He was working in his conventional tea garden in the country’s northeastern region, spraying the plants with typical chemical pesticides, when some spilled on a labourer’s shirt. Yet within minutes of rinsing the shirt off in the nearby pond, dead fish rose to the water’s surface. At that moment, Tenzing realized how his tea production was affecting his community’s water table.
He is now converting a conventional garden into an organic one, and has since started a strictly organic virgin tea plantation as well.
This is just one of the amazing stories we learned while recently talking tea with our partners at Level Ground Trading in Victoria, B.C. Not only did we learn that organically grown tea promotes well-being for those who drink it in Canada, but organic, fair trade tea is integral to the health and welfare of those who plant, prune, pluck and produce it in Assam.
Level Ground only purchases tea from small, one- to three-acre tea gardens that have converted to organic growing methods. Each year, staff visit the gardens to check in, collaborate and offer fair trade premiums, which go toward practical needs such as new roofs, sewing machines, cattle, or even bicycles for labourers. In one case, a woman is saving her premiums to buy a piece of land. She will be the first in her family to be a landowner.
“To distribute the premiums, we sit down with the labourers and the garden owner in an open meeting. Each labourer states what they would like their fair trade premium to go toward. The garden owner is tasked with the job of making the purchases and delivering the items to each labourer,” says Level Ground’s Patricia Pearson. “This very public format of distributing premiums has offered full transparency and has had the additional benefit of connecting the garden owner to the labourers’ well-being in a really positive way.”
Do the brew
While wellness and new beginnings start in each cup of fair trade, organic tea, so does flavour. Here’s what you need to know to brew the perfect cup of green or black tea:
Not only can you reuse green tea leaves, it’s actually preferable. The first pot will taste brisk and crisp. The second rinse will create a rounder, fuller flavour. By the time green tea receives a third rinse, the leaves have fully opened and you’ll notice a floral sweetness that wasn’t there before. Level Ground green tea can be steeped with water that has reached a full boil.
Black tea, which has been left to oxidize, should only be used once and should be steeped using boiling water. It stands up well to milk and sugar.
|Lotus Flower Infuser Cup||Level Ground Green Tea|