One of the questions I get all the time: what are the best tea flavors? I think ‘best’ is relative – what is delicious decadence to one person might be too sweet to another. But there are many popular tea flavors that are perennial favorites – there must be something to their long term standing.
I’d like to walk you through these teas and highlight some of the story behind them and help you to decide if they’re for you. (At the end of the day, the only way to know is to try them!)
Earl grey tea is one of the world’s most popular tea flavors – made a pop culture hit by Star Trek’s Captain Picard. Earl grey is simply a bergamot-flavored black tea. Bergamot is a type of orange, and earl grey general has cornflowers added for a pop of color. The name is reputedly from a British Prime Minister in the 1830s.
The reason earl grey is one of the best tea flavors is because of the many variations made from it. For example, here at Plum Deluxe we sell a “cream” earl grey tea called Mindful Morning – no, there isn’t any dairy in it; it’s simply a creamy vanilla addition that makes the tea smoother.
You’ll also see Lady Grey, which is typically Earl Grey with lavender, or a French Earl Grey, where rose petals are added instead of cornflowers. And then there’s also the ubiquitous London Fog which is just a earl grey tea latte.
English Breakfast / Irish Breakfast / Scottish Breakfast
Breakfast teas have long been popular, starting with British tea culture. Carrie explains a bit more about the history of the term “breakfast tea” in her Black Tea 101 Guide. In summary, though, a breakfast tea is simply a full-bodied, caffeinated black tea – but this popular tea flavor does not have to only be consumed at breakfast time!
English Breakfast is the most common breakfast blend, which is primarily a Ceylon (Sri Lanka) black tea with Assam (India) tea. Irish Breakfast is a blend of primarily Assam with Ceylon (so the opposite porportion). Scottish Breakfast teas can also include teas from Africa or Indonesia.
Having said all that, here at Plum Deluxe, we push the edge of the term breakfast tea. Our Oregon Breakfast is a half-caff black/honeybush tea blend with hazelnut that a lot of people say reminds them of coffee, making it one of the best tea flavors for coffee lovers, and our Summer Breakfast is simply a full-bodied grapefruit flavored black tea. To be honest, our only breakfast tea isn’t called that! Our unflavored Royale Black tea is technically an Irish Breakfast tea.
Chai is the word for tea in many languages – so when you say “Chai Tea,” you are saying tea tea. Chai is a catch-all term that has evolved to be either a super sweet mixture, or a super spicy concentrated tea. The most popular tea flavor for chai is a masala chai, with an Indian black tea (typically Assam) with cardamom and ginger – sometimes it has milk and sugar, and often has additional spices.
Here at Plum Deluxe, we also have a twist on the term, with a spicy blackberry rose chai called Portland Rose City Chai. But chai tea blends can also take other forms – for example, having a different base such as a white (tea) chai, or a mate chai, or even a green chai. I think the most thing in common with all chai blends is an abundance of spices!
Americans must have a hard time sleeping as a whole because “sleepy tea” is one of the most searched for and most popular tea flavors. One of the best tea favors for sleepy tea is chamomile – a key ingredient in our own Chamomile Cuddletime Tea (with peppermint and vanilla for an evening sweet treat). Lavender and peppermint are also ingredients that are great for sleepy tea, such as what is included in our Ease Herbal Tea.
In general, I think that any herbal tea is great for sleepy time – pair it with a good book or some time with a journal, and you’ll sleep like a baby.
Can’t decide what the best tea flavors are for your palette? Want to try a variety of popular tea flavors every month? Then join our organic tea of the month club! For only $10/month, you’ll get a surprise seasonal artisan tea, plus tasting notes and access to our supportive tea community. It’s the perfect way to explore new tea flavors.