Tea picker in the Yen Bai region of Northern Vietnam, harvesting leaves from wild, native tea trees in the mountains.

Why Canton tea is beyond organic

The phrase ‘organic’ is used a lot these days. In essence, the motivation for a brand to include this qualification on a product is good but, often, it means that as consumers, we engage no further in the reality of a product’s supply chain and assume everything is perfect.

For us at Canton, our motivation has always been to tread the unworn path to discover the most delicious teas in the world. Some of our teas are certified organic. Many of our herbal infusions are organic and the ingredients in our Wellness Blends are organic – but as we decided not to be certified, we can’t label them organic. Our entire tea offering as a whole is not certified organic for good reason. We are less interested in chasing the certifications that would allow us to sell our products under the organic banner because it means you would lose out on flavour.

To be restricted to organic teas makes no sense for Canton. The pursuit of flavour was the mission of our tea adventure from day one, and this will never change. Some organic teas may be good, but the best, the finest, the most subtly nuanced teas are found on small traditional farms that rely on nature not chemicals. By this definition, our teas are beyond organic.

Many of the small tea farmers we partner with produce, slow-grown tea in the traditional way, without using chemicals. Organic certification is very expensive and is also unnecessary. Their tea is in great demand and they quickly sell out their entire harvest. 

As far as today’s definitions are concerned, many of these producers are growing tea organically, some are even looking to biodynamic growing principles, without pesticides and referring to traditional methods. The teas they produce are some of the best in the world.

Some of our other tea producers, specifically based in Vietnam and Laos, look to agroforestry methods to grow their tea. This doesn’t mean that land is cleared to make way for tea. Instead, other plants or trees are grown amongst the ancient tea trees, which help promote biodiversity, reduce erosion and minimise the need for pesticides.

These are the production methods and values that Canton made the conscious decision to champion. We’re much more interested finding the teas with the great provenance stories than opting for ones teas that tick the ‘organic’ box.

It’s also worth noting that we make sure all our teas go through a rigorous testing programme so you can be assured that the teas really are untainted and just as nature intended.

Enjoy some of our beyond organic tea at home, buy it here.

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