Canstar Blue’s black tea review compares Nerada, Tetley, Lipton, Dilmah, Twinings, Bushells, and Coles on taste, variety, packaging design, value for money, and overall satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Is tea your guilt-tea pleasure? Whether you like it hot or iced, a nice cuppa is the ‘go-to’ refreshment in many households. So, it’s no wonder that 47% of Australians we surveyed buy tea during their regular grocery shop to keep the cupboard stocked up. The good news is that there are many different varieties of black tea commercially available. Think English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Lady Grey, Darjeeling, Ceylon, and the list goes on. This means that irrespective of the brands and price points, you’ll always have plen-tea of black tea blends to choose from.
To find out which brand is brewing up best for Aussie tastebuds, Canstar Blue asked more than 1,000 consumers to ‘spill the tea’ by rating the black tea(s) they purchased from a supermarket or grocer and enjoyed at home in the last three months. Respondents were asked to score brands on taste, range variety, packaging design, value for money, and overall satisfaction. Those that received the minimum sample size (30 responses) are rated and compared in our report. The idea is to give you an idea of which black teas are worth settling down with when you put your feet up for a quick cuppa!
Nerada steamed the competition for the third year running, rating best with five-star reviews across most research categories – including overall satisfaction!
Here are the best black tea brands in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s latest review:
Nerada topped our black tea ratings after achieving the only five-star review for taste, packaging design, value for money, and overall satisfaction. Twinings was the only other brand to grab full marks in any area, namely for range variety.
Black tea is perhaps the most popular of all tea varieties and is what classic favourites such as English Breakfast and Earl Grey fall under. Black tea is fully oxidised, and is most commonly produced in India. There are three types of black tea produced in India – Darjeeling, Assam and Nilgiri. Ceylon is another popular variety and comes from Sri Lanka. Even within this category, there are many sub-categories – ones even the biggest tea enthusiasts wouldn’t know about. For a classic cuppa out on the deck, you can’t go wrong with black tea.
Proudly grown in Far North Queensland, Nerada’s selection of black teas is described as ‘Australia’s freshest, finest and most sustainable’. The organic range includes loose-leaf and tea bag versions of Aussie favourites such as Earl Grey, Royal Devonshire, English Breakfast, and the brand’s plantation blend. A tea from the Nerada range can cost between $2.70 for the standard Nerada Tea Bags, which come in a 50-pack, and $5.60 for a 200-pack of Nerada Cup or Pot Tea Bags. Nerada also offers Nerada Rooibos Tea Cup or Pot Tea Bags for $8.50.
Tetley serves a variety of caffeinated and decaffeinated options for ‘thirst-tea’ Aussies, including several types of black tea. The brand also provides a wide selection of green tea, fruits and herbal tea, Chai latte and cold infusions. Prices for Tetley’s black tea can range from $3.30 for a 100-pack of pure black tea to as much as $7.50 for a 200-pack.
Lipton sells a range of hot teas and iced teas in a wide variety of flavours and tea types, including black, green, herbal, matcha, decaffeinated and diet. Its iced tea selection usually comes in 500ml or 1.5L bottles, while hot tea is available in 25, 50, or 100 tea bag packs. Its vanilla Chai latte line alternatively comes with eight or 16 sachets. Prices start from just under $4.40 for a 25-pack and reach up to $7.50 for a 200-pack. If you prefer loose-leaf tea, the Lipton Quality Tips Loose Leaf Tea is sold for less than $5 for a 250g box.
Dilmah has a few varieties of tasty teas, such as its Dilmah Gourmet Tea selections, Vivid Selection by Dilmah, Dilmah Ceylon Green tea, Dilmah Infusions, Dilmah Real Tea Cordial and Dilmah Exceptional Tea Selection. When it comes to black tea, the brand offers blends like Ceylon and Earl Grey. Prices start from $3.90 for 50 tea bags and can reach up to $14.50 for a pack of 200 tea bags.
Twinings offers a variety of tea and herbal blends, plus chilled alternatives found in the In’fuse range which lets you add cold water for a refreshing drink on the go. The brand also carries a line of Australian certified organic and Fairtrade teas in its Asha collection. When it comes to black tea, the blends available include English Breakfast (regular, extra strong, and decaf), Australian Afternoon, Ceylon, Chai, Darjeeling, Earl Grey, Irish Breakfast, Lady Grey, Morning Tea and Russian Caravan. The pack sizes vary between 10, 40, 50, 80 and 100 tea bags. Its prices range between $2.90 for a 10-pack and $11.20 for an 80 or 100-pack.
Serving a range ‘blended for Australian tastes’, Bushells creates a line of full-flavoured and rich cuppas which you can enjoy from dawn to dusk. Both the Bushells Australian Breakfast and Bushells Evening Decaffeinated blends come in packs of 100, while the Bushells Extra Strong tea is additionally sold in 250g loose-leaf tea packs. Otherwise, you can get the classics Bushells Blue Label in either 50 or 100 tea bag packs, or 250g loose-leaf tea packs. Prices for Bushells tea are on the more affordable side compared to some brands, with products costing between $2.70 and $5.90.
For a budget-friendly cuppa, the Coles supermarket brand is one way to go. Its blends include English Breakfast, Earl Grey and pure black tea. The products are sold in packs of either 50 or 100 tea bags, which generally cost around the $2 mark. There’s also the option of tagless tea bags.
The tea brands we mentioned above aren’t the only options worth sipping. Here are a few more ‘beau-teas’ you might want to bag on your next shop.
Madura, a word that translates to ‘paradise’ in Tamil, was established in 1978 when two third-generation tea planters created what is claimed to be Australia’s only tropical plantation. Since then, the brand developed a wide selection of black tea, green tea, Chai tea, organic tea and its own range of Herbal Infusions.
Madura’s black tea blends include English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Pure Assam and the brand’s premium blend. These are available in loose-leaf, silk infuser, or tea bag varieties. Prices start from $5 for a pack of 50 tea bags and can take you back $11 for a pack of 100 tea bags.
While ALDI may be well-known for its Special Buys, another popular range is its ALDI ‘Diplomat’ tea selection. Available in tea bag and tea round varieties, you can find classic favourites such as English Breakfast black tea. ALDI’s Diplomat range is claimed to be certified sustainable.
Nerada is clearly the hot pick among Aussies, having dominated our black tea ratings for the past three years. Twinings also seems to be another good option if you want to stock up on a variety of black teas.
While all teas come from the same plant (Camellia sinensis), taste will vary between blends. Black tea is bolder and more malty in flavour than white, green or yellow tea. Taste, aroma and colour will vary depending on the black tea variety, where and how the tea was cultivated and produced; as well as other factors like the year and season of harvest.
So, ultimately your choice will come down to personal preference. You may have to try different blends to find the one that best tickles your tastebuds. Here are some popular black tea varieties and some lesser-known ones you can try:
We wouldn’t normally encourage consumers to spend more than they have to, but when it comes to black tea, you’ll probably consider trying various brands and blends money well spent!
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
Picture credits: Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com, Nik Merkulov/Shutterstock.com.
Canstar Blue surveyed more than 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and drunk brewed tea at home (i.e. using a tea bag or loose-leaf tea purchased from a shop) in the last three months – in this case, 1,010 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
Here are the past winners of Canstar Blue’s black tea ratings:
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