What Is Organic and Fair Trade Tea and Coffee?

fair trade image by nyoin

fair trade image by nyoin

© 2013 Shanna Lea

People drink tea the world over, but many do not realize that tea is grown in developing countries on tea plantations.  These crops are sprayed with chemicals and pesticides and the workers that harvest these crops for us are exposed to these dangerous chemicals.  They are also paid very little for the hard work they do in harvesting a drink many of us take for granted each day.

As we become more aware of these dangers, the demand for organic and Fair Trade tea, coffee and cocoa are growing in popularity.  There are health benefits for us, and the workers, when we choose to spend a few extra pennies to buy organic.

Why buy organic tea, coffee or cocoa?

Consumers make choices on buying organic and Fair Trade based on many factors, some for personal reasons and others for ethical.

  • Sustainable farming practices
  • Decrease deforestation
  • Assurance that the workers conditions on the plantations  are improved, they have better quality of life and reduced exploitation
  • Personal health

As demand increases, more organic and Fair Trade companies are coming forth.  The Art of Tea is one company that works to maintain these qualities.

What is organic?

Tea or coffee qualifies for the organic label through a long process.  Ideally, the plantations should be self-sustaining and designed from the beginning of establishment for optimal utilization of resources.

The plantations build up the nutrient levels of the soil and neutralize the chemical residues left from past cultivation.  This conversion period can take from 3-5 years.  If the plantation begins before the conversion period is over, chemical residues can still show up in the final product.  After this period it is less likely for any pesticides to be present in the final product.

Insect, Pest and Disease Management

Management of insects, pests and disease relies on an inherent understanding of and working with nature.  This includes using natural enemies of pests to keep them in check.  Keeping things in balance is a constant task in running a plantation.

Many Varieties of Teas

There are many varieties of teas and herbal teas are in increasing demand as consumers learn of their medicinal benefits.  Some of these include peppermint to aid digestion and chamomile for rest and sleep.  Check out the Resources page at the top of this page for additional sources of tea and coffee, or click here >>  Resources.

Leave a Reply