Tea (rec.drink.tea) Discussion relating to tea, the world's second most consumed beverage (after water), made by infusing or boiling the leaves of the tea plant (C. sinensis or close relatives) in water.

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Old 17-09-2007, 06:27 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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On Sep 17, 10:05 pm, Ankit Lochan wrote:
On Sep 16, 12:32 pm, Tea Sunrise wrote:

Since a lot of the tea we drink comes from China and Indonesia, are
you ever worried that the tea leaves were sprayed with pesticides such
as DDT or other harmful chemicals? I'd hate to think that I could
be drinking a cup full of toxins or pesticides along with my EGCG.


Is the correct move to switch to organic teas? Does anyone really
know if tea bushes are completely safe for consumption?


Any input is highly appreciated. thanks.


Organic Certificates are being sold by these certifying agencies at
diffrent price tags like - if you pay a very high fees - you are
organic within 6 months, if the amount paid is lower - 15 months, if
still lower than 24 months..... the story goes on.. bottomline is if
you have cash you can become organic real quick otherwise dont even
think or imagine getting a certificate... it just wont happen - no
matter how good you are...


Yep. Just like ISO certs for factories here in China. You pay off
the auditors, you get your ISO9000 or whatever you are going for.


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Old 17-09-2007, 10:01 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Hmm.. what a fascinating discussion you have here.

To me, it really boils down to 2 things: how young is the tea shoots?
Does your tea taste good?

As Dogma pointed out, tea plants accumulate minerals. When drinking
white tea and green tea, the best guarantee is to drink from the
youngest tea shoots - the first 10 days or so in Spring. They usually
make the highest grade. They also contain the least environmental
contaminants.

The best tea garden tends to use little pesticides. They just don't
need it. These tend to be tea gardens situated at high altitude at
sloping lands. The entire region tends to be prosperous tea growers
(in China consisted of small tea gardens), situated away from
factories and road traffics.

Their teas tend to be wholesaled at very high prices and not so
commonly available in the West. I came across a few tea gardens and
they hardly bother about organic labelling - Chinese market doesn't
care that much when it comes to these very sought-after teas.

Organic labelling per se doesn't mean much.

Use of chemicals is not a viable long term strategy for the best tea
gardens. If your tea tastes good, chances are it comes from a fertile
tea garden with the right conditions that make overuse of chemicals
unlikely.

Julian

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Old 18-09-2007, 08:48 AM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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On Sep 18, 5:01 am, juliantai wrote:
Hmm.. what a fascinating discussion you have here.

To me, it really boils down to 2 things: how young is the tea shoots?
Does your tea taste good?


I had a lot of Tie Guan Yin that tasted really good. Unfortunately,
most of those flavors are unnatural additives. The "tea shoot" thing
is mostly about green tea. What about Wulong?

The best tea garden tends to use little pesticides. They just don't
need it. These tend to be tea gardens situated at high altitude at
sloping lands. The entire region tends to be prosperous tea growers
(in China consisted of small tea gardens), situated away from
factories and road traffics.


This is the newest marketing idea in the tea trade that I fell for
myself. "It's so high on the mountain, it doesn't need chemicals" or
"the farmers are so poor, that they cannot afford pesticides" or "the
most famous tea producing areas are more concerned about the tea being
clean". It's mostly balderdash.

In China quantity = money, not quality.

Their teas tend to be wholesaled at very high prices and not so
commonly available in the West. I came across a few tea gardens and
they hardly bother about organic labelling - Chinese market doesn't
care that much when it comes to these very sought-after teas.


These teas are not only "unavailable" in the West; a great percentage
of Chinese never even SEE these teas. They are carted away for the
royality and the uber-rich. The best green teas do come from the
small countryside places. Most famous teas, like Longjing, are
guaranteed to be dirty. See above about quality vs. quantity.

Use of chemicals is not a viable long term strategy for the best tea
gardens. If your tea tastes good, chances are it comes from a fertile
tea garden with the right conditions that make overuse of chemicals
unlikely.


Most Chinese can't see in the long term and it is part of their
culture. What is acquired today can be taken away tomorrow by the CCP
or anyone else with a little power.

If your tea tastes good, it is likely it has a bunch of flavoring
added. Nai Xiang? Guo (fruit) Xiang? Tell me which plant produces
such flavors naturally.

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Old 18-09-2007, 02:50 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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In article . com,
Tea Sunrise wrote:
Since a lot of the tea we drink comes from China and Indonesia, are
you ever worried that the tea leaves were sprayed with pesticides such
as DDT or other harmful chemicals? I'd hate to think that I could
be drinking a cup full of toxins or pesticides along with my EGCG.


Chinese farming methods are all over the place, and some of them are
pretty nasty, yes.

Is the correct move to switch to organic teas? Does anyone really
know if tea bushes are completely safe for consumption?


If you drink tea from mainland China, it does not matter whether there
is an organic label on it or not; you cannot really have any idea about
pesticide contamination without actual measurement.

If this worries you, drink tea from Taiwan instead.
--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
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Old 18-09-2007, 02:55 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Mydnight wrote:

In China, there are no serious inspections to see such a thing done
and any certification can be bought with the right amount of money or
copied and printed. I had lunch with someone from the 'something
something something something department of agriculture something
something position in Guangdong' (the Chinese love their titles more
than Westerners), and he avoided all conversation on this topic.


I had a Chinese manufacturer explain to me that their reference standards
were calibrated because they had someone come around every six months and
put stickers on them.
--scott


--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."


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Old 18-09-2007, 02:58 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Melinda wrote:

This brings up something I've been meaning to ask the group...if I wanted to
take a sample of tea from my cupboard and get it analyzed for pesticides
etc., how would I go aobut doing that? I imagine a lab, but what kind, how
would I find one, and would they do such a thing for a member of the general
public?


Here in Virginia, the agricultural extension service has access to a lab
at Virginia Tech that can do pesticide assays for very low prices.

Your extension service may have something similar.

Some commercial labs include http://www.wcaslab.com and
http://www.emalab.com. I have not used either, though.
--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
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Old 18-09-2007, 03:37 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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If this worries you, drink tea from Taiwan instead.

Drink tea from Taiwan instead? It's got to be just as polluted as the
stuff from the Mainland. You can see Taiwan from Xiamen. It's just a
stone's throw away. Same in Fuzhou. Remember, pollution knows no
boundaries. What and drift in on the wind, can go anywhere. Just
because it's from Taiwan doesn't necessarily mean it will be better.

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Old 18-09-2007, 04:00 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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Drink tea from Taiwan instead? It's got to be just as polluted as the
stuff from the Mainland. You can see Taiwan from Xiamen. It's just a
stone's throw away. Same in Fuzhou. Remember, pollution knows no
boundaries. What and drift in on the wind, can go anywhere. Just
because it's from Taiwan doesn't necessarily mean it will be better.


Xiamen is a festering cesspool under a tourist-friendly guise; Fuzhou
is just as filthy. Taiwan has had some friendly dealings with the US
and Western countries for a while and for the most part understands
the concept of quality over quantity. Mainland China, still for the
most part suffering from the Imperial mindset of mine-mine-mine-now-
now-now-before-its-taken-away-from-me, only cares for profit.

I would be willing to bet all the money in my savings account, which
ain't much, folks, that any random sample of tea from Taizhong (where
most wulong is produced in Taiwan), a relatively mountainous, clean
place, would have a better sanitary rating than ANY TEA, INCLUDING THE
HIGHEST GRADE, from Fujian AnXi (where Tieguan, the most famous tea
from Fujian) is produced. I'd also be willing to bet that the Rock
teas from WuYi Mountain would have the same rating of pollution as in
Anxi.

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Old 18-09-2007, 05:06 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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On Sep 18, 9:58 am, (Scott Dorsey) wrote:
Melinda wrote:

This brings up something I've been meaning to ask the group...if I wanted to
take a sample of tea from my cupboard and get it analyzed for pesticides
etc., how would I go aobut doing that? I imagine a lab, but what kind, how
would I find one, and would they do such a thing for a member of the general
public?


Here in Virginia, the agricultural extension service has access to a lab
at Virginia Tech that can do pesticide assays for very low prices.

Your extension service may have something similar.

Some commercial labs includehttp://www.wcaslab.comandhttp://www.emalab.com. I have not used either, though.
--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."


Do you have the contact info for having a pesticide assay done at
Virgina Tech? I couldn't find this service on their website.
Thanks.

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Old 18-09-2007, 05:08 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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On Sep 18, 10:37 am, niisonge wrote:
If this worries you, drink tea from Taiwan instead.


Drink tea from Taiwan instead? It's got to be just as polluted as the
stuff from the Mainland. You can see Taiwan from Xiamen. It's just a
stone's throw away. Same in Fuzhou. Remember, pollution knows no
boundaries. What and drift in on the wind, can go anywhere. Just
because it's from Taiwan doesn't necessarily mean it will be better.


You can see Taiwan from Xiamen? Really? I've spent some time in
Xiamen, and I could see Jinmen, which is administered by Taiwan and
produces really good cutlery but no tea. You'd have to have really
good eyes to see Taiwan, because it's about 130 miles away. The
closest point to Taiwan, which I believe is the Gaoshan area near
Fuzhou, is about 80 miles. I know this because once upon a time I had
a crazy English friend who was planning to fly his ultralight to the
Mainland. He never did. Anyway.

In any case, I think we are talking about tea that has had pesticides
directly applied to them, and while I have not looked, I don't think
that would be hard in Taiwan. I guess I am just about 100% with
Mydnight on this point. For one thing, if something says "certified"
in Taiwan, it is much more likely to be true, and for another, I have
had teas from Taiwan (OB and Stephane Erler's guifei cha, for
instance) that were clearly chewed by insects, and I think that means
no pesticides. It is a very polluted country, sure, but in my mind
there is no question that its tea fields, many of them located very
far from any other human habitation, are less polluted than oolong
fields in Fujian.

Another point on which my mind brokes no questioning (Mydnight, this
is for you) is the natural source of the naixiang taste. The jinxuan
varietal of oolong produces this taste naturally. It is attested in
the scientific literature (of which I have read quotes in Chi
Zongxian's books) and the taste lasts through many steeps, which to me
means it is highly unlikely that it comes from something sprinkled or
sprayed on the leaves.

Alex



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Old 18-09-2007, 06:18 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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niisonge wrote:
If this worries you, drink tea from Taiwan instead.


Drink tea from Taiwan instead? It's got to be just as polluted as the
stuff from the Mainland. You can see Taiwan from Xiamen. It's just a
stone's throw away. Same in Fuzhou. Remember, pollution knows no
boundaries. What and drift in on the wind, can go anywhere. Just
because it's from Taiwan doesn't necessarily mean it will be better.


Oh, the pollution issues are still there. But the farming practices are
better-regulated at least.
--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
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Old 18-09-2007, 06:23 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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wrote:

Do you have the contact info for having a pesticide assay done at
Virgina Tech? I couldn't find this service on their website.
Thanks.


I just go to the local county extension service agent and hand him
the samples.

But you might be able to do it directly, by talking to these guys:
http://www.biochem.vt.edu/pestlab/
--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
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Old 18-09-2007, 07:59 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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heres a reply from a commercial testing lab:

---
You are looking at about

$500 for a pesticide screen,
$400 for a metals screen, and
$500 for an organics screen.
Depending on what vitamins you are looking for the cost is from $100
on up for each individual one.
--

well... that sure ruins my plans


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Old 18-09-2007, 09:54 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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On Sep 17, 2:11 am, "Melinda" wrote:
wrote in message

oups.com...



On Sep 16, 3:32 am, Tea Sunrise wrote:
Since a lot of the tea we drink comes from China and Indonesia, are
you ever worried that the tea leaves were sprayed with pesticides such
as DDT or other harmful chemicals? I'd hate to think that I could
be drinking a cup full of toxins or pesticides along with my EGCG.


Is the correct move to switch to organic teas? Does anyone really
know if tea bushes are completely safe for consumption?


Any input is highly appreciated. thanks.


I completely agree with you. I recently read a newspaper article
about a woman who became ill due to drinking green tea which was
contaminated with DDT (she drink the same tea for a couple of years -
a cheap Chinese green tea). While I agree that "going organic" is no
guarantee of avoiding toxins, I do think that going organic can help
to reduce the chance of your tea being contaminated. I recently asked
Upton Tea about how they ensure that their teas are organic - they
told me that they do test most of the organic teas from time to time
to make sure everything is ok. I also read that in 2000 the EU
introduced new standards for tea. The number of restricted chemicals
jumped from 7 to 134. From what I understand, these standards actually
require testing of the end product as opposed to merely making sure no
pesticides are used, etc. According to this China Daily article the
result of the new EU regulations was that in 2001 tea exports from
China to the EU dropped by 37%. (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/
doc/2004-04/13/content_322923.htm) (Sorry, not trying to pick on
Chinese teas.) As a result I have tried ordering some teas from the
EU. Specifically I ordered some teas from Jing Tea in the UK. (http://
jingtea.com/). The only problem is expense.


Another tea shop that actually tests every tea they sell is a German
tea company (Tea Gschwender) which has a shop in Chicago that you can
order from. I just tried something from there as well. They seem to
be slow in stocking new Chinese greens and oolongs. (http://
www.teagschwendner.com/)


I have to admit I'm still trying to figure out exactly what the US and
other organic certifications really mean. I do find the concept of
actually testing the tea easier to understand!


Good luck in you search for toxin-free tea. I'm doing the same.


This brings up something I've been meaning to ask the group...if I wanted to
take a sample of tea from my cupboard and get it analyzed for pesticides
etc., how would I go aobut doing that? I imagine a lab, but what kind, how
would I find one, and would they do such a thing for a member of the general
public?

Melinda


University of California, Davis - well-known for their agricultural
additive studies.
Not expensive, at all.
Shen

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Old 18-09-2007, 09:56 PM posted to rec.food.drink.tea
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On Sep 16, 5:12 pm, SN wrote:
On Sep 16, 6:32 pm, Refolo wrote:

Not, if you grow something organic, you do not put more pesticides in
the environment.


So, the more organic the best for all.


pesticides are organic and biodegradable


Ridiculous assumption - some pesticides are organic, some not. Some
biodegradable, some not.
Shen



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