea brand found guilty of putting out tea containing harmful toxins and pesticides. The brand was investigated in the aforementioned Canadian study, as well as by the FDA and the well-known tea study conducted by the Glaucus Studies company.
The result of the studies and investigations showed Uncle Lee’s Jasmine Green Tea and Green Tea containing over 20 types of pesticides, all incredibly harmful for the nervous system. One of the pesticides that stood out as the most harmful is endosulfan, known to cause serious health issues and nervous system damage.
According to the Stockholm Convention in April 2011, this pesticide is globally banned from use by manufacturers, but unfortunately, some brands still use it covertly. That is why we strongly recommend you stay away from Uncle Lee’s tea and instead opt for a brand that is more caring of its customers and consumers.
No Name – Black Tea
Now, No Name is an old-school tea brand known across the country. It is cheap and affordable but sold under the impression that is high-quality, premium tea. However, studies conducted by the FDA and the Glaucus Studies company show that No Name teas, especially the Black tea variety, contain a lot of harmful pesticides.
There are over 10 varieties of pesticides in Black tea alone, which is a highly illegal amount of pesticides in a product. As we mentioned, pesticides are incredibly harmful to your health and can lead to serious cardiovascular issues and nervous system damage. We strongly advise you to stay away from this tea brand, even though it seems affordable and budget-friendly. It is simply not worth it because, in the long run, it will cost you your health.
Ever since the 1970s, Celestial Seasonings tea has been a household staple across the country. The brands sold, and still sell its teas as high-quality, super flavorful teas, when in fact, they’ve proven to be crammed with pesticides.
For example, the scientists at the Glaucus Studies company found out back in 2013 that 90% of Celestial Seasonings tea products contain so many pesticides that they directly violate government pesticide limit guidelines. Some of the brand’s popular teas even contained carcinogens.
Unfortunately, the company has not recalled their tea products and they’re still available on their official website, as well as other popular websites like iHerb and Amazon. However, we strongly recommend you avoid buying the Celestial Seasonings tea products and save your money and health in the long run.
Other Questionable Tea Brands To Stay Away From
The following tea brands were tested and investigated in the same, aforementioned studies conducted by the Glaucus Studies company, the FDA, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. The studies found that the following tea brands’ tea products contain high amounts of pesticides which violate the government pesticide limit guidelines. We strongly recommend you stay away from these tea brands, despite their accessibility and affordability.
- Tetley – Long Leaf Green Tea and Pure Green Tea
- Lipton – Yellow Label Black tea, Pure Green Tea, Darjeeling Tea, Clear Green Tea
- Twinings – Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Classic Lady Grey, Classic Assam Tea
Some of the teas mentioned in the studies are discontinued, like the Signal Orange Pekoe for example. However, the aforementioned teas are still available for purchase, despite the fact that the respective tea brands do not comply with the FDA food hazard requirements. That is why you, as a consumer and buyer, need to be aware of these brands and the fact that sore-bought tea in tea bags is generally low-quality and not pesticide-free. Remember this next time you see some tea on sale at your local supermarket.
So, What Are The Best Tea Brands I Can Trust?
When it comes to choosing the best tea kind or tea brands, we always recommend this; go with the loose-leaf option. If a brand sells loose leaf tea, it is always a better choice than buying tea in teabags.
Loose leaf tea is made from dry, whole tea leaves which undergo the least amounts of processing. Sure enough, some tea manufacturers still use pesticides and fertilizers to ensure their tea plants grow bigger and faster, pest-free. So, when buying loose-leaf, it is essential to always go for the organic product and pay attention to the origin of the tea.
Another thing that makes loose leaf better than the store-bought tea in bags is the fact that there are no plastic bags you’re brewing alongside the tea. This minimizes your exposure to toxic chemicals released from the tea bags.
So, here are some of our recommendations for the best loose-leaf tea brands, as well as some brands that sell high-quality tea in bags;
Taylors of Harrogate
Taylors of Harrogate is a family business from the town of Harrogate in England. The company produces the highest-quality loose leaf tea as well as coffee. The company works together with tea experts to provide skillfully blended herbs and fruits and get you the best and original Harrogate infusions.
The company is a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership and has partnered up with the Rainforest Alliance. Taylors of Harrogate offer a variety of fine British Classic teas, like rick black infusions, or elegant green teas, as they like to describe them.
With this brand, you can be sure you’re getting the best, organic, pesticide-free tea, which you and your whole family can safely enjoy.
The Tea Spot
The Tea Spot is one of our favorite tea brands. It was established by cancer survivor Maria Uspenski in 2004. That is why the tea this brand produced is of the highest quality and clean from pesticides and other forms of toxins.
The owner, Maria, wants her customers to enjoy the full medicinal properties of her teas. That is because, teas at their cleanest, purest forms, can help improve one’s health significantly, which is something Maria experienced herself during her cancer battle.
The brand provides a wide variety of loose leaf tea blends, comprising various spices and herbs that will elevate your tea experience and make it a perfect, relaxing habit. The company donates 10% of all its profit to cancer survivors and wellness programs. So, make sure to check this brand out and support its cause.
Harney & Sons
Harney & Sons is another exceptional family tea brand that’s been in the business for more than 30 years now. The brand is highly reputable, known for its high-quality, organic loose leaf tea blends originating from Japan, China, and India. The tea this brand uses is hand-picked, pesticide-free, and blended using the highest quality herbs and spices.
Harney & Sons sells every kind of tea; from Matcha, green and herbal teas, to Oolong, black and decaffeinated tea. The tea is made in the USA and has received the Quality Guarantee. The company is also Fair Trade Certified and stands for fair trading practices, ensuring the tea-producing regions receive proper payment and working conditions.
So, make sure to check out Harney & Sons and support this excellent tea brand. You will be surprised by all the tea varieties, as well as the affordability and ability of the brand to meet the needs of all of its customers.
Now, this is one of the few brands that sell tea in tea bags and is absolutely exceptional. Fir of all, the tea bags Tea Forte uses are made from recycled PET silken fibers, designed to let the tea steep properly, without releasing any of the bag particles into the beverage. So, that is an excellent start to the Tea Forte story.
Furthermore, the tea is of the highest quality, created and blended under the close supervision of the company’s tea experts. You can choose from a variety of teas, including organic, kosher, and classic black, green, white, and herbal teas.
One thing that makes Tea Forte also stand out is their exceptional, unique tea presentation and tea bags. Their tea packages make a perfect holiday gift, so make sure to check them out for the upcoming holiday season.
Kusmi Tea is a brand that provides premium quality tea in eco-friendly, muslin, plastic-free tea bags. Now, this is really important, because you’ll be able to have bagged tea without the fear of drinking toxins and pesticides. Furthermore, the tea quality is premium; the teas are fully organic as of 2020, and the brand is putting a lot of effort to maintain the quality of their teas despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is helping the Kusmi Tea company to provide 100% organic and environmentally friendly tea products which is an incredibly progressive aspect of the company. When it comes to the actual tea products, you can, of course, go for the tea bags, but also try out the tea-filled tins.
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