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People have consumed green tea for hundreds of years. In beverage form, whether hot or iced, it's known for gentle flavors that range from earthy to sweet. On top of that, green tea can be used as an ingredient in everything from ice cream to cakes to smoothies. There are several varieties of green tea leaves, two of the most popular being matcha and sencha.
We've rounded up our favorite green teas below and detailed what we like, and even dislike about each one. We researched top-rated options in a range of categories to ensure that all sorts of tea drinkers can find the right pick. After all, everyone should be able to enjoy the culinary versatility and delicious taste of green tea.
For a cozy and soothing cup, here are the best green teas to buy.
Best Overall: The Republic of Tea Honey Ginseng Green Tea
Comes in storage tin
Smooth and slightly sweet
On the pricier end
Some say flavor is too gentle
If you’re looking for a refreshing, delicate cup of tea that balances sweet and nutty notes, look no further than The Republic of Tea’s People’s Honey Ginseng Green Tea. The Republic of Tea harvests its green tea leaves from China, where green tea originated, and uses minimal processing to create a finished product that’s smooth enough to satisfy both green tea connoisseurs and those who are sipping on green tea just for the antioxidants.
The Republic of Tea also uses unbleached tea bags and all of its teas are free of additives—the People’s Green Tea’s only ingredient is China green tea leaves—so you can feel confident that you’re getting all of the goodness of green tea without any potentially harmful preservatives.
Form: Tea bags and loose leaf | Caffeine: 20 to 30 milligrams | Steep Time: 1 to 3 minutes | Ingredients: China green tea, linden flowers, pollen, eleuthero, Panax ginseng, and natural honey flavor
Best Loose Leaf: Thrive Market Organic Darjeeling Green Loose Leaf Tea
Distinct but not overpowering taste
Organic and ethically sourced
Steeping instructions on bag
Available in just one size
Only sold by Thrive Market
If you prefer loose-leaf green tea over pre-bagged options, Thrive Market’s Organic Darjeeling Green Loose Leaf Tea rightfully earned the best loose-leaf green tea spot. Not only is the tea organic, but the leaves are also handpicked and ethically sourced from local farmers, so each package helps support small communities in the Himalayas, where the tea is harvested from.
And since the only ingredient is organic Darjeeling green tea leaves, the natural floral sweetness and smooth finish really shine through with each brewed cup.
Form: Loose leaf | Caffeine: 20 milligrams | Steep Time: 2 minutes, 30 seconds | Ingredients: Organic Darjeeling green tea leaves
"The number one thing to improve tea at home is to stop covering it. This is essential for green and yellow teas. For other kinds, if the tea isn't very good quality then leaving it open will increase the taste." — Shunan Teng, Founder and CEO of Tea Drunk
One way to brew tea openly is by using a fairness pitcher (or gong dao bei), which is common in Gong Fu brewing—a traditional Chinese style of tea preparation.
Best Organic: Buddha Teas Organic Sencha Green Tea
Available in loose leaf too
Boxes made from recycled material
Steeping instructions on box
Tea bags tear easily
There are lots of organic teas out there, but the Buddha Tea Organic Sencha Green Tea earned the spot of best organic green tea for several reasons. Of course, its delicate fresh taste is one of the big ones. But it’s also because it’s a flavonoid-rich tea made without any artificial colors, preservatives, or additives.
Like many organic tea manufacturers, Buddha Teas uses 100 percent organic green tea leaves to create this item, but it takes it a step further by also using bleach-free tea bags, which ensures that no chemicals leach into the organic tea while the tea is brewing.
As an added bonus, the brand's boxes are made from recycled materials, so you can feel good about drinking a tea that’s good for you and for the Earth.
Form: Tea bags and loose leaf | Caffeine: 30 milligrams | Steep Time: 3 to 5 minutes | Ingredients: Organic green tea
Best Decaf: Celestial Seasonings Decaf Green Tea
Available in K-Cups
White tea blend to avoid bitterness
No strings on tea bags
When it comes to caffeinated beverages, green tea is fairly low on the list. An 8-ounce cup contains about 30 milligrams of caffeine. For comparison, the same size cup of coffee packs in 95 milligrams, while black tea hovers around 50 milligrams. But even though there’s not a lot of caffeine in green tea to start with, if you’re really sensitive to the stimulant, you might be looking for a completely decaffeinated green tea. That’s where the Celestial Seasonings Decaf Green Tea comes in.
The brand combines green tea and white tea leaves for a smoother, mellower taste. The gentle flavor and lack of caffeine make it a great option right before bed. On the flip side, however, some customers wish the beverage had a slightly stronger flavor. The tea bags are sold in 40-count boxes, and there's a K-Cup version available for those who want their tea fast.
Form: Tea bags and K-Cups | Caffeine: 0 milligrams | Steep Time: 2 minutes | Ingredients: Decaffeinated green tea, decaffeinated white tea and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)
Best for Travel: Pique Tea Organic Mint Green Tea
Multiple flavors available
Dissolves well when stirred
Can make hot or iced tea
Expensive per serving
Designed for small servings
Pique is an innovator in the tea world, creating travel-friendly tea crystals that are soluble in both hot and cold water. Each box of Organic Mint Green Tea contains 14 individual packets that you can mix with hot water or pour right into bottled water and shake for iced tea, making it ideal for anyone constantly on the go.
And if you’re worried that tea crystals are some type of highly processed franken-tea, don’t be. Pique uses a natural process called cold brew crystallization to create crystals from organic loose-leaf tea leaves. According to Pique, this creates a sort of tea concentrate that contains up to 12 times the beneficial compounds as regular brewed tea, with no pesticides, heavy metals, or mold.
It’s not just convenient, though. The Organic Mint Green Tea has a fresh and cleansing green tea flavor that makes each sip smooth and highly enjoyable.
Form: Tea crystals | Caffeine: 22 to 33 milligrams | Steep Time: N/A | Ingredients: Organic green tea and spearmint
"Mistakes with brewing tea usually involve time, temperature, or water-to-tea ratio. This means brewing for too long or too short; using an incorrect temperature; or using too much or too little tea. Being mindful of all three factors will help people develop their tea-brewing techniques." — Shunan Teng
Best Matcha: Encha Ceremonial Grade Organic Matcha Green Tea
Reasonably priced for ceremonial matcha
Vibrant color and aroma
Good choice for beginners
Packaged in bags not tins
A list of all of the best green teas wouldn’t be complete without at least one matcha green tea option. Matcha, which literally means “powdered tea,” is a type of green tea that’s made from taking young tea leaves, drying them, and grinding them into a powder. Then you can mix that powder into hot water or your favorite milk or non-dairy milk substitute if you want to make a green tea latte.
There are lots of matcha options out there, but the Encha Ceremonial Grade Organic Matcha Green Tea earned the best matcha tea spot for several reasons. It has the light signature grassy flavor of matcha without being overpowering. Even if you’re new to matcha, you’ll enjoy the mellow subtly sweet flavor of Encha.
It’s organic and comes directly from Kyoto, Japan—matcha’s birthplace. At first, the price may make you raise an eyebrow, but keep in mind that a little goes a really long way. You only need about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per cup, so you’ll get 30 to 60 servings from one pouch.
Form: Matcha powder | Caffeine: 60 milligrams | Steep Time: N/A | Ingredients: Pure matcha green tea powder
Best Iced: Pure Leaf Unsweetened Green Tea
Easy to find in-store and online
Multiple flavors available
Prices vary widely by retailer
May not be sweet enough for some
Most pre-bottled iced teas are full of sugar or artificial sweeteners, but the Pure Leaf Unsweetened Green Tea isn’t like most. Not only is it completely free of sugar, but it’s made with only three ingredients: brewed green tea, ascorbic acid, and natural flavor.
And the tea really is brewed from fresh tea leaves that are picked at their prime. There are no powders or concentrates used here. This simplicity gives it a crisp, clean flavor that tastes just like freshly brewed tea that you would make at home.
It also comes in three sizes—18.5 ounces, 59 ounces, and 64 ounces—so you can take a bottle with you on the go or keep it stocked in your refrigerator so you can pour a cold glass when an iced tea craving hits.
Form: Bottled iced tea | Caffeine: 44 milligrams | Steep Time: N/A | Ingredients: Brewed tea, ascorbic acid, and natural flavor
Best Flavored: GT's Living Foods Cosmic Cranberry Kombucha
Excellent source of probiotics
Multiple flavors available
Not too sweet, not too tart
Slightly more sugar than other brands
If you’re not a huge fan of plain green tea, but you’re still looking for a way to reap its antioxidant-rich benefits, GT’s Living Foods Cosmic Cranberry Kombucha has got you covered. GT’s combines a base of green tea, black tea, and kiwi juice with pure unsweetened cranberry juice to create a slightly sweetened fermented tea that’s likely to please all palates, even those of the tea averse.
To sweeten the deal even more, in addition to all of the antioxidant benefits of green tea, kombucha is rich in probiotics, or good bacteria, that are created during the fermentation process. These probiotics contribute to good gut health and may even help boost your immune system, too.
If the tartness of cranberry isn’t your thing, you can try GT’s Living Foods 25th Anniversary Sacred Life Kombucha, a limited edition flavor that combines its signature kombucha tea base with coconut water, ginger, and spirulina or any of GT’s other flavors, which include gingerade, cucumber mint lime, and strawberry lemonade, to name a few.
Form: Bottled kombucha | Caffeine: 8 to 16 milligrams | Steep Time: N/A | Ingredients: Kombucha culture, black tea, green tea, kiwi juice, and pure unsweetened cranberry juice
Best for Weight Loss: Yogi Green Tea Blueberry Slim Life
Unique and sweet taste
USDA Certified Organic
Mixed reviews on curbing appetite
Caffeine may prevent drinking around dinnertime
Green tea is highly touted as a natural weight loss aid and, if that’s your main goal, Yogi makes narrowing down your options a little bit easier. While all green tea contains EGCG, the compound that’s said to help you shed pounds, the Yogi Green Tea Blueberry Slim Life tea takes weight loss support a step further.
This option combines green tea with Garcinia Cambogia Fruit Extract and Ginseng and Eleuthero Roots, natural compounds that the manufacturer claims boost energy and increase stamina when you combine the tea with a weight loss program that includes exercise and good nutrition.
Yogi also incorporates hibiscus flowers and organic blueberry flavor, which add fruity, slightly sweet notes to the tea, making it stand out from the plain varieties on this list.
Form: Tea bags | Caffeine: 35 milligrams | Steep Time: 3 minutes | Ingredients: Organic green tea leaf, bilberry leaf, hibiscus flower, orange flavor, Garcinia cambogia, fruit extract, etc. (full ingredient list on box)
The Republic of Tea's People's Honey Ginseng Green Tea (view at Amazon) has everything you could want: it's affordable, easy to find, and offers a balance of sweet and earthy flavor. It can also be enjoyed iced! Those interested in a loose-leaf option, on the other hand, should check out Thrive Market's Darjeeling Green Loose Leaf Tea (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in Green Tea
Whether you're new to green tea or a seasoned sipper, knowing a bit about the different varieties will make it easier to choose the right option. Sencha is perhaps the most common variety and a great starting point for beginners. There's also gyokuro (a sweeter variety), matcha (known for lattes and baked goods), and many more.
It may seem minor, but the way your tea is packaged affects how it’s brewed and, subsequently, how it tastes. You'll likely see tea packaged in one of three ways: tea bags, sachets, or loose-leaf form. If you prefer quickness and convenience, tea bags might be the way to go. If you want to adjust tea strength to your specific taste, try loose leaf. Sachets strike the middle ground, storing loose tea in large, usually pyramid-shaped bags.
Like all kinds of tea, green tea comes in a wide variety of prices. You can pick up cheap bagged options in your local grocery store or find extremely pricey loose-leaf varieties online or at tea shops. Generally, you get what you pay for as far as quality, but luckily there are good options in every price range.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Lindsay Boyers is a certified holistic nutritionist with extensive food and drink-testing experience. She’s developed over 1,000 original recipes and is constantly on a mission to find the healthiest, best-tasting options across all food and beverage categories.
This piece was edited by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches a variety of products, from tiny tea infusers to high-end kettles, and interviews field experts for their insight. He is especially a fan of matcha, enjoying it in everything from lattes and smoothies to the traditional form.
Shunan Teng is the founder and CEO of Tea Drunk and an avid tea educator. Tea Drunk was founded in 2013 and has a brick-and-mortar tea house in New York City. Its teaware and Chinese teas can be purchased online.