Thursday, April 13, 2017



For some years we know, learn about and discuss a lot about label “Organic” or “BIO” I’m particularly interested in organic food and tea. Not the label but in the food that is grown with love and care which our planet deserves..
When it comes to Tea there is many new question mark mostly for western consumers of tea who cares about non harmful lifestyle..
Mengku offers nice organic labeled teas for reasonable prices
Somewhere around 2004 when I started to drink tea more seriously, there was more and more teahouses popping up in our town, we mostly believed that all tea is pure and healthy, so called Organic.  I guess our image was based on pictures hanging on the walls of those teahouses. Beautiful sceneries, misty clouds gently covering tops of the hills, beautiful virgin girl from local tribe picking fresh leaves early morning…
I don’t want to take this image from anybody! And I do wish all of you who love tea can enjoy that kind of tea from such a places.. but I also feel the need to share what reality looks like.
Here in Taiwan many farmers believe that organic tea farming it’s not possible! Some say its wasting of time or very inefficient. I also met farmer from Alishan who started to grow 10 years ago with strong determination of organic grower.. Today he say he can only grow with chemicals..  there is more reasons for that, he sad. First reason is that he grow in the high altitude.. High mountain tea so famous in last decades! In place where tea tree naturally doesn’t grow and in big overproduction high altitude tea often depend on chemical uses.

When I visited Alishan for first time in 2012 I was literally shocked! I knew people use something to spray to protect from insects, but reality was far beyond this image! I was shocked when I've seen how heavily are crops sprayed and how death and sad is all the sounding. The soil looks wasted, so do the farmers.. Big buses one after another full of tourist coming and going and everyone wants to grab few packs of this "golden" tea! Tea from seller who scream in microphone something like: "Alishan tea! Best tea in Taiwan! High Quality! Buy Now!.." and so on. Some people bought full bags.. Kilos of it! and then despaired in bus and another crowd came..  How long we think land can support such a theater ? 15 more years? 20? 30? Do we really believe that the same soil can support this for another 30 years? 
Of corse I doesn't mean there is no good pure tea in Alishan! There is!  
What I'm just trying to tell you dear tea consumer is to encourage you to be responsible in your choice! Organic tea can be good, really good! For your tongue and body, for farmers and non harmful for environment, not even a bit. That is really possible! Tea is secret plant, medicine plant. Lets stop this madness that's around for last decades. Of corse this apply in food same way! 
One way how to do this is to found an organic brand with certification, that itself its for me very valuable. The brand that spend extra money and energy to produce organically has probably wholesome motivation and it already brings many positive energy. But even if we buy organic labeled product it doesn’t always mean it really is what we think.. Maybe you know that even an organic brands have a limits to accept certain amount of chemicals and still call it organic. 
Large Leaf old tree Assam from friend Mr. Aarong, Luye
Second option is to find good trustable farmer! By recommendation from friend or if you are into travels and adventuress, as many of us tea drinkers are, you can just follow heart and the purest tea leaf will jump into you cup effortlessly. Mostly the really best teas come to me as a gift, not when I am 'hunting' for it!
Organic Hong Oolong, Luye

Love at our Garden

The third and to me most interesting is to grow your own tea. Here in Taiwan its often the final step of real tea lover. There are small organic tea growers all around the island. Often in places where most of people would not even try.. and results are often amazing. Tea plant is so adaptable! I recently heard story from teahouse owner in Taipei that some people growing tea at north of Wales! Also Azores Islands, Mississippi, and many many other unusual places.. I believe that growing and processing your own tea is the most valuable experience! Even if the harvest is just 25grams, its wort to do it!
Fact that Taiwan is an island brings a lot of awareness about organic farming since land is limited and population so dense in many cases sustainability gets more important than fast profit..  I am big optimist in question of future! Some years ago I had difficulty to find good organic tea. Sometimes when I asked in shop or farmers they start to laugh and argue about negatives of Organic..  But today up to 90 percent of tea we have at home and tea I share with my friends from all around the Europe are pure and natural! Of course sometimes there is an question like why the tea is not so pleasing or sweet like non organic high mountain tea or why my last order was so different from this one?
making Tea
Well.. imagine two apples, One is from ‘’Super Market’’ If was grown in big plantation where nothing else grows only one kind of apples. There is no grass, no insects, no birds to destroy or make them less perfect.. But apple is big with beautiful shinning skin, it has no scratch or insect mark. Its a super juicy and its sweet like from other world. But you know that this apple is full of chemicals. Poisons harmful to everything and everybody in contact with them.

Another apple grows in some small village surrounded by forest, trees are small grass is high, cicadas are super loud. Birds and animals poop is the only fertilizer.  Apple is small, it takes longer to grow, some look kind of ugly and tastes sweet-bitter. But it has the Power! It can really refers You. It can heal You. That is an apple the way nature made it! Strong! Real! Long lasting!
Which apple would you choose? And which one would you share with you family and friends ?

Wish all the best to all of You!