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I Tried 8 Store-Bought Green Teas & the Best Was Mellow and Soothing

The popular tea comes loaded with health benefits, but which brand delivers the best flavor?
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Often, after I've chugged back my morning coffee, I find myself wanting another. Sometimes, I pull a second espresso shot, but after a few sips, my body tells me to stop overloading it with caffeine. (Fair enough.) So, when mid-morning hits, I often want a hot beverage with a bit of caffeine, but I want to skip the inevitable crash. I've experimented with lattes and hot chocolates, but when it comes to a good-for-you alternative, I've found that green tea is the perfect pick-me-up.

I'm a bit late to the party. Green tea is an ancient beverage enjoyed for thousands of years. The best part about this tea is that it offers a pleasurable drinking experience and a mellow caffeine boost. Caffeine-wise, an eight-ounce cup of green tea has about 28 milligrams of caffeine, while coffee would have 96 milligrams.

It's also healthy, boasting high levels of antioxidants, and drinking it offers many reputed benefits, such as improved cognitive, heart, and skin health.

But beyond those perks, a truly great tea should taste good, too. So, to find out which brand offers the best flavor, I recently tested nine common varieties. Some popular brands' bagged offerings, like Tazo, actually mix in lemongrass or spearmint. I skipped those and honed in on pure green teas for this list. I only selected ones that were readily available in common grocery stores rather than specialty tea shops, making these green teas accessible options for your next shopping trip.

I steeped all the teas for two minutes, as directed on each package. (Those who like a stronger flavor would likely want to steep for longer.) After two minutes, I snapped a photo showing the color difference. Green teas can range from bright green to dark yellow and even amber, depending on the type. I drank a different green tea each morning for about a week and then conducted a big side-by-side taste test comparison to suss out the subtleties.

Without further ado, here are nine popular options, ranked from my least favorite to the absolute best-tasting of the whole bunch.

Twining's Green Tea

twinings green tea box and a mug of tea
Photo: Emily Latimer, Eat This, Not That!

Twining's is a venerable British brand dating back over 300 years. You'll find the company's moniker on numerous products, including loose teas, bagged teas, and K-cups. I picked up a box of 50 green tea bags at my local Walmart for $5.83.

The look: Pale green—definitely one of the lighter green shades of the bunch.

The taste: Unfortunately, this popular green tea, sourced from Eastern China's Zhejiang province, landed last on my list due to a very bitter aftertaste. I found Twining's to be the strongest green tea in the bunch—which may be some people's thing—but it didn't allow for a very mellow drinking experience. In fact, my fellow taste testers described a very bitter taste off the top, followed by an unpleasant aftertaste that kicks up the back of your throat after you swallow. Overall, this bitter and strong tea was just not for me.

$7.89 (25 Bags) at Amazon
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Yogi Tea Pure Green Tea

mug of yogi green tea next to box
Photo: Emily Latimer, Eat This, Not That!

Yogi is an all-organic American brand, offering various black, green, and herbal teas. I ordered a 16-count box of its pure green tea bags online for $5.39.

The look: A nice deep amber color.

The taste: I had high hopes for Yogi's. It had nice packaging that mentioned high quality, organic tea leaves.  It's not as bitter as the Twining's. I would call it bright and light. However, I had to rank this near the bottom because, while it packed a pretty aggressive bite at the end, it was otherwise kind of plain and one-note. Strangely enough, this was both the most boring and one of the more offensive tastes. It also packs quite the caffeine punch, with 56 milligrams of caffeine, according to the package.

$22.69 (Pack of 6 Boxes) at Amazon
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Lipton Green Tea

a mug of green tea next to a lipton box
Photo: Emily Latimer, Eat This, Not That!

Lipton is a well-established brand that I've seen in the grocery store hundreds of times. The company has been slinging teas since the 1800s and is perhaps best known in the United States for iced tea, but it offers plenty of options for traditional hot tea sippers, as well. I grabbed a 100-count box of the brand's 100% natural green tea at a local grocery store for $5.46.

The look: Pretty middle of the road color-wise: it's not deep amber, and it's not really green. I'd call it a darkish yellow.

The taste: Right away, Lipton's product packed a vibrant taste that wasn't unpleasant – it was almost lemony or minty, in a way. I found the flavor a bit more interesting, but there was a slightly bitter aftertaste that meant the tea didn't go down as smooth as I'd like. Overall, it was a mild tea that could be enjoyed at a diner or on an airplane – but perhaps not specially chosen at the grocery store when faced with other options.

$13.99 (100 Bags) at Amazon
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Tetley Pure Green Tea

a can of tetley green tea next to a mug
Photo: Emily Latimer, Eat This, Not That!

Tetley is the world's third-largest tea bag brand, offering a vast range of specialty and globally inspired varieties. I picked a 24-count container of its pure green tea from a local grocer for $3.28.

The look: Tetley's option was a nice amber color, though not the deepest of all.

The taste: Unlike some online customers, I wouldn't describe this tea as mild or mellow. In fact, I'd probably go with bright and bitey. I ranked this sixth because while it didn't have a sharp aftertaste, it didn't have much of a taste at all, if I'm honest. For that reason, I think Tetley's green tea would make for a great iced tea—especially mixed with a flavored tea bag, like lemon or peach, or a dollop of honey. Overall, it was a good middle of the road option. Tetley's green tea has 34 milligrams of caffeine per six-ounce cup.

$11.10 (50 Bags) at Amazon
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Numi Organic Gunpowder Green

numi green tea box next to mug
Photo: Emily Latimer, Eat This, Not That!

Numi is a better-for-you brand, promising only pure ingredients and no artificial flavorings. An 18-count box of its non-GMO Gunpowder Green tea bags cost me $6.58 at my local grocer.

The look: A light golden color—just like apple juice.

The taste: This one is near the top of my list because I liked the mild flavor and subtle aroma. Numi's tea was an easy sipper—mild with a smooth, pleasant finish—free from that bitterness that I personally dislike. More experienced tea drinkers may find it's too mild—or heck, even too basic. To each their own: that's what I liked about it! The tea was slightly sweet and velvety.

$5.69 (18 Bags) at Amazon
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Stash Premium Green Tea

stash green tea in mug next to a box
Photo: Emily Latimer, Eat This, Not That!

Stash is perhaps best known for helping to popularize chai tea in the U.S., but the company offers a wide lineup of over 150 different tea varieties. $4.97. A 20-count box of its premium green tea cost me $4.97 at my local grocer.

The look: Stash's green tea was a bright, vibrant light green. Definitely the brightest and lightest of the bunch.

The taste: Quite nice! When I first poured it, I was slightly nervous because of the bright green color. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the mild taste and smooth mouthfeel. Those who prefer a stronger green tea may call this weak, but for me, it was more like a clean taste. That was its shining quality. I liked that there was no astringent aftertaste; it was easy drinking through and through. I already like Stash for its Licorice Spice tea, and its Lemon and Ginger tea, so this is a nice addition to my collection.

$2.49 (20 Bags) at Amazon
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Uncle Lee's Legends of China Green Tea

a mug of uncle lee's green tea next to box
Photo: Emily Latimer, Eat This, Not That!

Uncle Lee's is a California company that imports teas from China, India, and North Africa. Green teas are its signature, though the brand offers many other varieties, too. I picked up a 100-count box of its Legends of China Green Tea for $5.84 from a local grocer.

The look: Uncle Lee's green tea had a rich, true amber color. A yellowy-orange shade.

The taste: Right away, this stood out due to its pleasant aroma. It was almost nutty. Completely devoid of any bite, Uncle Lee's was rich and smooth-drinking from start to finish. This tea is made from young green tea leaves from the Fujian province of China. Strong and crisp, this tea had the most flavor off the top, and the least offensive aftertaste. For those who like a stronger, silky green tea, this is the one. Also, it has a very reasonable price point and comes in a box of 100, similar to Lipton, but Uncle Lee's tastes way better.

$7.93 (100 Bags) at Amazon
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Triple Leaf Tea Green Tea

a mug of triple leaf green tea next to box
Photo: Emily Latimer, Eat This, Not That!

Triple Leaf is a family-owned Chinese-American brand, offering a range of wellness, diet, and herbal teas, as well as premium black, white, oolong, and green teas. I ordered a 20-count box of its classic green tea online for $5.11.

The look: A golden amber hue.

The taste: This tea was a wildcard pick. I hadn't heard of the brand before, but it ended up being my favorite. Triple Leaf's green tea was tasty, refreshing, and soothing. It was also more flavorful than some of the green teas at the bottom of the list. My favorite part was that there was no harshness whatsoever, it was a mellow yet robust green tea with subtly complex layers of flavor. It tasted more high quality than its competitors, with a natural sweetness to it. Triple Leaf's green tea was aromatic and slightly vegetal.

Now that I have so many boxes of green tea on hand, I plan on drinking up this one first! In fact, I'd be curious to try more teas from Triple Leaf.

$28.16 (Pack of 6 Boxes) at Amazon
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Emily Latimer
Emily Latimer is a freelance journalist with a passion for food and restaurants. Read more about Emily