My consumption of tea would lead you to believe I am British. I must have tea throughout the day and at around 4 pm, I crave a cup of tea and a biscuit (or a piece of dark chocolate). In my pantry, I have boxes of teabags, tins of loose-leaf tea, infusers, tea pots, mugs with infusers, and lots more evidence of my devotion to the cuppa. One thing you won’t find in my cupboards any longer is tea that isn’t organic.
About a year ago, I read a report by the nonprofit Beyond Pesticides that chilled me to the core. Tea Steeped in Toxics uncovers some very ugly and very scary truths about the tea industry. In a nutshell, imported tea leaves are drenched in high levels of illegal pesticide residues (which most companies do not rinse off before packaging). Other dangerous contaminants, including heavy metals, are found in the tea leaves as well. For a quick summary of this study, see LivingMaxwell.com’s article. Considering that much of the tea we drink in the U.S. is imported, I decided I had to make the switch to all organic. In case you are considering making the switch as well, here are my favorite brands of organic tea.
Numi Organic Tea
Numi is one of the most trustworthy brands of tea. All their teas are organic and gluten-free. They use no “natural” flavorings, colors or perfumes. Their tea bags are also considered non-toxic since they are “compostable and made from manila hemp cellulose (plant fiber). They are non-GMO verified, oxygen whitened, and the tag is made from 100% recycled materials and soy-based inks.”
Learn more: http://www.numitea.com/
Traditional Medicinals kicks the cuppa up a notch by producing teas to enjoy and also use for medicinal purposes. The herbs they use are pharmacopoeial grade and blended with other herbs and teas to achieve wellness. As with Numi, their tea bags are also non-toxic. The company also conducts rigorous testing of its teas to ensure their purity, quality and integrity.
Learn more: http://www.traditionalmedicinals.com/
95% of Rishi’s teas and products are organic. They do carry non-organic teas as “there are several classical tea growing regions...where organic tea farms simply do not exist yet today. The major oolong tea regions—Fujian, Guangdong, and Taiwan—are notable examples.” In addition to having a large number of organic teas, they also do rigorous testing of the tea plants and leaves to ensure great quality control. They do use “natural flavors,” which is often a buzz word for dubious substances, but they state their “natural flavors are concentrated liquid extracts made from real food ingredients... We use our natural flavors in compliance with USDA NOP organic standards and we are one of few tea companies who do not use any artificial flavors in our teas.”
Learn more: http://www.rishi-tea.com/
Løv Organic is the sister brand of the very well-regarded Kusmi tea. While both brands are French, Løv Organic was inspired by Scandinavia because in Scandinavian countries the modern lifestyle goes hand-in-hand with respecting the environment. As such, their teas and tea bags are environmentally-friendly. Ninety-five percent of their teas, herbs and “natural flavors” are organic. Their minimalistic, clean and colorful packaging is also inspired by Scandinavian design.
Learn more: http://us.lov-organic.com/