Nice Cups Of Tea, Ranked

A definitive list.

Author by John Devore
Credit: iStock

There is nothing more relaxing than a nice cup of tea. Sometimes, after a long day, I like to curl up on my couch with a nice cup of tea that I hold with both hands. This is a part of my daily self-care routine which also includes contemplatively staring out windows.

I love the entire process of making a nice cup of tea, or “cuppa,” as the wizards on the magical island of England say. Tea making is a soothing activity and I highly recommend it. First, I like to say “I’m going to put the kettle on” out loud. I do this even though I live alone. Then, while I’m bringing the water to a rolling boil, I like to inhale the teabag I’m going to steep. Yes, you read that correctly: I like to bury my nose into the teabag. It’s like a simple form of aromatherapy. Whenever I tell friends about this step they always snicker, like barbarians. I do not find it funny. Tea is civilized.

Here are a few more important tips when brewing a nice cup of tea: put the teabag in the cup first, then pour the boiling water over it (this isn’t just my opinion—it’s also the opinion of the author of the brutal dystopian novel 1984). I suggest letting your tea steep for at least five minutes for maximum potency and flavor. Stir, don’t dunk. Feel free to put milk in your tea, but sugar is something I discourage. If you want a bit of sweetness with your tea, make a marmalade sandwich.

But what is the best tea for a nice cup? Well, I have ranked my favorites teas. This is, by no means, a definitive list. These are all nice teas. Some of them are very nice teas.

English Breakfast Tea: This is a nice tea, but with an attitude. One 8oz cup of English Breakfast Tea has about the same amount of caffeine as a half a cup of coffee. Fiesty! So I drink this tea when I need a little kick. I drink it in the morning while I stare out the window and contemplate the day ahead of me.

Oolong Tea: This is a very nice tea, indeed. There are a stunning variety of Chinese herbal teas with all kinds of medicinal properties but Oolong is my default favorite. It is a fragrant, and slightly fruity, tea that I find very relaxing. I drink this tea in the afternoon while I stare out the window at the busy street below and contemplate my place in nature’s impossibly beautiful clockwork.

Early  Grey: This tea is both nice and fancy. If a cup of tea could wear a monocle, Earl Grey would be that tea. This is, also, the favorite tea of Jean Luc-Picard, the noble and erudite captain of the starship Enterprise. Earl Grey is black tea with a hint of bergamot, which is a kind of orange popular in France and Italy. It’s pleasant. I drink this tea in the late afternoon while I stare out windows and consider the human condition.

Green Tea: An exceptionally nice tea that is full of antioxidants and nutrients that also originates in China. My doctor told me to drink green tea. I asked him if that was medical advice and he said it wasn’t. Green tea is just good for your mind, body, and spirit. I drink this tea after I meditate, and then I stare out the window.

Peppermint: Oh, my, this is one of my favorite nice teas. For one thing, peppermint tea is excellent for digestion. A nice cup of peppermint tea is a famous home remedy for upset stomachs! But the main reason I like peppermint tea is that I like the crisp, cool taste of mint. Did you know peppermint is a hybrid plant? A cross between watermint and spearmint? Isn’t that nice? I like to drink peppermint tea and smile at birds chirping outside the window.

Lemon Zinger: This is an extremely nice tea. Lemon Zinger is also my favorite of the fruity herbal teas. Lemon Zinger is like a wee cup of sunshine. I find it’s mellow tartness invigorating. I like to drink this tea while it rains. I stare out the window as water streaks down the glass.

Chamomile: The very nicest of teas. It is derived from the chamomile flower. I have never seen an actual chamomile flower, but I bet it’s really pretty. There is a popular brand of tea that features a narcoleptic bear on the box that is basically chamomile. I prefer the real thing, though. Chamomile tea is calming. It is my preferred “night tea.” I like to drink this tea before bed while I stare at the moon through my window.

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A curious exploration of comfort, wellness, and modern life — emotionally supported by Casper. It’s a beautiful magazine published by a mattress. Come on, you know it’s not the weirdest thing to happen this year. The first issue includes a love letter to comfort pants, a skeptic's guide to crystals, and an adulting coloring book.