Organic Tea
Frequently Asked Questions

Organic tea has to be quality to be worth it.

Do you sell organic tea?

The answer is yes, but the truth is more complex, so let me explain.

Most of the white and green teas I sell have either been certified organic or are naturally organic. The highest quality tea I sell - Tribute Dragon Well tea - even undergoes chemical testings yearly, as the tea goes directly to the Chinese White House.

The Huangshan Maofeng green tea has been certified organic. The other white tea and green teas I sell have not been certified, but they are highly organic. This is especially true if they are graded AAA, Jipin or King.

What does organic certification mean?

Organic certification does not mean the tea is higher quality. It just means synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides have not been used. The tea plants could be grown along the roaside at the bottom of the hill where the soil is poor, air is polluted and the leaves are intensively harvested.

Want to found out why does organic tea certification mean? What it does NOT mean? Click on the article below to find out.

Organic Loose Tea - What Does It Really Mean?

Are your teas certified?

My teas tend to be organic, but most of them are not certified.

You see, organic certification works differently in China compared to the West. The best tea is pre-industrial. They are naturally organic but uncertified. For thousands of years, they grow in high mountain top and are owned and managed by household farmers.

These household farmers ran their business using the traditional century-old techniques without chemicals. Tea buds are handharvested only spring. Leaves are handroasted by skilled craftmen. They already make very good money, they just don't see any need to certify their teas.

The bigger tea farms are more willing to invest in certification but it takes years of record keeping and spending large sums of money entertaining government officials. With economical of scale, certification also helps them sells more of their lower grade teas.

To conclude, the best teas in China (even Japan) are mostly uncertified. The certified teas tend to be the larger farms that cater for the export market, where the quality is okay, but not the best.

Why are your teas naturally organic?

The highest quality tea is also naturally organic. This is especially true for the tippy white tea and green tea, where the high grades are harvested during the first few days of spring when insects haven't even started to multiply.

What many people don't understand is that high grade tea cannot be mass-produced. They are farmed the traditional way where tea plants are only harvested for 6 weeks a year. Without intensive farming and industrialization, there is no need for chemical fertilizers.

Furthermore, high grades only grow in high mountain, where the air, soil are water are pure and free from contaminants. The tea buds are very young and tender, there is little time for any impurities to accumulate.

For further information, read

Organic Tea - Why High Grades Are Naturally Organic

What does quality mean?

A quality tea looks good, tastes good and makes you feels good.

It contains a high concentration of antioxidants to give you a wide range of amazing health benefits. It also contains lots of theanine with its full-bodied sweetness and gives you a prolonged, gentle energy that is relaxing and meditative.

They are grown in the high mountain away from human activities. When harvested, these tea buds are young and tender and contains little environmental impurities.

Such tea is naturally organic.

So a quality tea is naturally organic, but a certified organic tea may be better than another mass produced tea that is not certified organic, but it is not necessaarily quality.

Why Tasty Tea Is Quality

A 2004 study conducted by UK Institute of Food Research found that better tasting green tea contains high levels of nutrients such as theanine, EGCG and caffeine.

Best Green Tea Chemical Secrets

Which teas will you recommend for your tea shop?

Any green tea, white tea and yellow tea which are AAA and above will offer a high degree of safety. This is especially true for the Tribute Dragon Well tea, which is tested yearly as it goes to the Chinese White House.

The Huangshan Maofeng green tea is a certified organic tea. The other green teas I sell have not been certified, but they are highly organic.

For lower grade green teas (such as Huangshan Maofeng A grade and Xinyang Maojian AA grade), and green tea such as Taiping Houkui AA and Liuan Guapian AA that are harvested later in the year, I will recommend drinking in moderation (say 3 to 6 cups a day).

The same consideration applies to more mature leaves such as black tea, oolong tea, pu-erh tea etc.

Moderation is key.

Quality tea can be infused multiple times. They are highly potent and you only need a little a day. For example, three grams of high grade green tea can be infused three times to make three cups of tea.

Can things go wrong with just three grams of young, tender tea buds a day?

I don't think so.

Are your teas fairtrade?

Another advantage of drinking quality Chinese tea is that they are fairtrade.

Unlike India and African, high grade Chinese tea is widely owned by household farms rather than large corporations. The high cost of these teas mean a large proportion of your money goes directly to these farmers.

(Because of the high costs, big brands seldom bother to source these teas for you.)

Green tea buds are picked over a short window of 6 weeks each year, contract workers are paid daily to pick the teas. Again, the tea industry provides extra income for these short term workers, they are not being exploited in anyway.

During the last couple of years, we have seen the daily rates gone up for these contractors, as they are now fewer Chinese workers around.

We also send our best-sellers for pesticide testing. Click for further information.

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