Organic tea is just like any other tea with the only variation in how it is cultivated, which actually defines the properties of the tea. This particular kind of tea is grown organically free of artificial fertilizers, preservatives, antibiotics, chemicals, without any genetic modifications or given any synthetic hormones. Such teas are ‘Certified Organic’ by a number of organizations and considered a healthy option especially for the tea lovers all across the world.
Pre-conditions of Cultivating Tea Organically
Organic tea is considered organic only when it is grown in soil conditions that are totally devoid of any kind of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers or any other form of soil enhancement chemicals. Other than these, there should be no use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or any artificial additives. Only when the tea is grown under such strict conditions, it is considered as completely organic, which is quite different from tea made from all natural sources.
Types of Teas Considered Organic
Most of the green teas fall into the category of Organic tea. These teas are considered top of the cream not only for their mild flavors but also for their health benefits, especially because of the antioxidants present in the tea.
Certain green tea varieties that are considered organic -
- Gyokurocha – This is a light green variety that is made from tender tea leaves that are plucked from the tip. This tea is mild and less bitter.
- Sencha – This is also a light green colored tea that is made from tea leaves that are plucked from the middle of the branches. This tea is slightly bitter, but more popular than Gyokurocha which is the most expensive green tea.
- Bancha – This golden brown tea is made from the twigs of the tea plant, hence more bitter than the regular green teas.
- Matcha – This green colored tea is made from the ‘dust’ of regular green tea; however, it is less flavored and not as aromatic.
- Houjicha – This is a blended tea made by mixing green tea with certain cereals such as rice, wheat, barley, etc. If this variety of tea has to be organic, all ingredients need to be organic.
- Genmaicha – This again is a blend of green tea and roasted brown rice.
- Decaffeinated Green Tea
- Blends of the above varieties
Organic Tea Benefits
There are many benefits of cultivating and drinking organic tea.
Health benefits include –
Because of epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant present in the tea, many diseases can be treated.
- Helps treat cancer
- Helps control heart problems
- Controls cardiovascular diseases
- Controls high cholesterol levels
- Helps in controlling rheumatoid arthritis
- Acts as an anti-aging agent
- Boosts the immunity
- Controls diabetes
- Works as a stimulant and cuts down on fatigue and laziness
- Works as a de-intoxicating agent
- It also has benefits such as controlling infections and tooth decay
Environmental benefits include –
- No toxic contamination of the environment
- No nutrient (nitrogen) pollution of the soil, as this can harm the aquatic ecosystem and the fisheries industry in the long run
Commercial Disadvantages of Organic Teas
Today, there are many teas being sold as ‘Organic’; however, not all of them are made with 100% organically grown leaves. This problem especially occurs in countries that have lax environmental laws and standards are not that high. Hence, it is imperative to understand the actual ingredients and the proper labeling on the teas that are sold as organic tea.