Quite a while back I published a guide on my blog explaining what to look for when buying green tea. It’s really important you choose only the best quality green tea to reap all the health benefits and to avoid harmful toxins that lower-quality green teas may contain.
When it comes to green tea brands, there are many options out there but not all of them are good. How do you even know which brands are good and who to trust? Buying the best green tea is certainly not easy. It’s why I decided to put together this post listing some of the best green tea brands you can find online. I’ve done extensive research on all the brands mentioned here and have even contacted them personally to find out more information about their green tea which I couldn’t find on their websites.
I’ve tried many of the brands mentioned here and during my research, I discovered some new brands which I decided to include here due to good online reviews and because they meet my strict criteria.
What makes a good green tea brand?
The best green tea brands put a lot of attention to sourcing their green tea and will not settle for low quality. They take into account various factors that may affect the quality of tea and follow strict guidelines and procedures to ensure the tea produced is of the highest quality.
To make sure the green tea you are considering to buy is of good quality, the following points should be considered:
- Pollution. Green tea should ideally be grown in unpolluted areas, away from motorways, factories and industrialised towns. That’s because pollution from these sources will make green tea contaminated with lead and you don’t want that. China is considered one of the most polluted countries in the world, so green tea from China is usually not the best, although there are areas of China which are not that polluted or even pollution-free. However, it’s very hard to know where Chinese green tea comes from (if it’s not stated on the packaging or a website) and for that reason, Japanese green tea is normally a better choice.
- Form of green tea. Best quality green tea will be in loose-leaf form, not in the form of tea bags. This gives green tea leaves room to fully expand and release all their flavours and beneficial compounds.
- Pesticides. Healthier green tea contains no pesticides and it’s certified organic.
- Harvesting. Loose leaf tea should ideally be hand-harvested since machine harvesting breaks or tears leaves as a part of the process. When leaves are broken apart, this affects the quality of tea – the antioxidant levels would be affected as more surface area is exposed to light and air. This also affects the taste.
- Type of green tea. There are several different types of green tea and they all have different flavours and properties. Out of loose leaf green tea types, sencha green tea has the most antioxidants but the taste is mildly grassy which not everybody will love. Matcha powdered green tea is another type of green tea but nothing like loose leaf green tea. It contains even more antioxidants than sencha green tea and it has its own unique properties.
- Tea bags. Although loose leaf tea is always better than tea bags, sometimes it’s more convenient for you to use tea bags (for example, when travelling). When this is your preferred option, make sure you choose biodegradable tea bags which contain no microplastics.
- Tea freshness and storage. The longer you store green tea, the more beneficial nutrients it will lose over time. So you need to make sure you buy your green tea in small quantities and use it quickly to prevent the loss of antioxidants. It’s also good to know how green tea was stored before you bought it. To retain its value, green tea should be stored in a sealed container as airtight as possible in a cool, dark place. It should never be exposed to heat, moisture or strong odours.
- Toxins testing. Another thing to consider is if a brand has tested their green teas for any contamination with harmful toxins, even radioactivity. Not all the brands will be honest about this aspect but it’s worth investigating to make sure you buy only the best.
Considering all the factors above, I’ve done comprehensive research and found some of the best green tea brands in the UK and the rest of the world. I got in touch with the brands directly to ask them all the questions needed to see how well they fit the criteria above.
Best green tea brands – Overview
To make it easier for you to decide which green tea brand to try first I created a table with a quick brand overview below, but you can read more about each of these brands by scrolling down or by clicking ‘Learn more’ buttons. If you are only interested in green tea bags, there is a section at the end of this post listing some of the best to try.
|Green Tea Brand||Brand Summary||Loose Leaf?||Tea Bags?||Tea Origin||Top Green Tea Picks|
English Tea Shop
||Sri Lanka, Gampola – James Valley Organic Tea Estate||Traditional Green Tea (The Tea of Life)|
||India, Darjeeling – the Makaibari single estate and the neighbouring Longview estate|| Organic Demeter and Fairtrade Clean Green Tea (tea bags)
Organic Demeter Green Tea Pouch (loose leaf tea)
The Tea Makers of London
||China, Zhejiang province (Dragon Well green tea) and Japan, Ise Bay, Mie Prefecture region (Matcha)||Organic Dragon Well|
||Japan|| Organic Sencha Green Tea (tea bags)
Organic Acai Berry & Green Tea (tea bags)
||India, Assam (Prithvi Group of Small Growers, Dibrugarh)||Assam Green Adventure|
||(limited options)||China, see each of the teas for exact location||Organic Superfine Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea|
||Japan, Kyoto||Clearspring Organic Japanese Green Tea Sencha Loose|
Heath & Heather
||China, South India||Imperial Matcha Green Tea|
Best green tea brands
Here are more details about some of the best green tea brands that are well worth considering since they tick all the right boxes:
English Tea Shop
English Tea Shop works only with the finest Organic and Fairtrade tea farmers, blenders and producers. Their green tea is sourced from Sri Lanka and comes from “James Valley Organic Tea Estate” located in Gampola, which is a semi mountain area 800 meters above sea level. All their teas are certified by The Soil Association and also carry Fairtrade International seal.
Teas from English Tea Shop are 100% hand-plucked which reduces their carbon footprint and produces better quality tea. To reduce their carbon footprint even further they also hand-pack their tea.
When it comes to testing for the environmental toxins, English Tea Shop follows a strict guideline prior to selecting sourcing partners which ensures the authenticity and quality of all incoming teas and ingredients. What’s more, they conduct frequent testing on microbiology/pesticides and heavy metal tests in their lab as well as third-party accredited labs.
Their CSV team (Create Shared Value) frequently engages with farmers, by conducting knowledge sharing sessions on investment and sustainability. This is done to ensure that farmers have sustainable living conditions and treat the environment in a responsible and ethical manner. This, in turn, will also result in improved biodiversity which will yield cleaner and higher quality raw materials that will go into making their green tea.
English Tea Shop offers a variety of green tea products and that includes loose leaf green tea in square metal tins and green tea bags.
Their tea bags are biodegradable and pyramid tea bags are recyclable.
The brand sources very fresh teas, produced within a few days. Packaging takes a couple of weeks to complete depending on the type of product and it takes around 3 weeks to get the items to the UK via Sea Freight. The produce, though comes in small quantities carries all the goodness and freshness of the earth.
Taking all into consideration, there is no doubt English Tea Shop is one of the best green tea brands you can try. Here are some of their green teas to choose from:
- Japanese Green Sencha (Senchado) – certified organic Sencha green tea is processed to a distinctively unique Japanese method. This tea is relatively mellow and greener than any other green tea.
- Traditional Green Tea (The Tea of Life) – this organic green tea is processed according to traditional Chinese methods so the taste is slightly stronger than that of Japanese green tea.
- Green Tea Pomegranate – if you don’t like plain green tea, try this blend containing antioxidant-rich super Pomegranate and rose petals.
Hamstead Tea is rated no 1 UK Ethical Tea Brand that uses principles of biodynamics to grow their organic teas. This means they support natural processes of nature to grow tea holistically, pay attention to natural habitats surrounding the fields and work in harmony with nature. This type of tea farming creates stronger crops and produces higher quality nutrient-rich plants that have greater vitality.
Hampstead Tea teas are hand-picked by skilled tea pickers and there is no plastic in their tea bags. Hampstead Tea was actually the first Tea manufacturer to introduce staple & glue-free tea bags many years ago. Furthermore, they have also removed all plastics from their Loose Leaf Pouch & Tin range but what’s even more exciting is that they are the first Tea manufacturer to introduce a Non-GM Plastic Free pyramid.
Apart from tea bags, Hampstead Tea also offer loose-leaf green tea which is Darjeeling Green Tea, sourced from the Makaibari single estate in Darjeeling, India. This estate is one of the largest in Darjeeling and its tea plantations are grown in the unspoiled nature, on the slopes of Himalaya and surrounded by primary rainforest. Tea plantations are barriered by screens of giant bamboo as additional protection from any air pollution. Hampstead Tea also source their green tea from a neighbouring estate of Makaibari (Longview) which is also biodynamic.
All green tea from the Hampstead Tea brand is grown away from pollution and is naturally organic due to biodynamic farming use to produce this tea.
Once harvested, green tea is immediately steamed, to lock in the freshness. It is packaged within hours of being picked and stored in lined kraft bags which protect from moisture and maintain product freshness. After harvesting, it takes at least 5 months before Hampstead Tea green tea goes on sale. That’s because it needs to be transported by sea and once it arrives in the UK it’s stored in a dry warehouse until there is time to put into separate branded packaging.
Hampstead Tea teas are constantly tested for pesticides and chemicals to ensure their purity and according to the brand, none of their teas contains lead.
Here are the most popular green teas you can buy from the Hampstead Tea brand:
- Organic Demeter and Fairtrade Clean Green Tea – Demeter is a biodynamic certification which is an international sign of quality and means that the product is organic, ethical, sustainable and made with environmentally friendly methods of production and processing.
- Organic Demeter Green Tea Pouch – Loose leaf green tea that comes in a pouch made from Natureflex biodegradable material. Plastic-free packaging. A mouth-watering soft clean green flavour.
The Tea Makers of London
The Tea Makers of London are loose leaf tea specialists who offer a wide range of the finest quality loose leaf teas, freshly sourced from some of the best tea estates in the world.
Not all of their green teas are certified organic but the ones that they are are as follows:
- Organic Dragon Well – often referred to as the national drink of China, Dragon Well green tea has a mellow and delicate flavour.
- Organic Japanese Matcha – A great choice for anyone new to matcha. Imparts a smooth, mellow flavour with hints of grassy sweetness.
- Organic Ceremonial Grade Matcha – This ceremonial matcha powder imparts a silky and rich texture with a wonderfully deep flavour. It’s the highest grade of matcha available.
Although not organic, I had to include here also their popular Japanese Sencha Green Tea which comes from the Shizuoka’s popular tea growing region.
Their Organic Dragon Well is sourced from the Zhejiang province in China which is a coastal province with landscape renowned for its scenic beauty.
Their Matcha teas are harvested and procured in Ise Bay, in the Mie Prefecture region in Japan. Farmers in this region have been producing high-quality green tea for over 800 years and they make use of ancient knowledge, as well as state-of-the-art technology, to create the most sublime green teas.
The Tea Makers’ matcha green tea is hand-picked and so is their organic Dragon Well green tea.
Although The Tea Makers of London specialise in loose leaf tea they also offer green tea bags which are 100% biodegradable.
Their teas are tested in accordance with EU regulations at the source of the teas before import to the UK. The brand confirmed that there will be no added chemicals, flavourings or any toxins such as lead in their teas.
Once harvested, the teas are vacuum packed which starves them of oxygen and prevents oxidisation. This ensures the tea leaves are as fresh when they arrive in the UK as they were when first picked from their source. Their exclusive seasonal teas are shipped straight after harvest.
The Tea Makers of London refresh some of their tea stock every 6 months and they pack in their UK hub as soon as the shipments arrive. Their teas are stored at room temperature in their warehouse and their green tea has a shelf life of a minimum of 2 years.
Buddha Teas’ mission is to supply tea drinkers the highest quality teas while at the same time maintain an affordable price point. They offer a wide range of teas which include green teas, premium blends and speciality teas. All their teas are organic and made from the freshest tea leaves. They offer loose leaf tea as well as tea bags which are bleach-free and plastic-free.
Buddha Teas are certified organic by USDA (The United States Department of Agriculture) which means that tea farmers follow strict rules to ensure the soil is only naturally enhanced and that no toxic synthetic substances have been used during tea production.
On their website, Buddha Teas make a bold promise: “Our promise is that you will never find better quality, reliability, or service than you will at Buddha Teas.” I don’t know whether this makes them the best tea seller but they are certainly one of the best tea brands, in my opinion.
Buddha Teas have a good selection of different types of green tea and here are some of the most popular ones and the ones that caught my attention:
- Organic Sencha Green Tea (tea bags) – the most popular variety of green tea in Japan, this tea has a smooth, mild flavour and not bitter at all. Many loyal customers report this is the best tasting Sencha tea they’ve tried.
- Organic Acai Berry & Green Tea (tea bags) – this blend isn’t too green and isn’t too berry. It has an uplifting taste with no bitterness.
- Matcha Yuzu Ryokucha Loose Leaf – a special blend of classic green tea leaves, matcha powder and Asian yuzu fruit which contains extra vitamins and nutrients. Citrusy and refreshing.
If you are based in other countries other than the US or UK, the good news is that Buddha Teas ship internationally although for some countries shipping may be a little bit expensive.
Assamica Agro produces a variety of loose organic green tea blends but also pure green tea called Assam Green Adventure. This is a savoury sweet organic green tea from Assam with unique character and autumnal feeling.
Assam Green Adventure is USDA certified organic green tea sourced from small scale tea growers from upper Assam, India (Prithvi Group of Small Growers, Dibrugarh). It’s hand-picked and processed using the green tea method of steaming the fresh leaves to better seal in their properties. This variety of green tea is known to be one of the most delicious and smooth green teas available in India. It has fresh, vibrant, and grassy flavour and can be re-steeped 3-4 times.
When you buy from Assamica Agro you will be guaranteed freshness. You can also rest assured that Assamica Agro green teas are 100% chemical and pesticide-free since they are tested by Tocklai tea research centre for any impurities.
If you want the best green tea from India, this is it. Assamica Agro’s small growers from Assam have acquired the skills required to make one of the finest green teas in the world with their limited resources.
When you buy their green tea online directly from Assamica Agro store, you will get the freshest green tea from the field since it does not have to follow the traditional route of tea distribution where it takes several months to reach your home.
The brand offers worldwide delivery and free shipping when you spend $ 50+.
In general, Japanese green teas are healthier as they contain fewer contaminants but TeaVivre deserves to be mentioned as the best Chinese green tea brand, or at least one of the best. When I discovered them during my research I was impressed.
When you go to one of the pages to learn more about each of the TeaVivre’s green teas, all the information is there. You can see exactly where the tea has been grown and there is even a map which shows you exactly where this is. All the teas are certified organic by USDA and they also carry an EU organic certification.
The brand has been established in 2011 and throughout the years they explored the best tea regions, farms and producers. They only wanted to bring the finest teas they experienced to their customers and so they did. It’s no surprise then that the brand has won several awards, for example, Gold Medal in Global Tea Championship Competition in 2018 and Great Taste Award in the UK in 2017.
On each of the product pages, you will see exactly how the tea was grown, when it was harvested and its shelf life. The taste and aroma are described in detail and you can learn more about each of the teas by reading customer reviews.
TeaVivre offers a wide selection of the best Chinese green teas and here are my top picks:
Clearspring sells a variety of green tea types, from Sencha green tea to matcha green tea. Their teas are sourced from Kyoto in Japan and they are all certified organic by The Soil Association. Apart from loose leaf tea they also offer green tea bags and matcha powdered green tea.
Kyoto, where their green tea comes from, is famous for its numerous gardens and Buddhist temples and the green tea produced for Clearspring is grown on the outskirts of town, in an unpolluted area where lush, green hills thrive.
To preserve the unique properties of green tea and its nutritional benefits, green tea leaves are immediately steamed after picking. This process is sometimes referred to as the Sencha process and takes place within 24 hours of harvesting. This hinders the enzyme activity which is responsible for oxidation and helps to retain bright emerald green leaf colour of the tea.
Their organic sencha green tea has won a ‘Highly Commended’ award and has been ‘Commended By Consumers’ in Organic Food Awards 2012. This no doubt means something and is a good reason why this brand should be high on your list.
Clearspring’s green tea is ethically sourced and they follow strict environmental standards to reduce their impact on the environment. They also ensure their products are safe by testing for radioactivity when they arrive in the EU.
Heath & Heather
Established in 1920, Heath & Heather consider themselves to be number 1 herbal tea & infusion specialist. Their organic green tea bags come in different flavours such as coconut, lemongrass, jasmine and manuka. I’ve tried some of their flavours and found Manuka flavour quite nice and enjoyable. They offer a greater variety of green tea flavours than any other brand so they are a good option for those who don’t like plain green tea. I must admit, some of their flavours are quite unusual so they are great for those who like to be a little bit more adventurous with their tea.
Heath & Heather source their organic green tea leaves from across China and South India and all the farms they work with are fully certified by the Soil Association. This means that they have to follow strict guidelines to achieve this status. This includes specific processing methods, correct storing, protecting the natural environment and packaging legislation. Their green tea is also certified by the USDA.
Heath & Heather teabags are made from soft woods, hard woods and long fibre (manila hemp). Their teabags are simply folded and sewn with string so they do not contain polypropylene (plastic), which is required for more traditional ‘heat sealing’ processes employed by many other tea companies.
Out of their selection of green teas, these are worth a mention:
- Imperial Matcha Green Tea – this tea is a blend of Organic Matcha 3%, Organic Chinese Sencha and Organic South Indian green tea. Customers love it as it’s not bitter and has an excellent taste. It’s refreshing and energising.
- Organic Pure Green Tea – this tea has been carefully selected by expert blenders and you know it’s a winner since customers are happy with its taste. The taste is subtle and light and not too strong.
Best green tea bag brands
Although loose leaf tea is always better than tea bags, sometimes it’s easier to use tea bags, for example when you are travelling. Here are some of the best green tea bags that you can buy:
- Hamstead Tea – their biodynamic and organic green tea is as pure as it could be and their tea bags are plastic-free and contain no glue.
- Dragonfly Tea – their Pure Green Mountain Organic Green Tea (Formally called Emerald Mountain) comes from the lush green mountains of Southern China and it’s grown at high altitudes away from pollution. The tea bags are folded and stitched – they contain no plastic and are staple free. Different flavours are available.
- Yogi Tea – If you like flavoured green tea, Yogi tea is a brand worth considering. Their green tea is grown in the hills away from any cities in China, mostly in the Zhejiang region. The green tea bags are biodegradable and plastic-free. Every batch of green tea is analysed for pesticides before being sold. It takes at least 4 months after the tea has been harvested before it goes on sale.
- Pukka – certified organic, ethically sourced, fairtrade and plastic-free bags. Whole tea leaves are chopped just before packing tea into tea bags to preserve more flavour and the flavour is lighter because green tea leaves are flash dried. What I really like about Pukka’s teas is that they clearly state on their website where their teas come from. Their Supreme Matcha Green, for example, contains Chinese sencha green tea which is sourced from Da Zhang mountain, away from the biggest cities and the worst pollution. This tea also contains Oothu green tea which comes from the mountain range in India called the Western Ghats.
- Clipper – Clipper green tea is a blend of green teas from different countries (mostly China I think) but at least it’s certified organic by The Soil Association. The tea bags are plastic-free, biodegradable and non-bleached. The tea is also certified Fairtrade. Not the best quality green tea but it’s affordable.
- Heath & Heather – they offer a wide range of flavoured green tea so if you don’t like plain green tea you will have plenty of choices.