Are your teas organic?

October 06, 2015

I'm sometimes asked if our teas are organic.  Yes, and no.  Here's the scoop.

If you're on our site, you're like me.... you want to drink some really good tea feeling good about what you are drinking and where it comes from.  At BTTC, we source almost all of our teas "Face to Farmer" meaning we physically go to farms recommended to us through personal introduction by our extensive network of tea drinking friends and experts. We meet with them, talk about their harvests, sample their teas and pay for them on the spot in cash, directly to the farmer.  

The nature of small family farms is that they are SMALL and run by individual FAMILIES.  These guys aren't rich but they make a decent living for themselves.  Some have chosen to get their farms certified organic in Taiwan through TOPA, or Taiwan Organic Produce Association.  It's an investment for them to sell their teas in Taiwan as organic.  

Now, most of them never planned to sell tea to the United States or the Western world.  In the US, in order for tea to be sold as organic, it has to have the USDA certified organic label.  Now, to make it simple, it costs several thousand dollars each year for our farmers to get this label and they don't feel it is worth it at this point.  If we start buying very large quantities of their crops, that may change in the future!  

We don't sell our teas labeled organic in the US but I can say that we purposely chose our farmers based on several criteria among them the absence of the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.  

So, is our tea organic?  No, but it's as close as you can get without jumping through the hoops.  I can tell you that, between you and me, even if a tea is labeled USDA certified organic and it comes from China I would not consider that tea organic.  


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