Organic Tea Brands

There are literally hundreds of tea companies, ranging from mainstream brands that produce the tea bags available in most supermarkets, to small shops and mail-order companies specializing in loose-leaf tea. There are fewer companies, however, which specialize in organic tea. As the organic movement becomes more popular, more tea companies are beginning to increase their offerings of certified organic teas, while others remain resistant, claiming that organic teas are inferior in quality and higher in price.

Why buy organic tea?

The main two reasons that it is beneficial to buy organic tea are health and sustainability.

Health: Although most tea is safe for consumption, there have been a number of cases of pesticides and other harmful chemicals being present in tea. Tea is mostly produced in China, India, and other countries that have more lax standards about chemicals in food and agriculture than the U.S. and other western countries. Since organic agriculture minimizes the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, there is a public perception that food and drink produced through organic agriculture is safer to consume. One must exercise caution, however, with organic products: there have been cases of products being mislabelled as organic, sometimes intentionally. Buy from a reputable company with a strong record of quality control. There are many teas that are not labelled as organic that are produced without any synthetic chemicals: all truly traditionally-processed teas will be produced in this manner, because modern chemistry is a recent invention.

Sustainability: Many people who buy tea, or any product (such as food, clothing, etc.) are concerned not only with their own well-being, but with the prosperity and livelihood of the people and communities who produced the products. The production of tea in mass agriculture is not as pesticide-intensive as some crops, but in many areas, pesticides are still used, including ones whose use are banned in the United States. Another, possibly bigger problem with tea production is the use of synthetic fertilizers, which can cause soil acidification and can damage waterways downstream from where the tea is being grown, when the excess fertilizer runs off. Organic tea production minimizes these factors, reducing the impact on the environment and also on the people and communities that produce the tea.

Buy loose-leaf organic tea, not tea bags:

Supermarkets are beginning to stock a number of brands of tea that are certified organic. These appeal to many shoppers who want the convenience of buying in a local store, and also wish to make a choice beneficial to their own health and also to the environment. But by purchasing tea in tea bags, these people may not be making the most healthy or sustainable choice. When you buy tea in tea bags, you are paying primarily for a packaging process, not for the quality of the tea leaf itself. Loose leaf tea tends to be much higher in quality, and it also requires less energy and materials in its production: it is thus the healthier and more sustainable choice.

Which companies to buy from?

This question is a matter of personal taste, as different people prefer different things. My recommendation is to try ordering loose-leaf organic tea from a number of different tea companies, and find which ones best fit your own personal preferences. You may also benefit from reading blogs and review websites to see what others are saying about a tea company before you buy from it.

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