There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.Ralph Waldo Emerson
True “teas” come from the camellia sinensis plant. These are the teas best known as black, green, and white teas. Tea may have been discovered as early as 2737 B.C., by the then-Emperor of China. Cultivation of the tea plant developed in China and the brewing of tea leaves has been used for centuries as medicine, a religious offering and for royalty.
Tea gained popularity and accessibility during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 A.D.) and expanded as far as Japan. Tea didn’t gain popularity in Europe until the reign of the King Charles II, in the 17th century. He married a Portuguese princess, Catherine of Braganza, who increased the popularity of tea as social pursuit for royalty and nobility.
Today tea is popular throughout the world, but it needs a specific climate to grow, so there are “tea growing regions” in primarily Asia, East/South Africa and some Pacific Islands. These regions produce outstanding product; however, they often have to be exported and shipped to distributors. Also tea plantations can take up vast swaths of fertile land to grow.All of this leads the responsible consumer to ask the following questions: Is it sustainable? Is it organic? Is it “Fair Trade”?
Sadly, the answer is often no.
In the case of herbal teas, depending on the root, fruit or leaf, they can often be grown anywhere. Or the fruit, leaf, or root can grow back quickly with minimal cultivation. In regards to “organic,” the word itself holds so many factors: How it’s grown, the absence of pesticides, the soil, the origin of the seed, etc. When traditional teas are grown in remote, inaccessible places, who is really monitoring the accuracy or consistency of “organic”?A similar issue holds for “Fair Trade.” In 2012, tea consumption reached $15.7 billion in sales, up from 32% since 2007. According to Oxfam, tea pickers in Assam, India –one of the leaders in tea production– earned just above the World Bank’s poverty wage of $2.00 a day. That means that the average tea picker harvests twenty-two pounds of tea a day for the price of one cup of tea to go.
American Royal Tea is committed to sustainable, 100% organic, non-GMO, and fair-trade herbal and traditional premium teas.
Some facts about American Royal Tea:
- Leaves, roots, flowers and spices are from a supplier in the United States;
- All tisane and tea leaves are 100% organic;
- All tisane and tea leaves are non-GMO (that means we strive for heirloom varieties –when available– and non-genetically modified flowers, spices, leaves and roots);
- All tisane and tea leaves are Fair Trade when available; and
- Our suppliers also believe in organic, non-GMO, and locally-sourced ingredients.
- When I started my hand-blended, premium, herbal tea company, my priorities were and always will be the aforementioned. I also believe in small batches to retain premium freshness.
Herbal teas predate cultivated teas and every culture has used a soothing, brewed cup of beneficial leaves, roots, flowers, and spices, and other natural ingredients to heal, invigorate, relax and bring a community together.
American Royal Tea is committed to this timeless herbal tea ritual.Sources:
- A Day in the Life of a Tea Harvester – http://www.teance.com/category-s/208.htm
- Ethical Tea Partnership – http://www.ethicalteapartnership.org/
- Understanding Wage Issues in the Tea Industry (PDF) –http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/oxfam_etp_understanding_wage_issues_in_the_tea_industry.pdf
- Oxfam: Behind the World’s Favorite Brew – http://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/13-05-02-behind-world-favorite-brew-living-wage-tea-pickers
- Los Angeles Times – http://articles.latimes.com/2013/may/26/business/la-fi-tea-boom-20130527
- Climate, Geography and Tea Production – http://ratetea.com/topic/climate-geography/55/