Kratom Strains 101: Picking the Right Tea

So Many Choices

The most intimidating aspect of kratom when you are first getting into it is the wide variety of options. There are many kratom strains, and as you may suspect, they are all different. We’ve written in the past about the myth of the kratom strain as well as the science of kratom strains.

In those posts, we straightened out the difference in the vein types. This is mainly the way the leaves are picked and processed, not any difference in the trees that each strain comes from. Most strains are inconsistent over time, and are usually the result of kratom farmers and distributors mixing different veins

But we are still left with the fact that we get different effects from different kratom strains. So how do you decide which strains are right for you?  Read on in this post to understand what the strongest strains are, as well as how to understand the relationship between the kratom alkaloids and the effects. Remember, everyone is different. It’s not just the strain of kratom that impacts how you’ll feel after drinking your tea, it’s also the serving size and your own individual experience.

Kratom Strains

Though kratom strains – the subcategory beneath kratom veins – do not tell you too much about what to expect from your kratom. Vein color is a bit more informative. Generally speaking, the white veins are energizing, the green veins are balancing and chilling, and the red veins are the heaviest hitters for bodily effects and are great as a nighttime tea. This is where the generalities end, however.

Strains, like Borneo, Bali, Hulu, Maeng Da and the others are supposed to denote where the kratom was grown. However, as the industry has grown, these strain names have been applied very liberally. Today, a vast majority of kratom in the United States comes from one area in Indonesia. The strains created from this kratom are more or less arbitrarily decided.

In this context, the strain denotes that the kratom is different from kratom of a different strain name. Since the farmers or distributors apply the names arbitrarily, that’s about as far as you can go with any degree of confidence.

Different Effects from the Same Kratom Strain

A lot of people often ask why suddenly they get a different effect from kratom after using the same strain from the same vendor for a long time. This can happen even if you’ve been getting your kratom from the same trees in the same location. Something as simple as the time of the day the leaves are harvested can make a difference in their effects.

The only way to really have an educated guess at what effect a kratom strain will have? You’d want to look for a comprehensive alkaloid analysis of the product. Scientifically speaking, the difference in the effects from different types of kratom is the result of a variation in the kratom alkaloids. At the time of writing this, we are the only kratom company which has a comprehensive alkaloid panel for all of our kratom strains. We firmly believe that you need to know more than the mitragynine and 7-OH-mitragynine content to understand the feeling of a strain.

Top Tree’s Kratom Tea Strains

We’ll update you as frequently as possible with information and reviews for each new batch of tea we create. We really encourage you to try a few options and figure out what’s best for you, but we know you might want some more concrete recommendations.

This list isn’t exhaustive, but you can extrapolate by vein color to know more about the teas that didn’t make the list. Read on to hear a bit about what the Top Tree team uses each strain for, as well as quick brewing guides and tips!

White Borneo Kratom

White Borneo Kratom tea is a great tea for when you need a boost. Here at Top Tree, we regard our White Borneo tea bags as the best pre-workout strain. When it’s time to head to the gym, start your 20 minute steep in your thermos. By the time you arrive at the gym your kratom tea will be ready to drink! 

When you’re done stretching, the White Borneo kratom effects will have you feeling like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime. Watch out leg day!

We should note that it is wise to drink extra water when using kratom tea for exercise. Kratom is a diuretic like coffee, which means it makes you pee more. So when you work up a sweat and lose more water through urination, you’ll need to drink a little more to maintain your hydration.

It may strike some of you as odd to drink a tea before working out. We get it how it feels strange in an era of obnoxiously-named preworkouts in intimidating packaging. Yet, kratom has always been the traditional herb of hard, manual labor in Thailand. Farmers there have been using it for over 350 years to tolerate the heat and long days of backbreaking work.

In line with that tradition, white borneo kratom effects are a perfect fit as your new exercise pre-workout.

White Maeng Da Kratom

Our white maeng da kratom tea is our favorite coffee replacement. Like the white borneo, it can be energizing. However, to us, the maeng da is better for mental energy as opposed to the physical vigor of the white borneo.

These white maeng da kratom effects, of course, vary from batch to batch. We found that the white maeng da kratom has remained steadily the best bet for concentrating your mental energies. 

A pro tip for anyone who is replacing coffee with kratom tea: you can put your boiling water and tea bags in your thermos the night before you want to drink it. When you wake up, simply pour out your still hot tea and enjoy at your bedside! There’s nothing like greeting the day with a cup of tea.

Red Bali Kratom

Top Tree’s red bali kratom tea is for those who want the strongest tea available. With 60.139 mg of kratom alkaloids per tea bag, it is our strongest kratom strain. Compared to the rest of our strains, on average this has about 10 milligrams more alkaloids per tea bag.

As we were discussing at the beginning of this post, strains will vary in their potency for a variety of reasons. Because of the finicky and not-very-well-understood science of kratom alkaloid production, we can’t guarantee that our next batch of red bali kratom will be our strongest strain of kratom. 

We like to reach for our red bali kratom tea when we’re winding down for the day. It helps promote a state of relaxation and feels like coming out of a massage. When people look for kratom because they want the body-centered effects, we usually recommend red bali, as well as our other red vein strains. This batch has brought red bali kratom tea to the top of our list of favorite strains.

Red Maeng Da Kratom

When you talk to seasoned kratom advocates, they often repeat a favorite phrase: “red for bed.” Our red maeng da kratom strain falls into that generalization. It’s an integral component of our Bali Balance herbal blend along with turmeric and ginger. We love how it wisps away all our cares for the day and makes the bed sheets 10 times more comfortable.

To get the best bedtime experience with red maeng da kratom tea, we recommend you steep at least two of our raw leaf bags. You can also add in supporting herbs like chamomile, which is an ingredient in our Red Relaxation herbal blend. While red is for bed, at lower levels it can still be a little bit energizing. However, add a bit more kratom and the effects will shift towards a more appropriate energy level for the end of the day.

Green OG Bali Kratom

We call our green bali kratom strain our Goldilocks strain. It’s the perfect middle ground between the whites and the reds. It does not push you with energy, but promotes a state of mental clarity. It won’t knock you out but it can bring tranquility in a moment of turmoil. The effects of green bali kratom are like an hour of yoga practice in a mug.

We think green bali kratom tea is a great beginners cuppa for those who are not entirely sure which effects they want. It’s also great because you can have it at any time of the day. Our preferred time to have our green bali kratom tea is the afternoon. That’s when we want a tiny pick-me-up to finish the day. It’s also the time when a cup of coffee would keep us up too late.

Brewing Time

Now that we’ve run through all the differences in our kratom strain selection, it’s time to go over how to brew a cup of kratom tea. Brewing kratom tea is simple, but needs to be done correctly to be effective. Unlike typical teas made with the leaves of Camellia sinensis, kratom leaves require a longer extraction. To accommodate this chemical feature of kratom alkaloids, we highly recommend brewing your kratom tea in a vacuum-sealed thermos rather than a mug. You can also add a squeeze of lemon or another foodsafe acid to give your extraction a boost.

Quick how-to-brew guide: put the amount of tea bags you’d like into your thermos. We recommend starting with one to figure out how you respond to the tea. At Top Tree, we usually use two bags per thermos. Squeeze 1 tbsp lemon over your tea bags while they sit in the thermos, and make sure the juice saturates the tea bags. Let the tea bags rest in the lemon juice (or lime juice, apple cider vinegar, grapefruit juice, etc.) while your water is coming to a boil. Finally, once your water is boiling, pour it into the thermos and cap it. Let your tea steep for 20 minutes to ensure that it will be strong. You can add sweeteners and other flavors at the end of your brew as well.

Pro-Tip!

Did you know that you can steep your tea bags twice for two delicious and powerful kratom teas? When we use one or two tea bags we like steeping it twice. When we use three or more, we sometimes can steep it three times! The third steep isn’t as strong as the first two, but it still imparts enough flavor to justify doing that extra brew! Just make sure to store your teabags properly in between brews.

The reason you can steep the tea bags multiples times is the same reason you steep them for 20 minutes with an acid. The kratom alkaloids are not fond of water. It takes extra heat and help from an acid to coax them out of their plant-material host.

Time to Choose!

Kratom strains are a scientific code that hasn’t been fully cracked yet. There are a couple of ways to get around the inconsistencies we detailed above. We recommend you check the alkaloid content of your tea if it’s available. Alkaloid profiles are not (yet) done frequently in the kratom industry. If they are not available, you can look to reviews about a certain batch of kratom written by people who have tried it. Reviews can be helpful and informative, but take those anecdotal accounts with a grain of salt.

When choosing which kratom tea you’d like, remember you can always mix and match! Can’t decide between a white or a green? Throw a white maeng da bag in with a super green malay bag to balance out your energy. Want a strong bodily relaxation effect along with energy to get some work done? A bag of red maeng da mixed with a bag of our Thai Energy herbal blend is our go-to!

And remember, everyone responds to kratom tea differently. The only way to find out what strain is best for you in different situations is to experiment with different teas.

Cheers everyone!


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