Organic Loose Tea
What Does It Mean?

What everyone should understand about organic loose tea: What it does and does NOT mean.

For tea lovers living in the West, here is the conundrum: We love tea, but we can't grow it in our own backyard.

We rely on third world countries in Asia, South America and Africa for much of our supply. We know there are pollutions and regulatory issues.

We seek out certified organic tea thinking that they are higher quality. But is that really the case?

What Organic Certification Mean

In the United States, any organic certified food must meet the National Organic Program (NOP) standards set by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Here is what USDA defines as organic:

  • The farm emphasizes the use of renewable resources.

  • It does not use most conventional pesticides.

  • It does not use fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge.

To quote USDA:

A NOP certified tea is not necessarily higher quality or more nutritious. It simply differs from the conventionally produced food in the way it is grown, handled and processed.

What Organic Certification Does Not Mean

To echo what USDA says above, certified organic loose tea may provide a minimum standard of growing tea plants, but does not automatically guarantee quality, purity and safety.

Here are three reasons why:

An organic certified tea doesn't guarantee quality.

This is because the highest quality tea is harvested early spring from pristine mountain top, where the air is damp, soil is rich and the water is clean. Tea plants can grow from low lying areas, and still be certified organic.

For further information on why the best teas come from high mountain, check out:

Lushan Yunwu Tea (Cloud and Mist Green Tea) - Her Daring Fragrance!

An organic certified tea does not guarantee purity.

This is because certified organic loose tea can be contaminated if the soil and air contain environmental pollutants released from nearby cars and factories.

An organic certified tea does not guarantee safety from overdose.

This is because the tea leaves could be low quality (made from mature leaves) and contain high concentration of fluoride and aluminum. When consume in high doses (say 15 cups a day), they could cause problems for some people.

Why You Shouldn't Drink Too Much Mature Leaf Tea

Most people are concerned about insecticides, but evidence suggests that other chemicals are more likely to cause problems from tea overdose.

There is precious few, if any, Chinese tea drinkers that have suffered from insecticides overdose.

More prevalent are tea drinkers who suffer from fluoride and aluminum overdose. They are mainly drinkers of tea made from mature leaves such as black tea or pu-erh tea.

In America, a Lipton tea drinker had this problem. She drank large quantity of processed tea containing high level of fluoride.

This is not a concern if you are drinking high grade green tea. This is because green tea buds, only a few days old when harvested, are pure and contain little chemicals present in the soil.

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