Is organic tea all that different from what consumers believe to be “regular” tea?
Ah, fresh tea. What is better than coming home from a long day to a steaming brew; or starting your day with your favorite cup? It is a reliable companion during idle hours and stressful moments.
Of course, we love tea, and so do millions of others across the world! There are lots of potential health benefits and it’s a great option for those who don’t want to drink a lot of sugary or fattening drinks.
However, can we go one better – what about organic? This magic word seems to push products like tea into a whole new category of health. Is it best to go natural and additive-free?
When it comes down to what is considered organic vs. regular, it’s all about how the leaves, spices, and herbs are grown, collected and processed during the journey from farm to the consumer’s teapot.
While some consider the only difference between organic and regular teas to be the price point, there is a significant difference in these variations and how they are processed. Whether you are a fan of bitter black tea or loose-leaf herbal tea there is plenty to talk about when it comes to the respective merits of organic and regular tea.
Let’s take a look at the situation and see if there is a difference when it comes to drinking organic tea.
Defining Organic Tea
Organic tea is defined as a tea that has not come into contact with any chemicals or pesticides during the entire growing and processing journey. On the packaging, the word ‘organic’ will often be stated clearly as it has proven to be a reliable selling point over the years.
Chemicals that traditional tea frequently encounters include:
- Chemical fertilizers
And that’s just to name a few. There are many possible preservatives. It’s also worth considering that tea bags and even boxes can be bleached or contain plastic. In this way, the tea product can’t be considered fully organic.
Bleached tea bags and boxes are sometimes why people switch to drinking loose leaf tea. There is a smaller chance of your tea leaves coming into contact with chemical elements if they come in loose leaf packaging.
However, loose leaf tea requires a little extra effort. So instead of switching your brewing method, you might want to pick up some organic tea bags instead. Unless you are growing your own tea leaves it is very difficult to achieve a 100% organic production process.
What Is the Difference Between Organic Tea and Vegan Tea?
A common question asked is what the actual difference is between organic tea and vegan tea. People who are concerned about their carbon footprint and have other ethical questions often want to know the difference.
Simply put, there is very little difference.
In order for a product to be considered vegan, it has to be made 100% out of plant-based materials. This means a vegan doesn’t use or consume anything that is made with an animal product, and this can include anything from food to cosmetics, soaps and even clothing.
When it comes to organic tea, they are generally considered vegan-friendly because organic tea ingredients are all plants.
Where this starts to get complicated is with premixed tea products because they can include ingredients that are non-vegan friendly. Some components individuals should watch out for when looking for vegan tea include:
- Gelatin/Gelatin Products
- Casein/Milk Byproducts
So if you are on the lookout for any non-vegan ingredients in your organic tea be aware of these components. In general, most teas are safe for even the most staunchly active vegans. But if you want to be completely sure then it is best to pick up some vegan natural herbs tea.
Types of Organic Tea
When defining types of organic tea, we decided to break it down into two categories: organic herbal teas and organic non-herbal teas.
Organic Herbal Tea
Organic herbal teas come in a variety of different tastes and flavors, making it an attractive alternative to unhealthy alternative beverages.
One fun fact about herbal teas is that they technically are not true teas. That is because herbal teas do not utilize the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.
Instead, herbal teas are created by steeping a variety of different dried herbs, spices, flowers, and even fruits. This allows for a great deal of experimentation with different infusions. A die-hard tea obsessive may consider it sacrilege but organic herbal teas can be a great starting place for tea lovers.
The sky is indeed the limit for those who choose to use organic loose leaf teas because they can mix and match any number of ingredients to create a unique flavor. However, there are a variety of different pre-mixed blends on the market, ensuring tea enthusiasts have something to suit their needs. There is room for experimentation when it comes to organic herbal tea that means each cup of tea can be different.
Organic Non-Herbal Tea
Organic non-herbal teas are considered “real tea” by tea enthusiasts because they come from the Camellia sinensis plant. Their origins are true and ancient. Unlike organic herbal tea, organic non-herbal tea comes in only four varieties:
- Green Tea
- Black Tea
- White Tea
- Oolong Tea
These organic teas may seem rather bland when compared to the possibilities with herbal teas. However, they have enormous health benefits that draw consumers to them. There is also plenty of depth and flavor in the original teas that are particularly apparent if you have any organic blends. It is easy to procure organic non-herbal tea and most tea shops will have several options on offer.
Herbal Tea vs Green Tea
It’s worth saying here, as many people think they’re the same, green tea is not herbal tea. As above, green tea is a “real” or “true tea”, while herbal is any other infusion.
Green tea is light in flavor and usually drunk without milk, so it can appear to disguise itself as a herbal infusion or tisane.
Some people are even confused by the color and assumed that is must be some sort of herbal brew. In fact, green tea has origins as far back as the standard black and white tea. It is still one of the most popular teas in the world because of its pleasant flavor, aroma and health components.
When it comes to herbal tea vs green tea, it’s mainly down to preference, you can, of course, enjoy both. Green tea is believed to have health benefits such as mood-boosting, improved brain function and antioxidant properties. It’s also very popular for those on weight-loss diets.
However, some herbal teas can contain potentially helpful substances too, such as sedative valerian or soothing chamomile. Different teas get their moment in the spotlight in terms of benefits; a lot of it is down to trends.
Some teas are easier to market than others. Indeed, some teas are seasonal and experience a rise in popularity during fall and winter. It is always a good idea to be cautious about marketing ploys. Tea is a great hot beverage but being herbal or green will not make your tea a miracle worker!
In general, as long as it’s safe for you, most teas are healthy and contain some benefit as long as you don’t add sugar and sweeteners. They’re certainly better for you than sodas and shakes.
Organic Loose Leaf Tea vs. Organic Pre-bagged Tea
Finally, when it comes to choosing a type of organic tea, consumers have the choice between organic loose leaf tea and pre-bagged/packaged tea. This choice often comes down to personal preference and how interested you are in the tea making process.
While organic tea bags and packaged teas are more convenient to brew, and in some cases cheaper, consumers must be more vigilant of what is on the ingredients list. This includes what type of packaging the company uses and places the tea in because not all materials equally created.
When it comes down to these premade blends, make sure you verify that it is indeed organic. Consumers can do this by checking for the USDA Certified Organic certification. On most packaging, this can be identified by word or with the black and white (sometimes green and white) logo that says, “USDA Organic.”
Another thing about organic tea bags is that the trade for the ease is that you can’t be as creative. If you’re a tea lover who’s into making their own blends, you might find you’re more suited to organic loose leaf tea.
The same can be said when purchasing your standard loose leaf tea. You can learn so much about tea by brewing with organic loose leaf ingredients. Over time you will learn which ingredients blend well to make a satisfying cup and which ingredients should never be mixed in tea.
Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of brewing and drinking organic tea.
4 Benefits of Organic Tea
Sure, some consumers prefer one type of tea over another, and whether it be herbal or non-herbal, there are benefits of drinking organic tea. It is important to be aware of the tea leaves health during the production process. Organic tea is supposed to take care of the tea so that you can receive an authentic and untainted experience.
The benefits of organic tea will vary depending on what teas the individual chooses and what other ingredients may pick out for each blend. During our research, we came across a variety of different benefits of drinking organic tea, and we have listed our top four below.
1. Weight Loss & Management
One of the most searched tea benefits is organic tea for weight loss. So that’s where our research started, and we weren’t disappointed.
When it comes down to organic tea for weight loss, non-herbal teas, especially green tea, rank the highest. This is because green tea is made up of high amounts of catechins. These are naturally offering antioxidants that are said to help boost a user’s metabolism and increase fat burning.
If you are looking to manage your weight and remain healthy you can incorporate 3-5 cups of organic tea into your daily routine. To maximize the effectiveness of organic tea it should be drunk during and just after mealtimes.
2. Settling Upset Stomachs
Herbal teas, such as ginger tea and peppermint tea are especially popular because they are known to help with not only upset stomachs but general nausea and other gastrointestinal issues.
Ginger tea is especially popular because of its ability to help with these issues thanks to its active component, gingerols. This component is said to help alleviate nausea brought on from motion and morning sickness, along with nausea brought on by medical treatments.
A hot drink is usually a good way to deal with an upset stomach. As well as being warm, organic ginger tea also has active components that will help to fight off nausea and gastrointestinal issues.
3. Boost Mental Alertness & Energy
True teas, such as black tea, is known to help improve energy levels and even boost mental alertness. Tea is usually a gentler way of boosting energy than coffee. The caffeine element in black tea is not as strong as coffee so the peaks and troughs are not as intense.
Black tea is an excellent option for this because it has a very high caffeine content. Brewed black tea can have anywhere between 25 and 48 mg of caffeine per 8 oz. glass. When compared with brewed green tea, for the same 8 oz. glass, green tea generally contains between 25 and 29 mg of caffeine.
So if you don’t want to mess with coffee try some true teas, such as black tea, to boost your energy and mental alertness.
4. Promotes Relaxation & Improved Mood
Herbal teas such as chamomile and sage help to not only relax the body but the mind as well. There are many soothing and tranquil properties to these types of tea.
Chamomile tea is known to help relax individuals and in turn, treat conditions such as insomnia and aid in stress relief. Some teas have also been known to lessen anxiety and allow drinkers to think more clearly. Obviously, the effects vary from individual to individual.
Sage, on the other hand, is known to help elevate a user’s mood and even help with overall mental function. Often these teas are able to promote relaxation and improve mood if they are consumed in moderation. Too much organic tea will make you jittery whatever the flavor.
5 of the Best Organic Tea Brands
When it comes down to the best organic tea brands, there are many excellent and well-known brands currently on the market.
Those that made our top 5 list have proven to not only be a favorite amongst consumers but are also organic.
Numi tea has been around since 1999 and states that they are committed to sourcing only the “highest quality organic, non-GMO teas.”
They are not only non-GMO certified but also fair trade certified and certified USDA organic.
The “organic full-leaf quality teas come in convenient tea bags for the perfect brewing every time”. Numi tea bags are made from natural biodegradable filter-paper, not corn-based or plastic. This means that you can really feel all-natural, even if you use bags. They’ll break down in the garbage and won’t leave any waste.
“Numi is a labor of love by a brother and sister. She is the artist and he is the alchemist behind all of Numi’s blends. Their exceptional-tasting teas are captured in unique blends that use the highest quality organic, non-GMO ingredients sourced directly from Fair Trade Certified gardens. Numi combines premium full-leaf quality teas and herbs with only 100% real fruits, flowers, and spices.”
Rating: 4.7/5 Stars (Read Reviews)
Since 1972, Stash Tea has vowed only to bring the best to its customers, and that’s what they’ve done. This brand is not only focusing its attention on being consumer friends but environmentally friendly as well.
Stash tea is non-GMO certified, and many of their teas are certified USDA organic as well. The tea bags “are packaged in stay-fresh foil wrappers to keep your tea fresh, from morning chai to bedtime chamomile.”
They are particularly proud of their peppermint tea. Their “dedicated Pacific Northwest mint farmers use their decades of specialized expertise to bring you the finest, most flavorful, carefully cultivated Stash Mint Teas.” So you know that they take pride in the production of their organic tea.
Rating: 4.6/5 Stars (Read Reviews)
Paromi tea is known for selling whole and loose leaf tea. The company states that they carefully select each ingredient and then “meticulously combine them” in small batches that are then packaged in glass jars to retain the integrity and freshness of the leaves.
“Paromi Teas are made with the whole tea leaf so they don’t lose the healing benefits and complex, nuanced flavors and aromas of the whole leaf.” More so than the average organic tea producer Paromi seemed committed to flavor. If you prize great flavor over anything else in your tea then Paromi tea might be for you.
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars (Read Reviews)
Our penultimate choice is an important one for many. Tea lovers all over the world consider sleepytime tea an essential. Its range of herbs and flowers are believed to have mild sedative effects as part of a bedtime routine. This variety has a sweet vanilla twist.
Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime vanilla tea is made up of organic tea bags, with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. It’s also naturally caffeine-free.
If you are looking for a tea to drink before bedtime Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea might be the one for you. While it is not proven to have the same sleepy effect on everyone they are a great organic alternative for tea lovers.
Rating: 4.6/5 Stars (Read Reviews)
Our final choice is one we think you will really enjoy. Touch Organic teas are from organic tea gardens in Zhejiang, PRC (southeast China). They offer a variety of quality organic bagged teas as well as a wide selection of organic matcha teas.
It is clear they are focussed on producing organic tea through traditional methods. Their tea honors the process of organic production as well as getting great flavor into each tea bag.
“Premium organic green tea is harvested by our proud farmers in Southeastern China and is meticulously prepared and packaged at our organic facilities. Rich in antioxidants, this tea is recognized for its emerald green color, fresh aroma, and mild sweet taste.”
Rating: 4.6/5 Stars (Read Reviews)
See Also: Leaves and Flowers Tea
Organic Tea Comes in Many Varieties with Different Benefits
When it comes down to it, organic tea comes in so many different varieties that consumers are sure to find one that they can add to their daily routine. They will also enjoy the many benefits that come with their chosen tea.
The great thing about the variety on offer today is that there’s something for everyone. Whether you like the convenience of bags, the freshness of loose or blending your own – there’s something for everyone. You might even like to do all three. Whatever you do, go ahead and enjoy!
Do you have an organic tea brand you prefer? If so, let us know in the comments below!
Do you have an organic tea brand you prefer?
Share with us in the comments below!