Is organic tea really better?
Health conscious consumers prefer certified organic tea for better taste, better for health etc but there are many small tea farmers who are not certified because of the huge costs and bureaucracy, while practising “clean” farming.
Certified organic tea and produce are gaining popularly hugely lately, but the fact is the yield from organic farm is substantially less and slower for the plants to mature to the harvesting point. So if more demand is there, how could the organic farm supply enough?
Another aspect is the fact that some tea has been produced for decades and some even centuries in the same famous plantations, such as the Dragon Well region in China. It is almost impossible to stop all production, rest these typical small plantations for 4 years without producing any tea or income, and not put in any pesticide for weeding etc (to comply with organic certifying organisation), THEN start all over again to plant organically.
This means if you want some of those very authentic tea from those well known long established tea farms, you have to forgo this “organic certified” badge. There is a chance some of these tea farms are doing their best to grow tea as organically as they could, but the certification is not likely.
Don’t forget the fact that certified organic means there is a central body to certify the tea. This certification costs, along with regularly audits and licensing fees to pay.
For some tea farmers, practising organic is commercially viable, but to plunge money into being certified year in year out, it is just not going to work. Even in Australia, this is happening. Certifications cost, and if you export, you need MANY organic certificates to satisfy different certification body from different countries. So is it best to put your money in getting organic materials to grow your crops or pay for certifications?
Some more reading: