Are you looking for tea that’s certified organic, tastes great, and is grown by farmers who respect their workers and the environment? Choice, North America’s first purveyor of Fair Trade certified organic teas, delivers all this goodness to your cup in teas like Wellness, Whole Leaf, and Classics like green and Oolong.
Instead of taking the traditional route of buying their tea supply from brokers who anonymously bid at auctions, Choice inspects each tea estate they plan on partnering with to ensure that the right farming methods are yielding flavorful teas. Oothu Tea Garden in the jungled, rolling hills of Southern India is a good example where workers place organic compost and Neem oil cakes in the trenches alongside plants to aid in drought resistance and prevent soil erosion during the heavy monsoons. This requires extra labor but dramatically reduces groundwater pollution.
Each Choice tea has a distinctly unique flavor not only because they are grown naturally and harvested at just the right time but represent distinctive terroirs across the globe. One such estate in the tree-lined hills of Sri Lanka’s Uva region experiences hot, dry summer winds that blow through Thotulagalla Tea Gardens for weeks yielding a cedar flavor that's been highly sought after for centuries.
The tea industry typically employs untrained casual daily wage laborers, often children and adolescents, who are illiterate and cannot read warning labels. Since many of these tea farmers spray their plants upwards of 15 to 20 times each year depending on pest infestations, workers' health along with their native environment are destroyed. Work is done barefoot and in shorts rather than under the protection of vital safety gear like masks, gloves, rubber boots, and polythene aprons. And if these chemicals are so dangerous during application, you can only imagine what it does to the soil and surrounding ecosystem. Choice avoids this dangerous exploitation by only contracting with organic estates that promote a healthy sustainable livelihood for tea workers.
Photo courtesy of Choice. Coverage made possible by participating in a complimentary tasting.