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 by showing how the colors come from fermentation instead of being different types of kratom trees. As for most strains, they’re 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 kratom strains will give different effects. 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.

Kratom Strains

Unfortunately, kratom strains do not tell you much about what to expect as for an effect. Generally speaking, the white veins are energizing. The green veins are balancing and chilling. And the red veins are the heaviest hitters for body 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, and the strains 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 names are applied arbitrarily by either the farmer or the distributor, that’s about as far as you can go with any degree of confidence. 

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. Even if you’ve been taking kratom from the same trees from the same plantation, something as simple as the time of the day that the leaves are harvested can make a difference in the effect you’ll get from them.

The only way to really have an educated guess at what effect a kratom strain will have on you is to look for a comprehensive alkaloid analysis of the product. Scientifically speaking, the difference in the affects from different types of kratom is the result of a variation in the kratom alkaloids.

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 is time to head to the gym, start your 20 minute steep in your thermos and get ready. By the time you arrive at the gym your 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 endless 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 is energizing. Yet the maeng da, to us, 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, put your boiling water and tea bags in your thermos overnight. 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

Our 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. When people look for kratom because they want the body-centered effects, we usually recommend the Red Bali kratom tea.

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. This batch has brought red bali kratom tea to the front 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, and serves as the driving force behind our Evening Blend. We love how it wisps away all our cares for the day and makes the bed sheets 10x 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 along with an evening blend tea bag to get the best effects. While red is for bed, at lower levels it can still be a little bit energizing. However, a couple tea bags 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” because 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 is like a yoga session in a cup.

We think green bali kratom tea is a great beginners cup for those who are not super 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, when we want a tiny pick-me-up to finish the day.

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 “regular” tea made with the leaves of Camellia sinensis, kratom leaves require a longer extraction. To accommodate this chemical fact of kratom alkaloids, we always recommend using a thermos to brew as well as a squeeze of lemon or another foodsafe acid.

To start, put the amount of tea bags you’d like for your cup into your thermos. We recommend starting with one to figure out how you react to the tea. At Top Tree, we usually use two or three bags per thermos. Squeeze half a 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 over your tea bags and juice mixture and cap your thermos. Let steep for 20 minutes to ensure that your tea will be strong.


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!

The reason you are able to steep the tea bags multiples times is the same reason you have to steep it 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 science that hasn’t been cracked yet. To get around the inconsistencies detailed above, we recommend you check the alkaloid content as well as reviews of people who have tried kratom from the same batch. 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.

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 in with an afternoon blend to balance out your energy. Want a strong body relaxation effect with energy to get some work done? A red bali with a morning 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.