organic vs. not organic


Made from leaves that have not been oxidized.

organic v. not labeled organic.

Postby karia » Dec 25th, '07, 10:07

ok. I work in the world of wine and have spent most of my waking hours in the past year studying all things in the production of wine. not surprisingly some things transfer well to the world of tea.

1- people sometimes have strong opinions on organic v. not labeled organic without understanding the issues.

2- when something is not labeled organic it does NOT mean that it is not organic or that it is made of 90% ddt. getting certified as organic is expensive.

3- truth is most grape growers and wine makers have a limited amount of cash, if they spend it on getting CERTIFIED organic than they are cutting corners somewhere else.

4- wine makers, grape growers and tea growers as well, who want to make the best product WILL limit the use of pesticides, sprays and preservatives in the grapes, wine and tea because these things affect their quality and can impart "off" (bad) flavors.

5- so while one guy is focused on doing everything to get that certified organic label, the other might be doing many of the same things but with a focus on making a better wine/tea. in the end the organic label one will cost more but the one without the organic label maybe all but organic, a better product AND cost less. I have seen this all the time.

there are some wine makers who maker great wine, organically but rarely is it at a good price. the same is true in tea. Rishi, despite the propaganda does make very good tea. Their masala chai is among the best on the market.

6-and yes there are millions of wines out there that are organic but would rather spend the certification fees on something that will improve the quality of the wine. Likewise, I believe the same is likely true in the world of tea. because we all know that a tea that has a strong chemical taste is a bad tea. period. and no great tea was ever made with 90% ddt. period.

7- labeled organic means only that. It is LABELED organic. and people would be surprised at what is allowed to go into things and still be labeled organic.

Truth is a lot of wine (and tea) that is labeled certified organic is crap, crap and more crap. truth is that if they spent their money, time and resources on a better product and less on a label tag, it might actually be worth 50% of what they charge for it. Likewise some of the worst teas are clearly not organic and they might not be so unforgiabley bad if they followed some organic practices (i am talking to you lipton and snapple)

In the end the point should be to be an educated consumer and understand what it is that you are buying. making a choice to buy something should be based on something other than the label, even if the label says organic.
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fair trade vs. not labeled fair trade

Postby michael » Dec 25th, '07, 12:05

If I may cloud our collective moral certainties still further, :wink: I would pose that the "fair trade" label is a more egregious candidate for a meaningless marker when applied to gourmet tea. The fair trade label is prominent in the world of coffee, where Vietnamese overproduction and concentrated buying power (just four companies - P&G, Sara Lee, Kraft and Nestle - buy 60% of world's coffee) has driven the price of arabica beans to hover around $1.23 per pound. The price paid for "fair trade" coffee? $1.26 per pound. :wink:

The subsidy of three cents is meaningless in the realm of gourmet tea, where market prices are many times higher. Demand for the product in most cases outstrips supply, placing tea growers and farmers in an enviable position of commending ever-higher prices. As consumers of tea, we should all savor the relative affordability that tea now offers. Its price is rising, and will continue to do so.

The cause of this is the growing affluence of the two-billion people (a third of the world's population) in India and China. The demand this places on the relatively static supply of tea is doing more to lift prices and enhance the lives of tea farmers than "fair trade" subsidy could ever hope to accomplish.

Without denigrating the modest benefits "fair trade" brought to the realm of coffee, I suggest we pause to consider these facts before jumping to conclude that teas labeled "fair trade" are good, all others being bad. :wink:
Last edited by michael on Dec 26th, '07, 10:08, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby skywarrior » Dec 25th, '07, 15:15

Scruff McGruff wrote:You're right, it isn't rocket science– it's biology. :) I'm not arguing with you that pesticides have the potential to be dangerous, but would you also argue that antibiotics should be avoided because they are designed to kill things (bacteria)? Food for thought...



I personally believe that too much antibiotics are used routinely in farming/ranching. I'm not talking about treating sick animals -- I'm talking about treating well animals with antibiotics as a preventative. The reason I'm against it is because of the potential of creating superbugs.

I don't know how long it takes for antibiotics to leave food animals or plants, but I suspect it can leave residue that I have no desire to ingest.

That being said, part of being a wise shopper is to know the source of the product. There are many things that are labeled organic that may or may not skid under regulations and there are many things that are not labeled organic that are. Simply put, the source is important.
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Postby Space Samurai » Dec 25th, '07, 20:14

Michael and Karia do make a good point. There is an idea that products without the labels are bad or inferior. The existance of a label can skew everything into black and white, which I imagine is something the certififiers may want.

I do not agree with them that organic = inferior, or that fair trade is not making a difference. They have their viewpoints and opinions. There are other equally valid, equally authorative ones.

I say this very politely, but Michael works for Adagio, and it does not surprise me that a company that does not carry FTC products would take such a stance as his. Just as it doesn't surprise me when companies that do are quick to tote its benefits.
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Postby karia » Dec 25th, '07, 23:29

Space Samurai wrote:Michael and Karia do make a good point. There is an idea that products without the labels are bad or inferior. The existance of a label can skew everything into black and white, which I imagine is something the certififiers may want.

I do not agree with them that organic = inferior, or that fair trade is not making a difference. They have their viewpoints and opinions. There are other equally valid, equally authorative ones.

I say this very politely, but Michael works for Adagio, and it does not surprise me that a company that does not carry FTC products would take such a stance as his. Just as it doesn't surprise me when companies that do are quick to tote its benefits.


i did not say that organic = inferior, i was saying the very opposite.
and that i was being very, very, very, very clear that organic products are not lesser.

certified organic labeling is a joke. i though i was fairly clear that certified organic on a label, is not the same as a product that actually is organic. and there is no scientific evidence that a product that is made with careful practices is any worse for the consumer than one that is labeled organic.

again my point was not that orgnic is lesser, but that it has never in wine or tea been proven to greater than a clearly made product that is not labeled organic. [/u]
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Postby Space Samurai » Dec 25th, '07, 23:33

:oops: My mistake.
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Postby karia » Dec 25th, '07, 23:52

Space Samurai wrote::oops: My mistake.


its all good. its the interwebs and that was a long post so these things happen.
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