Organic Vs Non- Organic tea
when there’s an organic label on the box, there’s a minimum amount of pesticides that could be used to label the product as organic. if the product exceeds that threshold, it’s not considered organic. the us, uk, and other countries have their thresholds on what classifies a product as organic.
certified organic just means that it has met the organic guidelines for that country. just because it met the guidelines, doesn’t mean it’s pesticide free.
always be skeptical, because companies will always tell half truths, never the whole truth.
Pesticides to some degree are necessary.
For my own personal tea plants I have tried to use natural pesticides, BT, Pyrethrine, etc.
But recently had added some pesticide fire ant killer. They tried to invade my plants and would bite me and put scale bugs on my plants. I put up with it for a while for the sake of “organic” and then one afternoon said screw it. I’m tired of getting hurt and picking crap off my plants… time for pesticides!
It’s everyone’s personal choice. I prefer organic foods when i can find them. I wont however grow organic food. Too much drama and too much mess. I live in a tropical area so we have year round plant munching bugs.
Fire ants sound terrible. Where I live it is relatively easily to grow produce without pesticides (for personal consumption). You do have to be vigilant against pests but my grandfather only ever used sudsy water in his garden and he was a farmer for decades.
Fire ants would make me run screaming! :)
Yes! The first time I had one crawl up my arm as i wan tending my plant I freaked out. Where there is one there are more! I could write a whole rant about fireants and their satanic ways (I caught two queens back in may(?) and put them in a jar… They are sadly still alive. I haven’t fed them either.) we have too many bugs and because it never really freezes they are active all year round. No amount of soapy water is helpful. :( So i now understand why farmers use pesticides. I just don’t agree with excess pesticide usage.
Man, thank you for your reply and an insight of what organic growers have to deal with.
We believe in organic tea so much that we built a business from it. We started at a time when it was hard to find certified organic tea and it wasn’t necessarily a popular marketing fad. When you start a business, you really have to have a passion for the product.
Tea is particularly susceptible to the ill effects of synthetic pesticide and fertilizer use. Tea leaves can’t really be cleaned properly when they are used. Plus, synthetic fertilizer use has a definite impact on flavor.
It’s not easy being certified organic for the tea estates or the blender. Our facility is inspected routinely by two agencies. We have to keep a detailed log of everything. It would be easier to just say our teas are really great and probably don’t have synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, but the problem is you just don’t know when it’s not certified.
We feel it’s not worth the long term health risks going with anything other than certified organic. We also feel it’s a long term good thing for tea farmers and the ecosystem. Especially because you really have to take care of a good growing region, because you can’t just move somewhere else. To elaborate more, we wrote this article on the topic: http://www.divinitea.com/why-organic-tea
The following threads may be of interest:
A quick reiteration of what has been said before, my understanding of the importance of growing organic tea is that given how the tea market works, it’s really in the interest of each farmer to produce the best tasting tea that they can, more so than producing the highest quantity. I don’t know anything about pesticides, but I have read a bit about how tea farmers feel about using fertilizers that artificially expedite the growth of the tea plants. The general consensus seems to be that letting the plants grow naturally, slowly, they way nature intended, creates a much more flavorful tea that absorbs the natural nutrients and minerals of the region (which, as mentioned in the early days of this thread, can be as specific as a single elevation of a single side of a single mountain). The impression I get is that tea plants are very sensitive to their growing medium and conditions, and the reason there are so many different teas to try is not due just to the differences in processing methods, but also to the nuances in the tea leaves themselves. Tea can be likened to wine. It’s in the interest of a quality vineyard to produce /better/ grapes, not just /more/ grapes, and the soil and land and natural environment that the plants grown in play a huge part in developing that flavor.
Edit: To clarify, most good tea is probably grown pretty “organically,” since that’s simply how you make good tea. Whether or not a tea is “certified organic” seems pretty arbitrary. Just buy good tea, and don’t get caught up with labeling.
Thank you again for your reply. I agree with you about not getting caught up with labeling. I am sure there are plenty of tea farmers that grow organically. They just can’t afford to pay large amount of money for the organic certification stamp. I think if your buying from a reliable source you really should be okay. I was more curious on this subject a while back when I wrote it. Have a tea-rrific day! Ha!