Is Tea Vegetarian? What You Should Know

Is Tea Vegetarian?

Nowadays, it can be hard to tell what is vegan and what is not. With so many products out there, it might be hard for a vegan to find what is right and consumable for them.

As a new/intending vegan, getting to know all the food and drinks that you can consume is a very important part of the process, as earlier said it might not be easy but it is possible, you just need to pay more attention and take note.

Tea is a common drink for all, however, a common question most new vegans ask is, is tea vegan? Can you consume tea if you are a vegetarian?

Yes, tea is vegan and can be consumed if you are a vegetarian. This is because tea is made from plant and that qualifies it as being vegan. Most teas are made from the leaves of the camellia Sinensis plant. 

Vegetarianism is a diet choice that a lot of people embrace, whether temporarily or throughout their lifetime. Being a vegetarian simply means that there is a certain food product that is excluded from your diet.

A vegetarian is someone who doesn’t consume meat, seafood, or any poultry product; this includes milk, eggs, and cheese. Tea is traditionally made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, which means that they are not in any way associated with or made from poultry products or meant.

All types of tea are plant-based and vegan friendly as long as they are prepared the traditional way, which involves steeping just tea leaves in hot water.

However, in recent times, it has been discovered that some teas contain more than just plants (leaves) and water. Some contain flavors to help improve the taste of the tea, honey, milk, etc and all of these are not vegan friendly since they are gotten from animals.

This helps us to know that although the traditional tea is vegan, some types of tea are not and you be required to identify them and steer clear.

List of Vegan Suitable Teas

Knowing which type of tea is suitable for you as a vegetarian will save you a lot of trouble. We decided to do some homework for you; the following are all the teas that are right for you as a vegan.

1. Black Tea

Black tea is one of the most famous teas there are in the world. Like some other teas, it is made from the Camilla Sinensis, although the leaves are oxidized, then fried and dried to create the black tea. The process of oxidation turns the leaves black, giving them their rich tannin flavor.

woman pouring black tea
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on

The entire process of making the black tea is vegan friendly; hence you can consume the black tea the traditional way. Although it is common for most people to consume black tea with sugar and milk, both of which are not vegan. However, there are substitutes for each of them, which are vegetarian.

2. White Tea

Like black tea, white is also produced from the Camilla Sinensis plant; however, this type of tea is made from the buds and new leaves. The white tea goes through a process of light oxidization and then it is fixed and dried.

White tea is identified by its lighter and more fragrant flavor. You can trust that the white tea is completely vegan-friendly.

3. Green Tea

Green tea is top on the list of vegan-friendly teas. Green tea is also made from the leaves of the Camilla Sinensis plant, the process involves drying the leaves using heat, this will prevent them from oxidizing, after this process, the leaves can then be brewed to be drunk.

Typically, the green tea does not go with milk, hence it is vegan through and through. Like other types of tea, green leaves are full of benefits for the body, such as antioxidants that help treat some diseases and keep the body fit.

Chinese green tea
Chinese green tea

4. Pu-Erh Tea

Pu-erh tea is one that a lot of people are not familiar with. This tea is a type of fermented that is traditionally made in china, it is also produced from the leaves of the Camilla Sinensis, however in an entirely different way.

The process of making the Pu-erh tea involves the tea leaves going through microbial fermentation, after which it is oxidized, dried, and rolled for consumption. It is known as the most oxidized tea and can be very expensive.

The good thing about the Pu-erh tea? It can be consumed by vegans as the process of producing it is completely rid of any animal product.

5. Most Herbal Teas

Most herbal tea is vegan and can be consumed by vegetarians. However, you might need to pay attention to the brand of herbal tea you are purchasing; this is because some brands do add honey, flavors, and colorings that are not suitable for vegans.

Ensure the ingredients contained in the herbal tea you are purchasing are good for you. Ingredients such as chamomile and peppermints are vegan.  

Non-Vegan Teas Explained

It’s simple to spot a non-vegan tea; simply look for animal products in the ingredients list and you’ll know the tea isn’t vegan.

Teas such as milk tea, creamy bubble tea, and chai latte are not suited for vegans. Ingredients like crystallized honey, dried milk powder, and natural flavorings should be avoided because, while they may appear to be vegan-friendly, they are not.

Coloring, thickeners, sweeteners, and flavoring are not suitable for vegans, and it is recommended that you avoid teas containing these substances.

Making espresso tea
Photo by Chevanon Photography on

You should also consider how you approach organic issues. This is because the term “organic” encompasses products generated from both plants and animals. If your tea is labeled “organic,” you should pay more attention to it.

If it says “certified organic,” however, you can be sure the tea was cultivated and manufactured using only organic methods.

Vegan Tea Substitutes

Most teas, especially black tea contain dairy milk and sugar to help improve the taste and make them enjoyable.

However, this makes them unsuitable for vegans to drink. The best way to consume your tea as a vegan is to drink them black or add a vegan-friendly substitute to dairy milk and tea. The following are substitutes that can be added to your tea.

Milk Substitutes

Here’s a list of three vegan-friendly alternatives to regular milk for a complete vegan tea.

1. Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is one of the best substitutes for dairy milk in your tea. Coconut milk is creamy and naturally sweet and is great for strong teas. Although adding coconut milk to your tea gives your tea the coconut taste, however, we promise you, it’s not so bad.

Oat milk
Photo by Toa Heftiba Şinca on

2. Oat Milk

Oat milk is another great substitute for dairy milk in your tea that you are going to love! It comes with a subtle oatmeal-like flavor and a creamy texture. Oat milk like other types of plant-based milk is full of nutrients and has a wide range of health benefits.

3. Soy Milk

Soymilk is one of our favorite milk for tea; it comes in a light flavor and texture and is often sold pre-sweetened. Hence when purchasing your soymilk, look out for sugar-free soy milk. Like oat milk, soybeans are full of nutrients that provide many health benefits for you.

Honey/Sugar Substitutes

Although sugar is often seen as suitable for vegans, this is not completely true. This is because some types of sugar are made from parts of animals. Hence you should seek other alternatives.

The common alternatives for sugar/honey are agave syrup, rice malt syrup, maple syrup, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Lipton Vegan Friendly?

Yes, Lipton is animal-free; hence it is vegan friendly and can be consumed by vegetarians.

Can I Drink Coffee As A Vegan?

Yes, coffee is totally fine for vegetarians. This is because the process of producing coffee is plant-based and no form of animal product is used. It is advised that you use vegan-friendly milk and honey alternative.

Are Fruit Teas Vegan?

Yes, fruit teas are vegan as they are plant-based and no animal products are included in their production. Fruit versions of bubble tea are more suitable for vegetarians than milk-based versions.

Final Thoughts

The process of making producing tea is plant-based and is consumable for vegetarians. However, depending on the type of tea you want to consume it is recommended that you pay attention to the ingredients stated on the label.

This is because some type of tea includes animal products such as honey, coloring, etc. There is also a vegan substitute of dairy milk and sugar which you can use.

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