Since our inception in 1989, Choice
Organic Teas has tried to visit every organic
tea garden from which we purchase tea. This
is unusual for a tea company.
Most conventional tea companies
buy their supplies from brokers who bid at anonymous
tea auctions. That’s not good enough for
us. Choice Organic Teas has marched proudly
far from the beaten path of any conventional
tea company in North America. We need to know
for ourselves that the tea we purchase is cultivated,
plucked, and processed in an exceptional manner.
The garden must be committed to long-term use
of organic cultivation methods which regenerate
and refresh farming soils and protect wildlife
and the health of those who farm the land.
Equally important, Choice Organic
Teas only trades with estates that treat their
workers fairly. These organic gardens are continents
away, in India, Sri Lanka, China, Africa, and
Japan, and while the trips there are often grueling,
there are great rewards when we meet amazing
people who love and respect organic tea as much
as we do.
Here’s what we’ve
seen on some of our recent visits:
Hot, dry summer winds blow across
the tree-lined hills of Sri Lanka, whipping
for weeks past the tea leaves of the Thotulagalla
Tea Garden in the famed Uva Region. The
people who pluck the organic tea leaves say
the winds are crucial, giving the tea grown
there a unique cedar flavor that has been enjoyed
for hundreds of years. We know this because
we have visited Thotulagalla. We have walked
the gardens, inspected the organic cultivation
methods, and tasted the tea firsthand.
The tea workers at the Oothu
Tea Garden in the jungled, rolling hills
of Southern India place organic compost and
Neem oil cakes in the trenches alongside tea
plants to aid in drought resistance and prevent
soil erosion during the heavy monsoons. This
is hard, labor-intensive work. But natural methods
like these dramatically reduce groundwater pollution,
protect the health of these workers, and preserve
the native flora and fauna of the tropical rainforests
that surrounds the gardens. We see the effect
that forsaking cheaper, destructive farming
methods has made at Oothu. Elephants wander
the grounds, and tea pluckers have told us of
sighting rare jaguars and endangered tigers.
And to the north, at the Makaibari
Tea Estate at the foothills of the Himalayas
where Mount Everest is visible on a clear day,
organic farming helps protect the environment.
In continuous operation since 1859, Makaibari
is among the oldest of all Indian tea gardens.
The garden is home to more than 600 tea workers
and their families. A pioneer in innovative
management, Makaibari has committed to 100 percent
organic and biodynamic production since 1991.
Among the more than 220 species of birds, 2,000
species of butterflies, and hundreds of species
of flowers is a rare white orchid. It is extinct
in surrounding areas but still thrives on the
We understand that dedicated
drinkers of Choice Organic Tea expect fine organic
teas that are well balanced. That’s why
we go great distances to deliver amazing organic
teas in a manner the Earth deserves.