The Facts of Tea
In the following section I have attempted to give you the key points regarding the facts of tea – you’ll be glad to know it’s all good news though!
Tea is not adulterated in any way – at no point in the manufacturing process is anything added. The tea that you drink is quite simply just dried leaves and therefore totally natural.
Traditionally, tea was drunk in China for it’s health properties as a herbal remedy and modern science has provided us with the facts to back up these ancient theories. We now know that tea is a rich source of antioxidants that can reduce the damaging effects of free-radicals which can cause cancer and heart disease to name but a few.
Although tea naturally contains caffeine, recent studies have shown that the quantity found in tea is not significant enough to have any harmful effect on the body – but common sense suggests you shouldn’t take this to mean you can drink 50 cups a day without the caffeine effecting you!
Commercially grown tea is not genetically modified (GM). Tea is commonly cloned in nurseries to produce the best crops, but this is purely a method of natural selection whereby shoots from strong bushes are grafted to cuttings from bushes with other strong character traits.
As with any other plant, tea can be affected by pests and weeds. As a result, some tea growing countries are forced to use small amounts of pesticides and herbicides to aid the growth of the bushes. However, the use of such materials is strictly controlled and any tea that enters the EU, Australia, US or Canada cannot have more than the maximum residual levels set by law. There are of course a number of certified organic estates in the world, but not in every tea growing country and they are not necessarily the best quality – as a result, only a small proportion of the teas I use for Blends For Friends are organic.
It is a common misconception that the tea put into tea bags is the sweepings from the floor. However, this is quite simply untrue – often the smaller leaf grades used for tea bags fetch a premium over the larger grades in auction. What is true is that different sizes and shapes of tea from the same estate will have different characteristics based on the speed in which they infuse in the cup. However, I personally believe there is more opportunity to create fantastic blends with loose leaf tea as there is far greater variation in size, shape and flavour characteristics than the limited grades of tea that can fit into the average tea bag.
Tea contains no fat or carbohydrate and recent studies have confirmed that it can count towards your daily intake of liquids – so there’s no reason not to drink more of it!
Although drunk in the same manner as tea, strictly speaking herbal infusions are not actually tea. However, the majority of herbs used in infusions are picked, dried, blended and packed in exactly the same way as tea. Like tea, herbs have been used for centuries for there health giving properties – you can be sure that for every ailment there is somewhere in the world where a herb that’s used to treat it.
The ethical sourcing of tea is taken very seriously within the trade and blendsforfriends is no exception. As the majority of tea estates are not only located in rural parts of the world, but also very labour intensive, a tea estate is run more like a small settlement. As with any village or small town, the infrastructure must be such that the population is supported which means schools, housing, transport, hospitals, crèches, electricity, running water and social activities must all be provided. The tea estate itself will usually provide all these services either free of charge or heavily subsidised to ensure the workforce is at the very minimum, supported to the levels required by local laws.
If you have any further questions regarding tea or herbal infusions then please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.