A Nice Cup of Organic Tea

There is a certain buzz around the word organic. The word “organic” seems simple, and all around good, but there is more to just slapping the word on a label and it actually being organic. In 1990, law was passed the Organic Food Production Act (OFPA) requiring the Department of Agriculture to develop national organic standards. The National Organic Program (NOP) and OFPA developed regulations requiring products labeled “organic” originate from farms, or handling facilities, that are certified by either local or private agencies that have been accredited by the government agency.

The act also states that farms and other facilities cannot use the following methods and products:

Genetic engineering

  • Ionizing Radiation
  • Sewage Sludge

Have you ever stopped and wondered what you were drinking with non-organic tea? Sewage sludge? If it has to be removed to be certified organic then it means it’ ssoemthing you’re drinking in yoru normal tea.

Organic crops must be grown without the use of;

  • Most conventional pesticides
  • Petroleum based fertilizers
  • Sewage sludge-based fertilizers

Organic labelling is often the most simple, but for consumers it may appear confusing. When seeing the word organic on a label it doesn’t mean that it is 100% organic, it usually means you pay more so know what is organic about the tea you pick. To go in legal detail the term organic can be used in diferent circumstances – it is not an either/ or question. It is measured by percentage and must be identified like this:

  • Products labeled “100 % organic” must contain only organically produced ingredients.
  • Products labeled “organic” must consist of at least 95% organically produced ingredients.
  • Both may display the Organic Seal
  • Processed products that contain at least 70% organic ingredients can only use the phrase “made with organic ingredients”.
  • Processed products that contain less than 70% organic ingredients cannot use the term “organic” other than to identify the specific ingredients, on the ingredients list, that are organically produced.

What does all this mean to you as a tea drinker? Well, many tea plants are grown and tea is manufactured outside the continent, meaning anything could happen. Foreign agents regulate and ensure that the tea is organic, and passes it on to be certified. Many local farmers have tried, or investigated growing teas, but converting their farms into tea plantations is a lengthy and also costly process. The result is that you need to know where your organic tea comes from, and exactly how much is organic.

Quality of taste of organic tea may not be the same as normal teas because of the way it is farmed. Organic tea can taste different as it is the way tea is supposed to taste, without being forced to grow. It may take while to adjust to the taste but all that comes with experience and also experimentation. The quality of organic teas right now is high, and the health benefit is worth taking time to find what you like.

Organic teas are a wise choice for the tea drinker, they may be more costly, but in the long run they help benefit the planets environment and your enjoyment as you can be sure your tea is additive free – and sewer sledge free too!

Like what we’re doing? Want to share your story or tell others? Do you have a green business in Calgary and want to get in front of a large local audience? Let’s build a green community together!