Organic Tea
Frequently Asked Questions

Organic tea has to be quality to be worth it.

Do you sell organic tea?

I think 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 green teas I sell have not been certified, but they are highly organic.

What does organic certification mean?

Organic certification does not mean the tea is higher quality. It just means chemical fertilizers and pesticides have not been used when growing the tea plants.

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.

Organic certification works differently in China compared to the West.

You see, the best teas in China are naturally organic but mostly uncertified. For thousands of years, they grow in high mountain top and are owned and managed by household farmers.

These household farmers have no incentives to certify their teas. They already make very good money from selling their teas in spring.

Chinese tea connoisseurs understand that the highest grades are farmed using traditional centuries-old techniques without using much chemicals. The high grade green tea is naturally organic anyway, the comforts of certification adds very little to the price they are willing to pay.

The bigger tea farms are more willing to get their teas certified, but it takes years of record keeping. It also means spending large sums of money on entertaining government officials. They are more willing to invest because they have the 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 tippy white tea and green tea, where the high grades are harvested during the first few 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. There is no need to use 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 only 1-2 days old when harvested, there is little time for any impurities to accumulate.

For further information, read

Organic Tea - Why High Grades Are Naturally Organic

Does organic means quality?

For me, certified organic tea doesn't really mean quality.

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

It contains a high concentration of antioxidants, that give you wide range of health benefits. It also contains high concentration of theanine, that has a full-bodied sweetness, it helps you to relax and focus at the same time.

Also, because it is grown in the high mountain away from human activities, and harvested when it is young and tender, it is pure and contains little environmental impurities.

Such tea is likely to be naturally organic.

So a quality tea is naturally organic, but a certifies organic tea may do okay, but it is not necessarily 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 A grade), and mature leaves green tea such as Taiping Houkui and Liuan Guapian, I will recommend drinking in moderation (say 3 to 6 cups a day).

The same would apply to any other teas you drink daily, such as black tea, oolong tea, pu-erh tea etc.

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 cost of these teas, very few big brands are willing 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.

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