Tea these days often carries many different labels. Some teas are 100% organic, others are ‘biodynamic’, ‘Certified B Corp’, ‘Fair Trade’, ‘Rainforest Alliance’, etc. It can all seem quite confusing. After all that you might wonder, well does the tea taste any good?
For tea lovers who want to ensure what they are drinking is clean, ethically sourced and tastes good, we need to look beyond a simple label, and look at what is going on behind the scenes. That’s because these labels do not always tell the whole story.
Instead, tea lovers who are concerned about pesticides, the environment and whether the tea is ethically produced should look at how a tea is grown, and who grows it. These teas might not meet stringent (and very costly) global standards to carry a certain label, but the tea is still the result of earth-friendly and people-friendly farming practices.
That’s why at Karma Tea we place an emphasis on transparency around provenance. Unlike many supermarket tea brands that buy tea from an often anonymous supply chain which comprises a blend of multiple anonymous sources, we offer single origin teas directly from small-scale family run or cooperative farming operations which means we know exactly where and how a tea was produced.
Our teas are by default ‘fair trade’ as they are all bought directly from growers, which cuts out intermediaries and means that growers achieve much higher prices than they would if selling through normal market channels.
The tea growers and makers we source from all use sustainable practices that would most probably meet the criteria necessary to use word like “organic” but these international certifications and/ or auditing schemes are largely the reserve of large scale industrial tea operations, and out of reach for small holder artisanal farmers.
In fact, there is a growing realisation that the best teas in the world are made on small traditional farms in small batches that avoid chemical pesticides and herbicides and crafted by hand. For these type of producers, the terms ‘natural’ and ‘sustainably produced’ are even more desirable than those that carry international certifications.
This is the type of tea that we champion here at Karma Tea. So next time you are buying tea, ask yourself where is it from, rather than just opting for a tea that ticks a box as the more information that is given around the source and origin, the better for both the grower, and the drinker.