Sharing my go-to list of safe tea brands to help you navigate choosing a non-toxic tea to enjoy!
I remember when I first saw a list of “toxic teas” I was honestly shocked! Tea is “supposed” to be a healthy drink – BUT it’s quite the opposite when it’s drenched in pesticides, potential carcinogens, plastics, heavy metals, & unnecessary additives. As with many things, quality matters. Especially with tea.
With that said, I wanted to put together & share a list of my favorite safe tea brands to help you navigate the very messy world of tea. I personally LOVE tea & often drink about 2 cups of tea a day, so once I learned how toxic tea can be, I really made an effort to find safer alternatives. Below are 5 brands of tea that are not only safe for you & your health, but are absolutely delicious! I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do!
Why is some tea toxic?
Unfortunately there are many teas out there that are deemed toxic due to a few factors. One of the most common factors is illegal pesticide use. In this 2013 study done by the Glaucus Studies company, 11 tea brands used tea leaves containing pesticides. The brand Celestial Seasonings, was one of the top offenders, due to a large percentage of their products being over the government pesticide limit.
Not only is pesticide use a huge issue in the tea industry, but many tea brands have flouride, known carcinogens, heavy metals, artificial ingredients, natural flavors, GMOS, & more, lurking in their tea. And since most herbs are not washed before they end up in your hot cup of water, you are left to consume whatever is within the tea bags – good or bad!
Toxic Tea Brands To Avoid
Below are some tea brands that I’d suggest staying away from.
- Celestial Seasonings
- Trader Joe’s
- Twinings of London
- Bigelow & C.O. Bigelow
- Uncle Lee’s Legends of China
- No Name Tea
How to avoid toxins in teas?
1. Read the ingredient label
Avoid buying teas that have natural flavors, added flavors, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, & corn starch since those can be genetically modified ingredients, all of which will be shown on the ingredient label!
2. Buy Organic & non-GMO Certified
When purchasing tea, you’ll want to look for organic & non-GMO certified brands of tea. Don’t try to cheap out & save a few bucks on tea, because while you might be saving a few extra dollars, you are consuming far worse! When it comes to tea, buying organic matters!
3. Google the brand
Do a quick Google Search on the brand you’re buying from. Are they a Certified B Corporation? Are they testing for heavy metals? How do they package their tea? Are their tea bags made out of plastic? Do they conduct third party testing? Most brands will have this information directly on their website.
4. Bring your own tea
When you travel, visit a hotel, go to the salon, etc. bring your own tea! Many airlines, hotels, & restaurants, offer tea but they are usually from a brand that is on the toxic tea list. I always tell people to be their own advocate. Simply bring your own tea & ask for a hot cup of water to reduce your toxic exposure.
Safe Tea Brands
1. Pique Tea
If you’ve been following me for some time now, I’m sure you’ve seen me share Pique. Over the past year, they have become my absolute go-to for all things tea, matcha, & immune support. Their teas have quickly become my favorite after I learned about their standards for overall safety, transparency, & purity. All of the ingredients Pique uses are carefully sourced & are Triple Toxin Screened for things like heavy metals, pesticides, & toxic mold.
I also love how they use something called Cold Extraction Technology™ which gently extracts & preserves active compounds & phytonutrients from the ingredients used. This distills them into their most effective & bioavailable form.
Overall, I highly recommend anything from Pique. They are an amazing brand & a proud partner of Everyday with Madi Rae. With that said, feel free to use code MADIROWAN to save when shopping Pique!
Favorite Pique Teas:
2. Sama Tea
Sama Tea is a newer brand that I was introduced to in Winter of 2021. The Founders of Sama Tea are Jay Shetty & his wife, Radhi Devlukia-Shetty. Over the past few months, I’ve tried a few boxes of their adaptogen tea & have really really enjoyed them, especially their Detox & Cleanse tea…it has quickly become a favorite of mine! I really like the Sama Tea brand because all of their teas are Certified USDA Organic & GMO free, & their tea bags are plastic free. The Sama tea sachets are made from a plant based material called PLA & are designed to be compostable. They offer both non-caffeinated & caffeinated tea flavors.
Favorite Sama Teas:
- Detox & Cleanse (Lemongrass Ginger)
- Warm & Nourish (Vanilla Chai)
3. Traditional Medicinals
I’ve been a fan of Traditional Medicinals herbal tea for a while now. They are a very popular brand for pure herbal tea & have a lot of great options – I’ve listed a few of my favorites below. Chamomile is one of top favorite choices for tea, I LOVE to have chamomile tea in the evenings. Traditional Medicinals is a certified B Corp, they have tremendous ingredient transparency, & have been a pioneer in the wellness tea category within the United States & Canada.
Another thing about Traditional Medicinals that I really love is that they put their herbal ingredients through rigorous testing to test for heavy metals & other microbial contaminants. Their tea bags are also plastic-free & their teas are organic!
Favorite Traditional Medicinals Teas:
4. Choice Organics
I have been drinking Choice Organics for many years now because Rooibos is one of my favorite teas ever & in my opinion, they have the BEST Rooibos tea out there! All of Choice’s teas are USDA certified organic & they also carry the Non-GMO Project Verification seal on every box. I also really love that the East West Tea Company (who is the parent company of Choice Organics) is a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership. This Partnership works to develop & implement programs across the globe to create a more fair & sustainable tea industry for tea workers, farmers, & the environment.
Choice Organics also uses plastic free tea bags. They use a non-heat sealable filtration paper which is made from hemp fibers & wood pulp, making their staple-free & plastic-free tea bags completely compostable!
Favorite Choice Organics Teas:
5. Pukka Tea
Pukka Tea has some really lovely tea blends. My favorite of theirs is the Chamomile, Vanilla, & Manuka Honey! As I mentioned, Chamomile Tea is one of my absolute favorites & the addition of the vanilla & Manuka Honey is just delicious! Pukka tests all of their raw materials & they use a simple stitch of organic cotton paired with an unique folding process to hold their teabags together. This is important especially after many tea companies were found using a plastic called polypropylene to seal the edges of their teabags. Pukka Tea was also the first company to ever use organic strings without the need of a metal staple & of course do not use polypropylene to hold together their bags.
Favorite Pukka Teas:
I hope this list of safe tea brands is helpful if you’re a fellow tea lover who is looking for some non-toxic tea to enjoy! Have you tried any of the tea brands on this list? If so, I’d love to hear any favorites of yours! The five brands included are not only safe brands, but they are my absolute favorite brands for tea – which is yet another reason I wanted to share!
Drop your favorite non-toxic tea brand below!
Hi! I’m curious about your placement of Yogi tea on the “to avoid” list. Other similar lists include them on the “good” list. Can you describe what led you to your conclusion?
Madi Rowan says
Hi Kayla, I have Yogi tea of the list to avoid due to natural flavors!
Susan L Leslie says
“Little Red cup”, a small company in Maine, should be on your recommended list. Littleredcuptea.com. Organic, Fair Trade, whole leaf. They select teas from producers they know from many years in China. Not a lot of selections but each one is very well described, with explicit brewing instructions. Samples available! I really have to watch my pennies, and have not been disappointed over several years. Want tea bags for a quick cup? Buy some unbleached paper teabags and fill them yourself! Because they only sell whole leaf there is not a layer of powder and bits at the bottom of the container. No! I am not affiliated with them in any way. I just want one of my favorite small businesses to get a nod in an article like this. A lot of people think that if a tea is popular or expensive it must be safe, so share this article with friends.
Madi Rowan says
Hi Susan! Thanks a lot for sharing your experience with Little Red Cup! I love shopping small & love that they are New England based (I live in New Hampshire)! xo
Misty Matthews says
Hi! What is wrong with “natural flavors”?
Also, what about the brand Republic of Tea?
Madi Rowan says
Hi Misty! Thanks for stopping by! Natural Flavors can be a loophole for many undisclosed ingredients, it doesn’t mean they all are bad, but it’s just something to be mindful of! I’m not super familiar with Republic of Tea, however I do like that they are certified Non-GMO!
Nancy M. Dewar says
Hi, long time tea lover here. I would love to open up a tea shop in my small town. Do u have any recommendations for educating myself in the tea relm and must knows? I always would love to go to a “tea tasting” if that is even a thing? Wine lovers have them and so should us tea lovers. Any info is appreciated.
Madi Rowan says
Hi Nancy! Thanks for stopping by! A tea shop sounds lovely! I’m sure there’s a course out there that will teach you everything you need to know about the many teas out there if that’s a passion of yours! I’d hop on Google or see if there are any local offerings near you! xo
Don Maloney says
Does anyone know if Whole Foods brand organic black and green bagged teas are safe? Thnx in advance for the input
Madi Rowan says
Hi Don! Thanks for commenting! I’ll have to look into those!
Kelly Kurcina says
Can you recommend a low lead oolong tea?
Madi Rowan says
Hi Kelly! Yes! I’d recommend this Sacred Lily Oolong tea from Pique! They are USDA organic & triple toxin screen their teas for impurities like heavy metals!