For all that Americans love coffee—and we mean love coffee—tea has just as much of a place in our kitchens! Whether strong and earthy or light and delicate, it’s incredible what a single plant can do. The Camellia sinensis is the basis for almost all tea, with a flavor that can range from grassy to earthy to floral depending on how it’s harvested and prepared. (We do also love herbal teas, don't get us wrong!) What that means is that tea is a world of flavor all its own, and we want to celebrate some of our favorites.
When it comes to tea, Teapigs has dominated our shelves for years, and with good reason. There’s a Teapigs tea for every season and every reason, from invigorating Earl Grey to soothing Chamomile Flowers to grounding Oolong. We like them for the big, whole tea leaves (and herbs and spices!) found in their biodegradable tea bags; no stale, flavorless tea sediment to be found here, nor will your tea habit end up as just another part of a landfill. Even the outer packaging is made from recycled paper and—wait for it—fully compostable clear “plastic” made from renewable wood pulp. (Click here for more information on how it works, as well as how to dispose of all parts of Teapigs packaging.)
Although Kilogram doesn’t have quite the variety Teapigs does, we can’t deny the high quality of their organic, sustainably grown teas. What sets this Chicago-based tea company apart is the strictness by which they evaluate the teas they use—complexity, depth of flavor, aroma, cup color, and more. That, and their eclectic and balanced herbal blends, like their signature King Crimson hibiscus blend featuring rosehips, lemongrass, orange peel, licorice root, and essential tangerine oil.
Quince & Apple don’t make tea, but they merit a mention on this list for their inventive use of tea! Husband and wife duo Matt and Clare make small batch preserves in Madison, Wisconsin, with hands-on care and consideration. This gives them the ability to adjust flavors for seasonal availability of fresh local produce! Their preserves pair amazingly with cheese of all kinds, though Matt and Clare recommend them on ice cream and in sandwiches as well. (A grilled cheese sandwich with a healthy dollop of their Figs & Black Tea Preserves? Sign us up!)