• Chinese Tea

  • Organic tea Ц or not so organic!

    One of the most significant trends in today’s tea market is, if I may say so, the trend of “organic tea”, because there is a constant growth in sales and supply of tea with the label of “ORGANIC TEA”

    The marketing point of the organic tea is simple and attractive. Organic tea –is the tea, grown without the use of fertilizers, pesticides and other chemical supplements. Moreover, organic tea has an advantageous property of being if not entirely useful, then at least, harmless to people.

    Let us try to understand what organic tea really is. Retrospectively, in order to be able to understand what organic tea is, we must firstly try to understand what non-organic, traditional tea is.

    Here we go. So that the tea grows properly and gives a stable harvest over a long period, fertilizers should be added to the soil. Moreover, the soil in tea plantations must be also fertilized so that various elements are accumulated in the tealeaves. This is important for the taste and flavor of the tealeaves and the soil is where these elements are taken from. We know that the generosity of the soil knows no boundaries. Apart from this, the tea plantations must be obviously protected from the various pests and diseases.

    The necessity for use of fertilizers and other protective compounds on a large-scale agricultural production does not cast any doubts, neither is it a subject for argument. It is worth noting that the key words here are ‘large-scale production’. If a farmer has a small plantation, he can afford to get irregular or small harvest, because understandably the harvest is not intended for the masses. It is in fact true that rare, exotic teas are indeed grown in this fashion, even if, we get the harvest once in a few years and what we get as a result, unintentionally though, is an organic tea. Of course, this organic nature of these rare, exotic teas is not spoken about that often and that is because they have many other selling points.

    However, when it comes to large-scale production, things are very different. The fertilizers and pesticides are critical in this case. We are not going to get into the agro-technical details but we can certainly cite a few examples. In the year 2005, a popular German news agency by the name of ‘Reuters’, wrote that many of the famous Indian tea plantations are moving on to organic methods of growing tea and its production. Moreover, prior to this, they used mineral fertilizers in order to enrich the soil, which attracted insects unfortunately, and so they had to use pesticides to fight the insects. However, since the move to organic methods of cultivation, in order to fertilize the soil, they have started using compost, manure, fish, milk and buttermilk. Garlic, ginger, chilli pepper and camphor have replaced pesticides.

    It sure sounds very nice but it is not so in reality. Is everything that is being used now, the fish, milk, buttermilk, manure, compost; is that organic? To be short, all the things being used now as part of the ‘organic method’ of cultivating tea are themselves not at all organic! Everything mentioned above is indeed inorganic, is it that they just grow out of nowhere? No, they were also grown somehow. The same fertilizers and pesticides were used in having these things ready. To be precise, things that part of the organic method of tea cultivation, seem to be inorganic. Because it is an integral part of our economic life, which, as you know, is also inorganic!

    It is hard to draw conclusions from all this. However, the marketing mythology still seems far from reality and we can surely formulate a question: Is it correct to call a tea ORGANIC, if it is grown with the help of inorganic manure and compost?


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