If you’re looking to buy a quality wulong tea you may be wondering if you should buy organic oolong tea or conventional oolong tea. Or maybe you’re just wondering what the difference is between the two.
What Is Organic Oolong Tea?
Simply stated organic tea is tea that is grown without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. But organic generally means more than that. It also typically says something about the way the soil is managed and how the plants are cared for.
Tea plants can live to be over a hundred years old. To make sure the plants remain healthy and produce tea leaves during their life span nutrients need to be added to the soil.
Conventional tea farmers add these nutrients by spraying or applying chemical fertilizers. But these types of fertilizers can have some negative consequences including increasing nitrate levels in groundwater, decreasing the soil structure potentially leading to erosion, and over-application which can burn the leaves on the plants.
Organic tea farmers add these nutrients using things like rich compost, plant cuttings and a layer of mulch. These natural fertilizers are slowly broken down by microbes in the soil allowing the nutrients to feed the tea plants over a period of time. The mulch can also help retain moisture during this process.
Why Buy Organic Oolong Tea?
There are a few good reasons to buy organic oolong tea. If you buy organic produce because you don’t want the chemical residue on your food you would also want to buy organic tea. Especially since you can’t wash the residue off of the tea leaves, and you will be brewing tea leaves in hot water possibly releasing the residue.
Organic farming practices have a much smaller environmental footprint and it also creates a healthier environment for the workers. Organic tea farming takes more time and work but this extra care shows in the plants and the tea leaves they produce. This leads to one of the main reasons tea lovers may opt for organic teas.
The reason that may be the most convincing to some is that organic teas are often superior quality teas. Competitions in heavy tea producing regions — like China, Japan and India — continually rank organic teas as some of the best in class. So if you are looking for a quality wulong tea you may consider buying an organic oolong tea.
If you’re drinking tea more for health reasons than for taste you will also want to go organic. Organic teas tend to have higher levels of catechins and polyphenols. These are the compounds in tea that provide the many health benefits associated with drinking tea.
How To Know If The Tea Is Truly Organic Tea
If you want to be sure the tea you are buying is actually organic tea look for a label or organic certification. There are certain agencies that will certify products that are organic, agencies like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). These agencies make sure specific growing procedures are followed to meet the guidelines to qualify a product as organic.
Where To Buy Organic Oolong Tea
Finding organic tea isn’t too difficult these days; you can find it at most supermarkets, but there will be a limited choice of course. But to find a good organic oolong tea, like an organic formosa oolong or a wu yi oolong, you will probably need to go to a specialty tea shop, a natural food store or shop online.
There are a number of reputable online tea shops or tea importers that sell a variety of organic teas, including organic oolong tea. Some sites will post their organic certificates or explain their philosophy on organic teas.