What is Organic Tea?
We all want to do ‘our bit’ for the environment, but how can your morning cup of tea make a difference? If, like many, you are looking to live a more sustainable lifestyle, choosing Organic Tea could be your first small step to saving the planet!
But, what is the truth behind this natural brew and what can it do for you, and the regions in which it is grown? Organic Loose Tea is becoming increasingly more popular among retailers and consumers alike. While many Tea growing estates are making the momentous decision to switch to Organic Tea production, but can it honestly help in the fight against environmental destruction?
Is it really worth all this fuss? The answer is an unequivocal yes, but let’s explore the reasonings behind this change, and how it has the potential to breathe new life into the worldwide tea industry.
What is Organic Tea?
The Term ‘Organic’ refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed, without the use of pesticides or insecticides, bio-engineered genes and petroleum / sewage based fertilisers. Organic Tea is certified by the regulatory body within the producing country and checked and certified again as they enter the European Union.
The EU regulations on organic products are very robust and uniform across Europe. Each container of tea is checked and sampled, and if a Tea fails inspection the container is resealed and returned to country of origin. In recent years, certain countries have had serious issues with contamination, in particular China.
In fact, in a major 2012 study conducted by Greenpeace, it was discovered that the pesticide levels in a relatively substantial proportion of Chinese teas were not up to the strict standards required by EU law.This, however, has improved greatly in recent years after similar studies were published into the public domain.
Effects on the Environment?
Not using synthetic fertilisers can help protect the environmental state of the land surrounding the tea estates and promote biodiversity in and around the tea gardens. This includes helping to protect local wildlife, and allowing for a sustainable and progressive future of tea growing.
The current practices utilised in the mass-production of tea is, however, far from sustainable and progressive. The heavy use of pesticides and fertilisers is slowly, but surely, depleting land that should have been arable for a much longer period of time. Further to this, the traces of nitrogen contained in these man made products is often absorbed into the surrounding soil, and the plants themselves.
The remaining residue can run off into waterways, where it creates massive ‘algal blooms’. This overgrown, nitrate-fed alga has the ability to starve the bodies of water of vital oxygen, while also suffocating fish and other aquatic life. Unfortunately, these harmful effects are merely the beginning. The ‘unnatural’ mass-production adopted by many Tea Estates can have a far greater impact on the environment; destroying habitats, and contaminating soil to the point where it is no longer useable.
Meanwhile, over 98% of sprayed insecticides reach a destination other than their target, predominantly caused by wind and heavy rain. This means that the radius of damage is not limited to the immediate area of production.
Efforts Made by Tea Estates?
Change is happening, many conventional Tea Estates are now converting to Organic Tea production after seeing the harmful effects of chemical pesticides and fertilisers on not just the environment, but also their staff who pick the leaves and reside on the Estates.
Switching to Organic Loose Tea is almost guaranteed to improve the quality of life among these Tea Workers, whose health will often suffer when exposed to pesticides or insecticides. Taking these elements away ensures that the hundreds of tea pickers used on Organic Tea Estates are working in an environment that cares for them, as much as the other way around.
Organic Tea fields may have natural grasses and weeds as ground cover, or they may even utilise permaculture; allowing nature to balance itself out. This does not come without hard work and determination, as the process of changing a non-organic tea estate to an Organic Tea estate can often take many years.
Meanwhile, there are many difficulties in making a complete change. Many estates have, instead, opted for ‘Organic zones’ within the estate, as opposed to having an entire switchover. For this to succeed, careful management systems are required to ensure no cross contamination takes place.
Health Benefits of Drinking Organic Tea
Understanding the tremendously positive impacts that Organic Tea production can have on the environment, and its workers, is not all. In fact, these relatively new practices have already been well-established in the mass-production of fruits and vegetables; resulting in the general health of consumers improving at a rapid rate – so, why shouldn’t the same apply to your tea?
By including Organic Tea in your diet, you are not only contributing to the long-term health of our planet but also your own body! What more could you possibly want?
Organic foods are found to have more nutrients, such as antioxidants, than conventionally grown items. It is also believed that between 19% - 69% of people with allergies often find that their symptoms lessen when they go Organic. Tea can likewise offer these same benefits when you make the switch, and although all types of tea contain these beneficial properties, Organic Leaf Tea contains far higher concentrations.
In terms of nutrients, many Organic Tea Leaves will likely be rich in vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as containing potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Subsequent studies have also established Organic Tea’s incredible ability to combat a number of common ailments, including the reduced risks of developing arthritis, and even warding off heart disease!
In addition to this, many avid consumers believe Organic Tea to be superior in taste, compared with tea leaves obtained from estates using harmful pesticides or insecticides. Teas that are not certified ‘organic’ are often air dried without rinsing. This means that synthetic chemicals are absorbed into the leaves, and will likely end up in your cup.
Ultimately, this can affect the quality of the tea, while also potentially posing health risks if consumed on a frequent basis. Some experts have even claimed – although there are not yet studies to prove this theory – that some of the side effects, such as jitteriness and sleeplessness, are not a direct result of the caffeine in tea, but of the unnatural chemicals used in conventional tea production.
Buy Organic Tea Online
Going ‘organic’ with all your food and beverage products, including tea is, without a doubt, a fantastic lifestyle choice. Whether you make this decision for you, or for the world around you, there is no denying the fact that Organic Tea production holds the key to a more sustainable future within the industry. Here at the Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, we have a wide range of Organic Teas available Online, including Organic Black Tea, Organic Green Teas and Organic White Tea. We also stock Rooibos Organic Tea and our Organic Herbal Tea. From the famous Darjeeling Tea growing district in the foothills of the Himalayas, we are currently stocking five Organic Black Teas, including some of the very finest Darjeeling First Flush tea of the season.