Tea is a popular hot or cold drink that has been consumed in nearly every country around the world for the last 5000 years or so.
It’s said that tea was discovered by accident when tea leaves blew into a pot of boiling water and the delightful aroma intrigued the man who was cooking, so he drank it.
Tea has come a long way from just pots of water on an outdoor fire and is now used for all sorts of medicinal purposes and, most commonly, as a comfort drink.
Not every tea drinker realizes, however, that some types of tea have more caffeine in them than conventional coffee. What if you don’t want the effects of caffeine, but you still want the comfort and benefits of tea? Decaf tea will come to your rescue, of course.
What are the best decaf teas? The best decaf tea types will vary by individual taste. For decaffeinated black, green, and white teas, the CO2 decaffeination method is usually preferred as it retains a better flavor. Naturally caffeine-free herbal teas do not have this problem and can be chosen by taste alone.
Keep reading this post to learn all about decaffeinated tea. We’ve done the research and compiled a list and reviews of the 11 best decaf teas on the market today.
What is Decaf Tea?
Decaf tea is a tea that has had most of the caffeine removed from the leaves.
Removing the caffeine from tea leaves is a time-consuming process that must be approved by health experts and governments in order to guarantee the lack of caffeine.
Decaffeinating tea leaves can be done in a few different ways. One way is to introduce carbon dioxide in a pressurized liquid form. This attracts the caffeine to be removed and leaves the flavor and aroma behind.
Another option is to soak the leaves in chemicals like ethyl acetate and/or methylene. This is industry standard but doesn’t leave the flavor as rich as the previous method.
How Much Caffeine is in Decaf Tea?
Even when a package of tea says “decaf” or “decaffeinated,” it most likely still has at least a small amount of caffeine in it.
Although considerably less, decaf tea can still contain up to 2.5% of the original amount of caffeine that would conventionally be in that variety.
Tea can be sold as decaf if it contains as little as 1 milligram to as much as 8 milligrams of caffeine per serving.
Benefits of Decaf Tea
Decaf tea is carefully manufactured to maintain all the benefits of traditional tea, just without the caffeine.
Drinking tea has many claimed health benefits that range from aiding in stomach upset to helping to ward off certain types of cancer. Tea can help with memory, focus, and mental health.
The type of tea you choose will have different benefits, but if you enjoy the flavor and heavenly aroma, one thing is certain: tea is comforting and soothing.
Decaf tea will have all the benefits without keeping you awake at night or giving you the jitters during your day if you happen to be sensitive to stimulants like caffeine.
Are There Downsides to Decaf Tea?
Despite the great potential benefits, decaf tea still has some drawbacks.
As previously mentioned, decaffeinated tea still contains a minor amount of caffeine that can affect those who have an allergy or who are hypersensitive to caffeine.
Some decaf teas are marketed as diet or weight loss tea, which can contain laxatives and other harmful chemicals that may have very uncomfortable side effects, frequent emergency trips to the bathroom among them.
Sometimes, the chemicals used to remove caffeine from tea can trigger negative reactions in people who are prone to chemical sensitivities.
The most common, but not all, of the side effects that can occur with decaf tea are headache, nausea, difficulty breathing or wheezing and vomiting.
These side effects are not common, but worth noting.
Types of Decaf Tea
You can find almost every type of popular tea variety and brand with a decaffeinated option.
If black tea is your cup of tea, many of the black tea varieties come in a decaf option, including English breakfast and Earl Grey. The ever-popular and super trendy green tea varieties can be found in decaf as well.
White tea naturally has lower caffeine content but is also available in a decaf version by certain brands. Oolong tea is a speciality Chinese tea that can also be put through the decaffeination process.
Herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free, so they’re not technically decaf, but they generally fill the same requirements for tea drinkers who are searching for a caffeine-free solution.
To recap, some examples of caffeine-free tea include:
- Black decaf tea
- Green decaf tea
- White decaf tea
- Oolong decaf tea
- Herbal Tea
Decaf Tea vs Herbal Tea
Is there a difference between decaf and herbal tea? Absolutely.
As mentioned above decaffeinated teas are processed to remove the caffeine from the tea leaves. Herbal teas are made by using caffeine-free herbs and fruits and never had caffeine to start with.
The 11 Best Decaf Teas of 2021
If you have a favorite variety of tea, we’ve done the research to discover the decaf version that tastes the best, is the best quality or is the most convenient to drink. Next up is our reviews of the 11 best decaf teas:
|1.||Twinings Decaffeinated English Breakfast Tea||Best decaf traditional black tea|
|2.||Harney & Sons Decaffeinated Black Tea||Best Kosher certified decaf tea|
|3.||Taylors of Harrogate Decaffeinated Breakfast Tea||Best naturally decaffeinated tea (CO2)|
|4.||Bigelow Decaffeinated French Vanilla Black Tea||Best flavored black tea|
|5.||Tetley British Blend Decaffeinated Black Tea||Best British style tea bags|
|6.||Stash Herbal & Decaf Tea Sampler||Best decaf + herbal tea|
|7.||Lipton Cold Brew Decaffeinated Black Tea||Best decaf iced tea|
|8.||Allegro Tea Organic Decaf Green Tea||Best decaf green tea|
|9.||Purely Native Decaffeinated Oolong Tea||Best decaf oolong tea|
|10.||FGO Organic Black Tea||Best 100% USDA certified organic tea|
|11.||Choice Organics Decaffeinated English Breakfast Tea||Best compostable English Breakfast tea|
Let’s take a closer look at each of these bad boys.
1. Twinings of London Decaffeinated English Breakfast Tea
Twinings of London is one of the most honored names in tea on a global scale.
They are best known for their traditional English Breakfast tea, and they offer a flavorful, satisfying decaf version that doesn’t disappoint.
Twinings of London also has an incredible Decaffeinated Lady Grey tea.
This tea is a milder, more citrusy twist of the more conventional Earl Grey variety, with stronger flavors of orange and lemon.
- Blended from a combination of the finest tea leaves from 5 different regions to develop the unique, complexity of the flavor
- Tastes just as good as the regular, caffeinated version
- Packaged in a case of 6 boxes, each with 20 individual tea bags
Biggest Drawback: This brand used to use “natural” decaf methods using CO2 which was a major selling feature for a lot of fans.
In recent years, they switched to using the chemical solvent ethyl acetate which is one of the most popular methods of decaffeination for the market. It meets industry standards but has left some long-time loyal buyers frustrated.
2. Harney & Sons Decaffeinated Black Tea
Harney & Sons is a prominent American tea company offering more than 300 varieties of tea.
Their mission is a focus on quality and premium ingredients, offering a great selection of organic teas as well as Kosher certified teas.
It’s interesting to note that not all decaf tea is Kosher, though most unflavored teas are. Harney & Sons has gone through the process to ensure their decaf variety is Kosher for those observing Passover.
- Packaged in a box of 50 individual tea bags
- Kosher certified decaf
- Members of the 1% for the Planet organization, helping to promote positive environmental change
Biggest Drawback: Many customers of this brand love the premium flavor and experience that comes from buying the sachets in tins.
Unfortunately, the decaf is only available in individually wrapped tea bags, which is convenient and price effective but minimizes a treasured experience for brand fans.
3. Taylors of Harrogate Decaffeinated Breakfast Tea
Taylors of Harrogate is a family business, dedicated to the passion process behind tea-making.
They believe in sustainable growing practices and fair treatment within the supply train and, best of all, in finding ways to achieve high impact social goals while still delivering extraordinarily flavored teas.
Taylors of Harrogate also has an incredible white tea, which is naturally very low in caffeine if you would like to check out that option as well.
- Blend of high-quality African teas with light, sweet flavors
- Packaged in a box of 50 tea bags, not individually wrapped
- Decaffeinated naturally with carbon dioxide for fullest, brightest flavor
Biggest Drawback: The box of 50 contains loose tea bags that are not individually wrapped. While many people appreciate this for the environmental benefits, others aren’t as impressed by the seemingly lower quality presentation.
4. Bigelow Decaffeinated French Vanilla Black Tea
If you’re unwilling to give up the luxury of flavored teas despite your need or desire to shift toward decaf versions, Bigelow has you covered.
This Certified B Corp brand has been a leader in the premium tea industry since 1945 and the decaffeinated French Vanilla black tea is nothing short of indulgent.
With that classic French Vanilla flavor, a hint of sweetness, and rich black tea, you will be treating yourself with every cup.
- Delivers a potent yet smooth, soft vanilla flavor
- Packaged in a box of 20 individually foil wrapped bags to protect flavor and aroma
- Decaffeinated using FDA approved ethyl acetate
Biggest Drawback: You have to visit the manufacturer’s site to see how they decaffeinate their tea and, while the ethyl acetate method is safe and industry standard, they decaffeinate their green tea using the more natural CO2 method, which would be great if applied to this tea as well, for the improved flavor if nothing else.
5. Tetley British Blend Decaffeinated Black Tea
Tetley is iconic in the tea world. There are few, if any, brands with more global awareness and the brand is particularly famous for its black tea.
This premium British blend is based on the classic English Breakfast style of tea. (What else would you expect from a “British blend”?)
We love the microwavable, completely hassle-free round tea bags that allow for, humorously, “certified frustration-free packaging.”
- Blend of decaffeinated Kenyan and Assam teas
- Variety of package options available, including this bundle of 6 boxes, each with 40 loose tea, string and staple free rounds
- Committed to the Ethical Tea Partnership and Rainforest Alliance, working towards a more sustainable industry
Biggest Drawback: Though this tea is marketed specifically as a British blend, it is generally considered an Americanized version that true Brits might be disappointed with.
The flavor is not as bitter as traditional English blends, which is a positive feature for some drinkers, and a drawback for others.
6. Stash Herbal & Decaf Tea Sampler
Though we think the distinction between decaffeinated and naturally caffeine-free is important if you’re looking for a great cup of tea that won’t give you the jitters, having an assortment of 20 flavors to choose from with confidence is an adventure of its own.
Stash is an American tea company based in Oregon, named for the precious protectiveness tea drinkers have over their “stash” of fine teas.
- Variety pack includes 15 herbal teas, 3 black teas, and 2 green teas for a total choice of 20 varieties
- Comes with By the Cup grade-A honey sticks
- Packaged in a box of 40 individually wrapped tea bags
Biggest Drawback: The addition of the honey sticks is a fantastic marketing partnership, but if all you want is delicious tea, you may not always appreciate investing in the extra treat. However, you can always donate the excess to your office or other family members.
7. Lipton Cold Brew Decaffeinated Black Tea Bags
If iced tea is your summer, or even year-round, go-to beverage, chilling out on the caffeine might help maximize the soothing, relaxing experience even more.
Lipton, while famous for many varieties of tea, makes a Cold Brew decaf iced tea that is specially designed to be made using ice cold water, no boiling necessary. This means you don’t have to water hot tea down with ice, but you can enjoy the full flavor nearly instantly.
- Iced tea ready in 3 minutes, no boiling water required
- Packaged in 3 boxes of 22 family-sized tea bags that make 4 glasses of iced tea each
- Sustainably sourced tea leaves as certified by the Rainforest Alliance
Biggest Drawback: Though this tea is specifically designed to be brewed in cold water, the flavor does not develop as quickly as it would in hot water.
While the instructions in the sales material say it’s ready in 3 minutes, Tetley also suggests steeping for 5 minutes while dunking frequently and then stirring after steeping.
We’d go so far as to allow the tea to steep for an hour or two before serving.
8. Allegro Tea Organic Decaf Green Tea
If you’re a green tea fan, this ultra-mellow decaffeinated version from Allegro will satisfy your cravings.
It’s made from premium, organic Chinese green tea leaves decaffeinated using CO2 for full flavor and antioxidant preservation.
- Organic green tea
- Decaffeinated naturally using CO2
- Packaged in a box of 20, biodegradable tea bags
Biggest Drawback: We love the focus on sustainability and the attention devoted to the biodegradable tea bags, but having each bag individually wrapped seems to compromise that value. Truthfully though, if they were loose, others would be disappointed with that, too.
9. Purely Native Decaffeinated Oolong Tea
Decaffeinated oolong tea is more difficult to find than conventional black tea, but Tazo makes a loose-leaf blend that is full of the smoky, nutty, woodsy flavors and aromas oolong is known for.
- Semi-fermented for complex flavors that combine green and black tea
- Naturally decaffeinated using CO2
- Packaged loose, 3.5 ounces will brew approximately 50 cups
Biggest Drawback: Oolong tea may be a fantastic addition to an otherwise healthy lifestyle and diet plan, but we cringe at the diet-culture detox and weight loss references “if taken with a strict diet.” Just enjoy the gloriousness of the tea.
10. FGO Organic Black Tea
Sometimes what you really want to sip on when you’re looking for a comforting cup of tea is just a basic black tea.
FGO organic black tea comes in hemp fiber paper tea bags that you can throw right in the compost.
- 100% USDA certified organic
- Buy back gurantee
- Compostable tea bags
Biggest Drawback: The tea bags can leave behind a bit of nasty coloration in cups due to some alleged dyes present in the leaves. A little hard to justify the “organic” label if this is the case.
However, we’re sure that the USDA certified organic label comes on good authority and that any slight discoloration in cups is just due to the potency and freshness of the tea leaves themselves.
11. Choice Organics Decaffeinated English Breakfast Tea
English Breakfast tea is a bold, flavorful blend of black teas that is a lot of people’s favorite way to start their day.
If you’re looking to cut down on your caffeine consumption, Choice Organics offers a decaffeinated version of this fan favorite.
- Cartons made from 85% post-consumer waste
- 100% USDA certified organic
Biggest Drawback: These tea bags can be a little on the subtler side, so if you’re looking for a bold, powerful cup of tea, throw an extra bag in there while steeping.
Up Next: The Best Instant Teas