Organic Tea

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Victoria
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Sat Jul 27, 2019 3:09 am

aet wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 3:01 am
Victoria wrote:
Fri Jul 26, 2019 9:26 pm
I look for information posted about them and their teas, location, elevation, cultivar, tasting profile etc.
so if I understand correctly , those are elements which makes you decide if the tea is clean ( alias organic ) or not. right?
Sorry, I understood your question to be more general. It’s nice to see a certificate, although not always necessary. For instance HY Chen in Nantou, Taiwan has a small farm. I knew from the get go that his teas were clean, only a few years later did he get an actual certificate confirming this. But what made me comfortable knowing his teas were clean before the presentation of a certificate, was based on relationships, his integrity, and my palate. A certain amount of trust is built in too.
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aet
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Location: Kunming ( China )

Sat Jul 27, 2019 3:38 am

Victoria wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 3:09 am
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alright, thanks! I get it.
That's the problem of small farmers in Yunnan. To get an organic cert for them is very expensive, not mentioning get a cert for whole garden.
So quite a lots of good tea doesn't reach the online customers just because there are no "stickers" accompanied with the product.
Im still in search how to get around with it, but labels still seem to the best marketing tool.

cheers
Hmm
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Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:06 am

In this case what does organic mean? Does it mean simply not using any pesticides, or does it mean more of the US type definition, where you can use pesticides, but "organically" approved ones.
aet
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Sat Jul 27, 2019 6:34 pm

Hmm wrote:
Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:06 am
In this case what does organic mean? Does it mean simply not using any pesticides, or does it mean more of the US type definition, where you can use pesticides, but "organically" approved ones.
good question. How those two are distinguished in US? ( label / name )
In EU if organic / BIO ...it means no pests at all. Measured around 480 substances and most of them are below 0.01mg/kg ( some substances are just "organically" in soil or in plant , water )
US checks only around 250 substances and the tolerance on mg/kg is bigger.
cliffjudith
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Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:15 pm

I would be careful on the organic labeling and buy your tea from a known reliable supplier which does not guarantee anything other than the suppliers reputation is at risk but does not guarantee pesticide free. Personally, I do not care if fertilisers have been used but that is a personal view. I would say though that Japanese teas are more reliable in quality than Chinese teas but less fun because of the uniformity. (They may even glow in the dark!)

(1) If a tea grower is a small artisanal grower then the cost of certification is an enormous burden and the supplier cannot afford to pay for the certification. Perhaps you therefore consider only buying tea from big farms - good luck on that one. Big business would love that and it takes away the delight of wonderful teas from small, skilled producers.

(2) Certificates do not guarantee that the grower has not supplemented his yield with a neighbouring non-organic grower. Traceability of Chinese teas is very loose.

(3) Many rural farmers who produce high quality, wonderful teas do not need to pay for the organic certificate as they can sell all their produce easily. There is no incentive to certificate and more often than not no incentive to use pesticides.

(4) Point (3) raises an interesting paradox. Good producers can sell all their high end tea at good prices and a certificate will not add anything. However, lower grade tea is commodity tea and here there is an incentive to provide an organic certificate as the price will be elevated and the margins for the tea increased. It follows that expensive high grade teas are usually organic but not certificated. Lower grade teas may not be organic but if the producer decides to become organic then a higher price can be obtained creating an inverse relationship where organic certified ordinary teas may be more expensive than higher grade teas which are naturally organic but uncertified.

(5) One thing to consider is the exploitation of tea workers. Slavery was abolished and replaced with the indenture system, which is slavery in another form. Indian tea workers do not get the national minimum wage and this includes Fairtrade suppliers. The Fairtrade system is so ineffective in the tea world that it is counterproductive and all the big brands will be buying from plantations that abuse their workers in this way.

The only way to buy your tea if you are concerned is to know your supplier and know the farm.

Good luck tea folk. With the quantities I consume I hope I am safe from too much non-organic damage.
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Tillerman
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Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:07 pm

@cliffjudithEvery point you make is spot on. The way to assure high quality tea is to work with high quality producers and vendors. The certificate can be nice (one of the growers with whom I work did invest (a lot! ) and does have the organic cert. but her tea is excellent not on that account but because she takes care to produce top notch quality) but is no assurance as to the quality of the tea.
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