All About Organic, Bio and Regular Tea
What do these common and confusing terms mean when it comes to tea? Is Tea Plays really organic?
One confusion about 'organic' and 'bio' comes from Europe, where the movement is thought by many to have started. In continental European countries, the term 'bio' is used to refer to precisely the same kind of food and production that is called 'organic' in English: the emphasis is on food grown without harmful fertilizers or pesticides, and with minimum waste. In the case of animal products, this usually involves concern for animal welfare to some degree.
In these places the label Organic or Bio is protected by law and sellers of the products must be able to prove that their producers are certified as organic. This has the knock-on effect of creating a more reliable supply chain: the foodstuff must have one origin and that needs to be certified as organic.
In Europe, some interesting points apply to what constitutes 'organic': genetically modified foods are forbidden, and food including game that is sourced from the wild cannot be labelled organic, even if it was never actually exposed to chemicals in the wild.
Around the world, the terms organic, 'bio' and 'natural' have a generally accepted meaning: the rejection of excessive chemical and genetically modified organisms. In the United States, 'natural' is often used by producers who do not want or cannot afford to apply for the official 'organic' status. Many have criticized how this US-organic law was made, as it favors big producers who are able to navigate all the legal requirements.
In the case of Tea Plays, our tea is sourced in China, which has an ancient agricultural tradition but where the classification and the popular understanding of organic foods and their appeal is still developing.
Nevertheless we searched hard for tea producers who make their tea in way that satisfies the typical ideals behind 'organic': the tea comes from a known farmer, a single source, and is grown with minimal use of chemical if any at all.
Much of the black tea consumed in the world could never be thought of as organic in spirit or in law, as its origin is not traceable and it is grown in intensive farming conditions.
Soon you'll be able to check out more articles, posts and films in different places about how we located the sources for our organic Chinese teas and plants.