Buying Organic Green Tea

Are you getting ripped off when you buy organic green tea? In non-traditional markets, green tea drinkers are perhaps more health conscious than your average tea drinker. For that reason they seek the highest quality product for the most benefit, and that naturally leads to organic green tea. There are many reasons for buying organic, but it can be a bewildering choice. Organic standards differ from country to country. How can we know we are getting an organic product? This article will give a glimpse into organic tea certification in different parts of the world.

Most of the tea in the world is grown in just five countriesâ€"China, India, Indonesia, Sri Lank, and Kenya. For most of us, these countries are far away. Unlike with local vegetable and fruit markets, we do not have direct access to the growers, and usually little concept of what tea cultivation involves, let alone organic standards foreign lands. The demand for organic agricultural products has come largely from the modern, western industrialized countries and Japan where consumers are both savvy and demanding. As growth in organic markets can outstrip supply, there is plenty of opportunity for unscrupulous entrepreneurs to try to extract a price premium for less than premium goods.

Fortunately, some growers in all of the green tea producing countries recognize the need for research and development in organic agriculture for ecological, business, and health reasons. and there is government supported research in each. As in the west, however, certification standards and authorities can differ widely: they may be government sponsored, they may be corporate, or non-profit. Often they can be founded by producer associations. Recognizing the need for consumer confidence and standardization across borders, a number of international organizations have sprung up offering common standards.

These organizations will often be members of, or conform to IFOAM standards. IFOAM, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, does not certify producers itself, but has created a baseline of minimum requirements for growers to follow. Associations meeting IFOAM standards can often be cross-certified in many markets. Organic green tea growers in India or China, for example, may then, if they are members of the right organizations also achieve the right to use USDA, OCIA, Europgap, etc. seals. Often the local agencies will contract to do inspections for the foreign authority.

The world of organic certification can be complex for organic green tea production, as with any crop. Balancing the need for surety and documentation with support for smaller producers and the integrity of equivalent standards is not always easy. But international organizations do bring some common denominators and confidence to the process. So when you are buying organic green tea, check to see that it bears a certification label fro a respected authority.

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About The Author, Stevebc
Steven Beck is a freelance writer and former coffee aficionado developing a keen appreciation for green tea. As an organic food consumer for years, and having an inquisitive mind he likes to raise awareness and promote sustainable, organic agricultural and fair trade. You can follow his exploration and inspiration his site