So you’ve read a few of our articles on tea, and you’re looking to up your game. Well, look no longer. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite brands for your brewing pleasure, so whether you’re shopping for groceries or browsing the Internet at 3 am, you’ll never be far from a good cup of tea.

You’ve probably heard of loose leaf tea before, but check out this article if you haven’t. It’s usually higher quality. I prefer it to teabags, so I’ll be focusing entirely on loose leaf for this list. If you want to keep drinking the bagged stuff, that’s fine. Just realize you’ll never be as cool as the rest of us.

If you’re looking for cheap, good tea that won’t break the bank, you’ll find it here. If you’re looking for something fancy to spend a bit of scholarship money on, you can find that here, too. You can even find something nice to give your family over the holidays. This list runs the gamut from study drinks to specialty blends, so let’s get started.

Harney & Sons


Photo by Hayley Pennesi

Harney & Sons is an American tea company that specializes in loose-leaf teas, and they do a really good job of it. Their teas are better than almost anything else you’ll find in the grocery store, and you can get a 4-oz. tin for about $6.50.

Personally, I love their English Breakfast, but they carry almost everything. Keep an eye out for it next time you go grocery shopping, or pick up a tin at the French Market downtown. You won’t be disappointed.


Now, I know what you’re thinking, why is Twinings on this list when I just said Harney & Sons is the best grocery store tea? The answer, of course, is Lady Grey. It’s a lighter, more refreshing version of the standard Earl Grey with less bergamot and more cornflower, and it’s the Twinings tea I care about.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t pay attention to their other stuff, since their quality is great across the board, but Lady Grey is by far the best. You can find it at most higher end grocery stores for about $8.



Photo courtesy of Starbucks Newsroom

If you’re in Knoxville, and you’re looking for a tea shop, Teavana is pretty much your only option, which isn’t a bad thing. This is where I got started, and it’s probably one of the best places to ease into loose leaf tea. Being able to smell and taste a tea before you buy it is important if you’re just starting out, and they’ve got a great selection of flavored and herbal teas to try.

It’s easy to go overboard here though, so it’s a good idea to know your budget before you buy anything. They’ve also got some pretty great starter kits and gift boxes, and they have regular sales which are really worth checking out. Next time you’re in West Town Mall make sure you stop by (at least for the free samples).

Adagio Teas

This is an online retailer, and they’re one of the best. They’ve got a great selection of tea, an even better selection of teaware, and some of the most generous sampler sets available. I’ve been ordering from Adagio for years, but I really keep coming back for their Genmaicha. It’s a Japanese green tea mixed with toasted rice, and it’s got a fantastic popcorn-like flavor that you just can’t find anywhere else.

Overall, they sell everything and do a great job with all of it. It’s why I keep coming back, and why you should check them out, too.

So now you know where to buy tea, and how to find something good. I’m going to apologize in advance for whatever crippling tea addictions stem out of this or any paychecks you blow on rare seasonal teas, but I won’t apologize for sending you back out into the world armed with a little more knowledge and a decent cup of tea. I think you’ve earned it.


Want to know more about tea?

Which Tea Should You Be Drinking?

The Mystery of Bubble Tea

10 Reasons Tea Is Better Than Coffee

What is Tea, Anyway