Coffee may well be the most popular drink around the world, but in the UK, good old tea still reigns supreme. More than a million cups are drunk daily, but tea is no longer just builder-style.
If you’re a true tea lover, a subscription is a must. It can open your mind up to a whole new world of tea drinking – delivered straight to your door.
From traditional black and herbal teas to fruit teas and kombucha, some brands offer various types so you can try a new blend every month. Most also favour loose tea leaves, which not only allows the leaves to move around more, giving a fuller and fresher flavour, but makes everything a bit more eco-friendly, too.
Not sure where to start? Before signing up to a subscription, you’ll usually be asked to answer a few questions so brands can get to know your preferred tastes, brewing method, and how much you drink before matching you up to the ideal plan.
When it comes to frequency, some brands allow you to order a one-off box. It’s often possible to save money by taking out a long-term plan, or you can leave it as a rolling subscription in case you change your mind. Tea subscription boxes can also make great gifts if you’re trying to find the perfect birthday or pick-me-up present, as we all need some of that.
To decide our final list, we didn’t just taste every tea on offer but we also looked at the brands’ eco credentials, how easy it is to be in control of the subscription, and how impressive the packaging is.
It isn’t an exhaustive list of all the brands out there, but there’s such variation that you’re bound to find one you love. All you need to do is put the kettle on.
We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism acrossThe Independent.
Bruu tea subscription
Pick the tea you like to drink by excluding the blends and ingredients that you don’t like, and Bruu’s clever tea engine will churn out some ideas of loose-leaf blends which will go down a storm with you. The letterbox-friendly package will be delivered on the first of each month, with three gourmet selections which should give you around 30 cups of tea. You get a bonus “discover” tea from its featured region too – ours was Lapland, which gave us a festive cinnamon and cocoa flavour. Turkish Apple was the standout, however, with a powerful creamy fruit flavour and no mistaking the ingredients.
There is a handy guide with information on how to brew, where each tea is from, and some facts about the region, as well as where you’ll be “visiting” next month. If you can’t stop thinking about the thousands of teas from around the world which you’re yet to try, this is the box for you (but the impressive attention-to-detail packaging makes a wonderful gift, too). The separate cards for every blend, secured with a tiny peg and wrapped up within the box, give a very special, valued feel which matches the high quality of the leaves perfectly. Pause or cancel at any time, but the wide variety of tea certainly means you won’t get bored.
Teapro tea subscription
Think you only like a builder's brew? You’ll certainly change your mind after trying Teapro’s monthly delivery. Every subscriber gets a free infuser glass (worth £12) with their first box, meaning you can really make the most of how beautiful the brewing experience can actually look. It’s strictly loose-leaf only here, and the brand is striving to be an all-organic, plastic-free company.
Each month it take its “teapros” on a tea discovery journey too, finding out about different types of teas, their origins, processing, history and culture, so you’ll learn a lot as a bonus. The Flowering tea, which gave a green, sweet flavour that would go down a treat with anyone who loves green teas and floral notes, was particularly eye-catching and packed with flavour. This is a subscription box for tea lovers who love themes and feeling special. The Blue Butterfly Pea tea was also a standout, again giving floral notes, but add a dash of lemon and the blue turns to purple. The quality of the tea is outstanding, and you get the rarest premium teas from around the world, so it is worth it if you have a bit more to spend on your subscription.
Bird & Blend subscription
With this subscription, you can look forward to three brand new blends through the door every month, which tie in with seasonal themes to suit the time of year. Ours included Blueberry Pancake and Strawberry and Nutella, the first of which was packed with natural fruit and tasted just like the real thing, and the second with just the right amount of subtlety from both flavours, yet there was no mistaking the ingredients.
They’re all unique so you wouldn’t be able to find any of the like in supermarkets, and you can even see a sneak peek of what the next month has to offer. The quality is amazing, with visible pieces of dried fruit in the tea leaves to give the best possible flavour, and they smell amazing too, with every profile being detectable, which demonstrates the freshness. There is an option before you check out to add a comment in case you’re buying as a gift, and you can choose from the “tea club” (80+ blends), “vegan and vegetarian”, “caffeine-free” (the largest decaf collection in the UK) or “I have an allergy” variations, the last of which caters to the main 14 allergens in the UK. Letterbox-sized parcels mean no waiting for the delivery person, and you get membership to the private VIP Facebook group and secret website so you can really be part of a tea-loving community.
True Tea Company speciality tea subscription
A package of black, herbal, oolong and rooibos tea, which all come in a letterbox-friendly box straight from the True Tea Company. Each has a note about what to expect in terms of taste and how to brew, and they’re all loose-leaf for tip-top freshness and eco-friendly brewing. The brand believes that tea should always be “fresh, delicious and flavourful” and the teas hit the nail on the head. Cinnamon and Vanilla was our favourite, thanks to its natural sweetness and a perfect balance of both flavours, but the Kenya GFOP Kaproret was a standout in terms of black teas thanks to its strength combined with underlying floral notes. The leaves also move slowly in the water, which shows it is a premium product.
You’ll get four new teas every month, and there is a range of 130 so you’ll never have the same one twice. Each bag contains 20g which is enough for 60 cups, making it fabulous value. Pause and cancel at any time, and your subscription begins when you place the order, so you don’t have to wait or risk missing the last posting date.
Blue Tea Box subscription
With this Blue Tea Box, every month you get three bags of rare and single-origin loose-leaf teas from across the world, selected based on whether you want black, green, rooibos, herbal or fruit blends. Why not choose to keep it as a surprise, or get one of each? We tried one from each category, with the Genmaicha green tea from Japan having a perfect “green” freshness and a hint of nuttiness from the toasted rice, and the Malibu Dream fruit tea featuring standout summer notes from the pineapple and coconut. A little information card comes with each bag saying how to drink it, where it is from, and describing the flavour notes, and you get free monthly or bi-monthly delivery which is always a bonus. They can also deliver worldwide if you’re buying as a gift.
Brew Tea Company subscription
There is a reason why this is one of the most popular tea subscriptions in the UK. Whether you prefer pure black, with-a-splash-of-milk, or fruity, Darjeeling or Earl Grey, Brew Tea has a blend for you. Pick from loose-leaf or tea bags (don’t worry – the bags are made from corn starch and can be disposed of in your food waste bin) and a range of 11 blends, to be delivered every one, two or three months.
In fact, the brand’s eco credentials don’t stop there, as everything is sent in boxes with a recyclable card outer to protect the leaves, and an inner bag that looks like plastic but is actually Natureflex. These can also be fully composted and mean that everything is plastic-free. English Breakfast is by far the best seller (and we can vouch for it being worthy of that title). The tea is strong so you can have it black or add milk, without it losing its flavour like a lot of the big brands sold in supermarkets. Because they use the newer leaves from the top of the plant, the tea is notably a lot smoother and naturally sweeter compared to other brands, too. This subscription also has plenty of extras available such as Brew Teapots, and you can pause or skip at any time. It is a bit at the pricier end, but the leaves are first-rate in taste, feel and smell, and you’re left with no waste.
Teaspoon Tea subscription tea box
An independent family business, Teaspoon Tea’s collection is all loose tea leaves. You can choose a rolling subscription or buy three or six months in advance, and each month the team will choose a perfect selection which you can enjoy until your next delivery. In every letterbox-friendly box are two 50g packets of loose-leaf tea and one sample packet of loose-leaf tea, as well as tasting notes, background information and tips on how best to drink it.
The Rose Congou is a black tea with rose petals which was perfect for a floral twist, akin to Turkish delight. Grantham Tea is the brand’s signature, however, again using strong black tea as a base but the gingerbread and sweet apricot make for something which surprisingly works perfectly and can be enjoyed without milk. A big bonus that we love is that postage and packaging is included in the monthly cost, and if there is something you really love and would like to drink regularly, all selections are available on their website in different sizes.
The Tea Journey monthly subscription gives you a trio of teas which are sure to satisfy your wanderlust. But the journey doesn’t just stop at what you put in your cup – you will also receive downloadable recipes, brew guides, detailed tea info and more through your online dashboard, which gives a real “member of something” feel. There is also a monthly “teany habit” to practice from its “tea in mind concept” – empowering you to pause, rebalance, and create a calming space for your mind, which we all need right now. Its Positivitea blend is a brilliant balance of green tea with hints of pink peppercorn, white tea and berries, which means some often bittersweet and vegetal tones of green tea are more subtle, but the white peach was our standout, packed with a naturally sweet, fruity flavour and perfect for any time of day.
Eteaket is proud of its plastic-free packaging, with both the loose-leaf tea and teabags. The bags use Natureflex, which is biodegradable and heat-sealed so the tea leaves are secured inside. If you want to travel the world from your couch at the moment, it is the ideal way (and the handy letterbox-friendly envelope means you don’t even have to leave your couch when the delivery man drops it off). You get free UK delivery, and can also send it anywhere in the world. Lastly, if you buy it as a gift, there are even instructions on how to ensure your recipient doesn’t find out until it arrives at their door.
Penningtons Tea & Coffee tea subscription
A multi-award-winning family business that sources teas from around the world, Penningtons delivers tea right to your door when you need it. The 125g bag is a letterbox-friendly design, which is always a winner, and you can adjust, pause or cancel whenever. Choose from traditional teas (which was our pick) or fruit and herbal tisanes, and either a fortnightly or monthly delivery. Its own fine Lakeland blend perfectly merges the finest teas the company offers, giving something strong yet refreshing which isn’t drowned out if you like to add milk and a bit of sugar for a traditional cuppa, but we also enjoyed it black thanks to the deep flavour. As you’d expect from a company that has years of experience in the tea and coffee industry, the quality of the leaves is visibly high, which shines through in the cup too.
You’ll try a new blend every month, and can PAYG or take out a three-month subscription. There’s also a handy comments box so you can let them know if you have any special requirements, or would like to simply stick to the same loose-leaf tea every time.
The Teapigs range of teas is pretty unbeatable, with blends to help you sleep and keep you energised among the highlights. But its “subscribe and save” plan means you can order them for delivery every one, two, three or four months without even having to think about it, and you save 10 per cent each time. It isn’t strictly uniform, so you can subscribe to just the teas you like or switch it up for a month, which will avoid anything you know you aren’t fond of. All its blends are available, from popular Darjeeling and Chai options to its Snooze blend with lavender, Cleanse with coconut, and Up Beet with hibiscus picks, if you want a tea that doesn’t just taste great but has health benefits too.
All of them still allow the main tea flavour to shine through, but the hints of other flavours make a perfect combination. The quality of the leaves is also high as demonstrated by their slow unfurling when in water, and the packaging keeps them safe. The subscription even has cold-brew picks (the cucumber and apple is flavourful and refreshing). All there is left to do is choose how much you get and how often, and you can be sure to never run out.
Remedy kombucha subscription
Think tea can only be drunk hot, out of a cup, with a splash of milk and a chocolate Hobnob? Remedy is ready to give you something different. Kombucha is a fermented tea, so while it may not be a traditional pick which requires brewing leaves, it is the perfect introduction to “good bacteria”. We tried the mixed case of cans, which you can buy as a one-off or a monthly/weekly/fortnightly subscription (this saves 10 per cent on the cost, with free delivery).
Ginger Lemon, Cherry Plum, Raspberry Lemonade, and Apple Crisp all feature a slight hint of a black-tea taste (and the slight bitterness of the fermentation), but the fruity flavours are the main feature, yet are also nice and subtle so they can act as a refreshing, sparkling cool drink. It is vegan, gluten-free, fructose-free, keto- and paleo-friendly and halal certified. The brand also offers kefir and switchel if you want to explore the world of fermentation (and your gut will likely thank you).
The verdict: Tea subscription boxes
Whether you’re wanting to explore the world of tea or stick to the originals, there’s a box for you. Teapro is our pick if you have a bit more cash to spend as a real tea lover who thinks there is more to the leaves than the end taste. The best budget-friendly pick is Penningtons, which is also the best if you love standard black teas, but if you want to spend a few pounds more in order to get out of your comfort zone a bit, Bruu ensures you’ll be able to try the widest range every month.
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