Is Tea Gluten-Free?

Black, green, and white tea is gluten-free, but not all herbal teas are safe

Tea

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

If you're on a gluten-free diet, you may wonder if tea is gluten-free. Traditional plain tea—black, green, or white—is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is not related to the gluten grains wheat, barley, and rye. Therefore, plain hot or cold tea made from tea bags or loose tea should be gluten-free, assuming it hasn't been subjected to gluten cross-contamination in processing.

But that's not the end of the story with tea. Not all teas are made from Camellia sinensis, and even some made from real tea leaves can contain added gluten ingredients.

For example, some herbal teas contain barley malt as a sweetener, and some teas have gluten-grain-based flavors (most frequently barley). That makes it essential to check the ingredients before you take a sip.

In addition, a form of tea made from roasted barley is popular in some Asian countries, including Japan, Korea, and China. Therefore, you'll need to determine exactly what you're getting when ordering tea in a restaurant featuring Asian cuisine.

However, most major tea companies keep gluten-free lists (and some are even certified gluten-free), so it's entirely possible to find a type of tea you enjoy that's also gluten-free. The following list applies only to tea bags and loose tea used to make hot and iced tea, not to bottled teas.

Gluten-Free Hot Tea Options

Here's the list of hot tea manufacturers, along with their gluten policies and gluten-free lists, where available.

Bigelow Teas

All of Bigelow's extensive selection of teas are considered gluten-free, according to the company, including popular flavors such as English Breakfast, Constant Comment, and Sweet Dreams herbal tea. 

Celestial Seasonings

Most of Celestial Seasonings' teas are considered gluten-free to at least 20 parts per million, but two contain roasted barley: Roastorama and Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride.

The company says in its gluten statement that it will call out gluten-containing ingredients on its labels (Roastorama and Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride are marked "Contains gluten") and that it will label safe teas "gluten-free."

Lipton Tea

Lipton, which is made by Unilever, does not publish a list of gluten-free tea varieties. However, the company states that it will disclose any gluten ingredients on the label: "We recommend that you read the label each time before buying our product." If gluten is present, it is clearly listed in plain language on the ingredient label (i.e., wheat flour, rye, barley, oats, and malt).

There's also no gluten-containing glue in Lipton tea bags: "We do not use any glue in the assembly of our tea bags or tags. Where a staple is not used, we use pressure and heat to adhere the string to the tag and the bag."

Mighty Leaf Teas

Mighty Leaf teas are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), which has standards that are stricter than the current U.S. legal standard for gluten-free products. Look for "GF" in a circle on the package.

Those sensitive to corn should be aware that Mighty Leaf uses tea pouches made from cornstarch, and those sensitive to dairy should note that the company's Truffle Teas may contain dairy.

Numi Organic Tea 

Numi offers fair trade, 100% organic, non-GMO tea varieties. According to the company: "All Numi Teas are gluten-free. Our teas are packaged in facilities and on machines that do not process or work with gluten." Numi tea bags are made from manila hemp cellulose plant fiber.

Red Rose Tea

According to the company, red Rose black tea, English Breakfast tea, decaffeinated black tea, English Breakfast Tea, and Earl Grey tea are all gluten-free.

Republic of Tea

The Republic of Tea holds gluten-free certification from GFCO, which means its gluten-free-labeled teas contain less than 10 parts per million of gluten.

However, make sure the package you purchase is marked with that "GF" circle logo, since the company doesn't guarantee all its flavors are safe. One tea flavor—Coconut Cocoa Cuppa Chocolate—contains barley, which is a gluten grain.

Stash Teas

According to a statement from Stash: "We actively maintain signed statements from our ingredient suppliers stating that all ingredients purchased by Stash Tea Company are gluten-free. We do not use barley malt in any of our blends."

The maltodextrin in Stash iced green tea powder is from corn, and the company's tea bags are made from wood cellulose.

Tazo Teas

Tazo, owned by Starbucks, does not disclose which flavors contain gluten. It formerly had said that Green Ginger, Tazo Honeybush, Lemon Ginger, and Tea Lemonade contained gluten in the form of barley malt—these currently list "natural flavors" on their ingredients lists.

Beware of ordering Tazo tea in a Starbucks shop since the baristas use the same tongs to pull out each tea bag, so cross-contamination is possible. 

Chai tea bags, such as those sold by Stash, Tazo, and others, typically do not contain any gluten ingredients (just black tea and spices). Lattes (at Starbucks and elsewhere) may also be gluten-free, but it's important to ask about ingredients in the sweetened concentrate a coffee shop uses to make lattes.

Teavana Teas

Teavana also is owned by Starbucks. Previously, all Teavana teas were considered gluten-free, but the company now is including the statement "May contain gluten" on certain flavors.

Make sure to read the ingredients label carefully, and avoid products with this statement. You also should assume that all flavors could be subject to gluten cross-contamination.

Tetley Teas

The company states that: "All of the tea bags packaged for Tetley USA Inc. for retail sale, including our decaffeinated, flavored, and green blend tea bag products are gluten-free."

Twinings Teas

Twinings states that "All Twinings teas, herbal infusions, and flavored fruit infusions do not include gluten ingredients." According to the company, the products are also free of genetically modified ingredients.

Yogi Tea

All teas currently made by Yogi Tea are considered gluten-free. However, four teas—Stomach Ease, Healthy Fasting, Calming, and Kava Stress Relief—used to contain gluten. The company warns consumers to check the packages of those teas to make sure they're purchasing the latest, non-gluten-containing version.

A Word From Verywell

When you're buying tea bags or loose tea, you have many options. It's fortunately pretty easy to wind up with a gluten-free tea, but you can't let your guard down—some teas do contain gluten ingredients, most often in the form of barley and barley malt.

If you're particularly sensitive to trace gluten, stick with a certified gluten-free brand, such as Mighty Leaf or the Republic of Tea. You also can consider purchasing a brand such as Numi or Stash that doesn't make anything with gluten ingredients.

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2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Lee HJ, Anderson Z, Ryu D. Gluten contamination in foods labeled as "gluten free" in the United StatesJ Food Prot. 2014;77(10):1830-1833. doi:10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-14-149

  2. Garber EA, Panda R, Shireen KF. Survey of tea for the presence of glutenJ Food Prot. 2015;78(6):1237-1243. doi:10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-14-575

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