I've tried many alternatives -- Rooibos and Honeybush is a favorite. But it always felt like there was something missing. And finally I discovered what it probably was: tannins. That is a key ingredient that makes black tea taste like tea!
There are herbal ingredients that have that needed quality I so desire. Blackberry Leaf is my favorite and it is a favorite ingredient in commercial herbal tea blends as well. Red Raspberry Leaf is also a nice choice. Both can be used on their own as a gentle black tea substitute.
Some people, however, like to avoid tannins. They can interfere with the absorption of some prescription drugs and vitamins. And Blackberry and Red Raspberry Leaf still miss another element I associate with black tea that I'd call .... um .... a low tone. A deep note? Earthiness, perhaps? It's hard to describe but you miss it when it's gone!
Not Joe Mama (coffee alternative)
Carob Mocha Mint
It adds just the right amount of earthiness with a touch of welcome sweetness as well.
It's fun to make herb tea blends! I love doing it. If you make your herb tea tasty you might not miss black tea at all.