Hi, I'm new to this forum. This topic caught my eye while searching Google for even more places to buy Green Tea... I mainly buy tea from Rishi, Stash and Teaspring.com.
Organic food is not a "fad." Scientific research shows that organically produced food is better for you, because it has more nutrients and vitamins...
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 753446.ece
On the other hand food grown with pesticides pollutes rivers, and can be harmful to locals who have to breathe that crap...
http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/ ... i/62/21396
So in the area of food I think organic agriculture wins hands down. As for teas, most of the teas I buy come from China. I believe pesticide-use isn't as widespread in China as America, especially on crops that need to be hand-picked like tea... mainly because of the costs. Therefore you could be buying "Organically Produced" teas, even when you buy tea that isn't certified organic.
I wish more tea would become organically certified, but the main problem with China is that for the same reason they don't use pesticides (cost), is the same reason they don't get certified organic (cost). It costs a lot of money to have an international organization certify your crops and make sure no pesticides are used.
That's why I like Rishi-Tea because they seem to be working directly with farmers to help pay for organic certification... which is basically a re-assurance to me that the my tea doesn't contain harmful chemicals. On the other hand, I still want to try a wide variety of green tea... so if the only option is non-organic, and I think the tea is a high-quality, I still buy it.
As for Japan, they have no excuse since they are an industrialized nation like the U.S. Every green tea I buy from Japan is organically certified. The taste of tea depends more on quality and freshness than the organic label... but in my experience organic food tastes better, so I can't imagine that if all other factors being equal, an organic tea would taste worse than a non-organic one. Buy high-quality tea from vendors you trust, whether organic or not, and you should be fine.