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Organic Teas from Around the World

Choice Organic Teas works closely with our international growers in countries across the world, including China, India, Japan, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania to create organic teas known for outstanding character and clarity of flavor. We rely on simple, pure ingredients, strict organic guidelines, and an ethics-driven Fair Trade philosophy.

Click on a region to learn more.

China
Organic Teas Purchased: Green Tea, Oolong Tea, and Black Tea

Fujian Province
In this southeast coast province, a small group of farmers lives and grows tea within the borders of a UNESCO Biosphere site. The UNESCO designation as a Biosphere Reserve indicates an initiative for conservation of biological diversity and sustainable development through training, education, and involvement of local communities. The relatively remote location and protected status make the foggy rainforest of the Wuyi Mountains an area where endangered plants and animals thrive undisturbed by industrialization and pollution.

Jiangxi Province
The forests of this mountainous region in southeastern China are home to “ancient” wild tea trees. Tea flourishes here in its natural habitat of mountainous peaks, mild climate, and rich soil. Fifty small villages have embraced organic methods and produce teas in the style of those made here for centuries.

Yunnan Province
Yunnan is located along the southwestern border of China. Here women pluckers climb the native wild tea trees to harvest leaves. In an effort to preserve the natural and cultural wealth of the area, outside development and invasive agriculture have been strictly limited.

India
Organic Teas Purchased: White Tea, Green Tea, Oolong Tea, and Black Tea

Assam Growing Region (State of Assam)
Assam sits at a relatively low elevation with warmer temperatures. The area is home to native Indian tea bushes that were “discovered” and later propagated by British explorers who set up gardens. The British had been trying to grow imported Chinese tea plants when they literally stumbled across these native tea bushes in the wild. (Of course, the Indians knew tea grew here all along.)

Darjeeling Growing Region (State of West Bengal)
As a category, teas grown in Darjeeling are some of the most expensive in the world, and they enjoy a premium status among many tea drinkers. Darjeelings are often called the “Champagne of tea” for their parallels to wine in flavor, quality, and prestige. Much of the unique flavor can be attributed to the Darjeeling region's high elevation and large rainfall. In fact, many teas grown at a high elevation (both here and in certain regions of Sri Lanka) have a distinctive “high grown” flavor that is a combination of light body and delicate, floral qualities.

The growing and plucking seasons in Darjeeling are often broken down into three categories: First Flush (early spring through summer), Second Flush (summer through early fall), and Autumnal (fall). Teas plucked in each of the seasons have different flavor characteristics:

First Flush Teas are commonly light, “green”-tasting, and floral.

Second Flush Teas have a deeper flavor with a full body, nutty character, and
occasionally muscatel (grapelike) notes.

Autumnal Teas are smooth, mellow, and easy drinking.

Dooars Growing Region (State of West Bengal)
This fertile region is located on a floodplain between the Darjeeling and Assam growing regions. Dooars teas are generally affordable and of good quality with a rich, hearty character similar to that of teas produced in neighboring Assam. Frequently used in blends, teas from this area are not promoted as well as those grown in Darjeeling or Assam.

South India Growing Regions (States of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu)
Located at the southern tip of India, these growing regions are characterized by moderate-elevation rolling hills and mountainsides which create teas with a smooth, mellow flavor that is prized in blending. The weather is cooler with more rain than falls on the dry surrounding plains.

Nepal
Organic Teas Purchased: Green Tea

Panchthar District
Located just across the international boundary with Darjeeling, India, this area of Nepal shares many geographical similarities with the better-known Indian region. The climatic conditions and high altitude in the foothills of Mount Kanchanjangha are ideal for making teas that are flavorful and aromatic.

Sri Lanka
Organic Teas Purchased: Black Tea

Uva Province
Originally colonized by the British, this area supported a booming coffee business until a coffee blight struck the entire island in 1869. Desperate landowners planted tea, and to their luck, it grew well here on the sloping, high-elevation hills. The flavor of the tea is shaped by a unique interplay of elevation, rainfall, and drying summer winds, and the best teas of the season are produced in July and August after the winds have reached their highest strength and intensity.

Japan
Organic Teas Purchased: Green Tea, Twig Tea

Uji Growing Region (Kyoto Prefecture on southern Honshu)
Traveling and studying in China, Buddhist monks first learned of tea and brought the beverage back to Japan where it became part of religious and later secular ceremonies. Along the hills surrounding the town of Uji, the misty mornings and fertile, well-drained volcanic soil are well suited for tea growing. Rather than keep the tea bushes trimmed meticulously in long rows, as is common in Japan, our farmer lets them grow more naturally to encourage hardiness and pest-resistance.

Tanzania
Organic Teas Purchased: Black Tea

While Tanzanian tea accounts for less than 1% of total world tea production, it is an economically important crop for the East African country. Tea gardens are located in the northern and southern hills with the best sited at an elevation of 500-600 feet.

South Africa
Organic Herbs Purchased: Rooibos

Cederberg, Western Cape Province
Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), meaning “Red Bush,” is a flowering South African shrub that has been used by indigenous inhabitants for centuries. The grass-like plant grows surprisingly well in the warm, dry climate and rocky soil.

Egypt
Organic Herbs Purchased: Chamomile, Spearmint, Lemongrass, and Hibiscus

Egyptian chamomile is widely considered the best in the world for its highly flavorful character, and a long tradition of cultivation dates back to the ancient Egyptians. Spearmint, lemongrass, and hibiscus also grow well in the warm climate.

Brazil
Organic Herbs Purchased: Yerba Maté

States of Paraná and Santa Catarina
Punctuated by deep ravines, the cool, forested foothills of southern Brazil are home to this native herb. Yerba Maté has been used for centuries by the indigenous Guaraní for daily energizing and communal leisure.

United States
Organic Herbs Purchased: Peppermint and Lavender

Washington
Small farmers in eastern Washington grow some of the best peppermint in the world in the rich, volcanic soil east of the Cascade Mountains. Lavender is grown on a local organic farm in the San Juan Islands, located in the Puget Sound.

 

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