Since our inception in 1989, Choice
Organic Teas has questioned the quality of existing
conventional teas produced with the aid of destructive
synthetic chemicals. These chemicals devastate
not only the soil used to cultivate tea (and
any other food), but systematically destroy
the surrounding ecosystem and the health of
the very people who farm the land.
It remains the goal of Choice
Organic Teas to raise awareness across an industry
dominated by conventionally cultivated tea to
the benefits of sourcing of organic teas. We
ask consumers to look for the United States
Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic seal
to ensure that your tea was grown and processed
according to the National Organic Standards.
Here are a few reasons why:
Toxic chemicals are bypassed, freeing soil from
exposure to harmful herbicides and pesticides.
Workers instead rely on substances such as compost,
natural organic matter, and plants to provide
the necessary ground cover and nutrients. Weeds
and insects are controlled with traditional
techniques such as crop rotation, mulching,
and the encouragement of “beneficials”
– such as extra, pest-controlling spiders.
Organic soil also has far more earthworms and
Studies show that healthy, live
soil at an organic tea garden returns far higher
crop yields per unit of energy and fertilizer
expended than conventional farming methods.
Diversity is healthy.
Better for wildlife
Organic cultivation of tea is better for local
wildlife. The Soil Association, an international
organization for organic cultivation, notes
that a typical organic field has five times
as many wild plants, 57 percent more animal
species, and 44 percent more birds than a conventionally
cultivated farm. Conventional synthetic herbicides
and pesticides often kill non-target animals,
plants, and insects.
The Times of India reported that
at least 10 leopards and five elephants died
between 1999 and 2001 due to leakage of pesticides
from tea gardens in West Bengal. Certainly more
have died since then. When mixed with other
solvents, these pesticides exert a massive toxic
effect on the environment for a long duration,
affecting birds, animals and humans.
If organic farming is safer for wildlife, it
is certainly safer for the workers in the tea
gardens. On conventional tea estates, the health
security for the workers is very low. According
to Oxfam, a British non-profit agency working
to put an end to poverty world-wide, the spraying
of pesticides on tea estates is often done by
untrained casual daily wage workers, sometimes
even by children and adolescents, who are illiterate
and cannot read the warnings on the containers.
Many tea farmers spray their plants
upwards of 15 to 20 times each year depending
on pest infestations. Most of the chemicals
they are using (such as - Aldrin 20E, Carbofuran
30, Endosulfan 35 EC, Malathion 50 EC, Tetradifon
8 EC, Calixin 80 EC) are listed as hazardous
and toxic, and a number of them are banned in
western countries. Despite the dangers of exposure
to toxic materials, workers frequently are barefoot
and in shorts rather than protected by recommended
safety gear such as masks, gloves, rubber boots,
and polythene aprons.
Organic Teas response
Ultimately, the decision to buy organic products
is a choice you make for yourself. If you were
to buy a conventional apple at the store, you'd
be sure to wash it off before eating it. With
tea, though, the first time you "wash"
the leaves is when you brew the tea to drink
When people here at Choice Organic
Teas are asked, "Why are you organic?"
our response is quick. The answer is easy. "How
could we be anything other than organic?"