Q: Please do not wonder, that organic teas are sometimes cheaper than non-organic ones.
Concerning the first question about organic or non-organic, as I have tried to explain in the lesson that there are different standards for organic. In Europe, normally organic means Zero pesticide tolerance from the laboratory’s analysis based on the EU pesticide standards. But when you visit the growing sites in the world, sometimes you find they are using organic fertilizer and government approved pesticide and claim it as “green” or ” organic” products. Indeed there are different organizations issue organic certificate but are their standards same as the EU standards? Also the organic label costs a lot of money that is not all small growers can afford. Another thing we should establish a clear understanding is once the soil has been contaminated by over fertilized or pesticide then it will takes years of control and transformation.
In Europe we have very strict standards for organic definition, but we do have to understand and question why the pesticide list has grown from 500 to nearly 600 in the last two years and I will not surprise if the list continues to extend in the future. So, this is by laws, but what is the reality in the market? This is often very confusing even in the organic shops, not all products sold in the organic shop(s) are pesticide free organic.
The hand-picked and being processed well tea are always more expensive than machine-picked or lower quality tea. Why? It’s simple, because of limited of quantity. With this kind of quality tea we can’t evaluate it based on price but we need to learn to appreciate its value.
Q: Not for all teas organic is also a quality sign. Especially teas from China are reaching the best prices in conventional form.
Of course the lower grades of organic tea can be cheaper than hand-picked non-organic tea. So it does not make sense to compare price unless one puts the same quality grade in the comparison scale.
Can’t give yes or no answer to the 2nd question – not all organic tea is also a quality sign because the quality is more related to how the production processes are being managed; indeed organic tea has less sexy flavor from the dried leaf, but the taste will tell when one is able to listen
Q: Growers have the possibility to grow better and more special teas if they are not organic.
Indeed there are more teas are turning back to the traditional processes, flavor and taste. Tie Guan Yin and Dong Ding for example. Again as I have explained in the lesson that Chinese people before us must had tried various methods that they eventually identified the right production processes for a reason.
When they give up the old traditions and try to follow the ‘market fashion’, basically they respect more about $$$ but not on tea itself. Sometime ‘work efficiency’ and ‘cost down’ or ‘diversity marketing’ does not always mean advancing improvement.
Even in China there are many young people are so much related to the old traditions and they need to learn more about tea. The influence from the American fast food culture, media and fast changes are threatening the old traditions. Luckily there are many people start to realize this and try to preserve and promote the old.
As to the 3rd question, I would rather say growers have the possibility to grow better and produce more special tea if they learnt to respect and protect the natural balance and traditional wisdom and method in tea production
Q: For Darjeeling or herbs and fruit you can say organic is better than non-organic.
For me, the answer for this question is easy – agricultural products that grow in a natural harmony environment and not using pesticide are always better than pesticide. Not just for herbs or fruits but also tea, it does not matter where these are, Darjeeling or nont Darjeeling.