Organic Tea: Is it the Real Deal?

I love tea! A lot of my most dear memories are tied to tea.

This spring I began replacing my conventional teas with Organic, mostly herbal ones.

An important part of reducing my body's exposure to toxins is buying organic as much as I can. Organic means there's a higher standard for quality growing and ingredients and often having a 3rd party certification (like USDA) provides integrity assurance that organic isn't just a company claim.

There are a lot of hype out there about "organic" and "natural" products and a lot of brands and companies to wade through. The more I read, the more I discovered fakes! It led me to ask: "how do I know it's the real deal?"

Why Organic Tea

Tea can be one of the most pesticide filled products. According to a recent study, teas from companies like Celestial Seasonings and Teavana exceeded the pesticide residue limits in the U.S.

Other Factors

A lot of organic teas still have "natural flavors" listed in their ingredients which is a deceptive way of covering up where their flavors are derived from.

Tea bags and packaging are another thing to pay attention to. Many tea bags are made with plastics that break down in hot water and release chemicals into your tea. Even paper bags are treated or bleached with chemicals that are known to be harmful.

You can read more about this in detail in this article by Food Babe: http://foodbabe.com/2013/08/21/do-you-know-whats-really-in-your-tea/

Transparency is Key

The key to finding organic and pure teas is company transparency. Do they hide the true blend composition with phrases like "natural flavors" and "artificial flavors?" Is it hard to find information on how they produce their teas? Are they open with where they source their ingredients from?

If the answer is no to any of these questions, I would pass on them.

In my search I've found a number of companies that I completely trust and absolutely love their products.

Mountain Rose Herbs

Their huge selection of herbal blends is amazing. Not to mention many black teas, green teas, chai, mate, white teas, red teas, and flowering teas to chose from. OTCO and USDA Certified Organic, Fair for Life Certified, and Non-GMO project verified (read more on the website here)-- they are the real deal!

They also have tons of recipes and DIY's on their blog to help you learn more tea-brewing techniques!

I have their Seasons of Discontent herbal blend, Winter Spice herbal chai, Love Tea, Spring Green, Earl Gray Green Tea, Moon Ease Tea, and their English Breakfast tea.

Numi Organic Tea

My favorite thing about Numi is their dedication to people. As a certified B corp. and Fair Trade Certified business, they don't just talk about investing in communities, they actually do! (read more here).

I love their unique blends and flavors (like their chocolate teas and their use of spices).

I have a couple of their variety samplers as well as their Chocolate Pu-erh Tea and I'm really impressed.

Traditional Medicinals

Traditional Medicinals has long had a reputation for excellence. Besides sourcing 98.9% of their ingredients organically, being 100% GMO free, they have many sustainability initiatives (read more here). They have many certifications including a Fair Trade certification.

They have a tea for everything! From basic peppermint, to blends like Throat Coat, Mother's Milk and Ginger Aid.

Right now I keep their peppermint stocked in my tea basket!

Have you tried any of these companies?

What's your favorite tea blend?