organic (adjective):
of, relating to, yielding, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides
inorganic (adjective):
being or composed of matter other than plant or animal - not arising from natural growth: artificial; also: lacking structure, character, or vitality

(all above from Merriam-Webster)

River scene Tengchong

The disruption and destruction of this beautiful world seem to be grounded in the human mind. I say "seem to be" to honor the notion that the human mind, being a part of this beautiful world, can't be negated. It seems apparent that no other creature on this great earth has the decision-making capacity to strip away the natural order to such calamitous ends.

In the realm of tea we look at the natural order and our placement in it to make right-minded decisions about planting, growing, harvesting, processing, storing, and using these wonderful gifts that the tea plant offers. Now, there will inevitably be many different ideas about what "right-minded" decisions are and how to implement them.

David Wright picking tea, February 2008, Xishuangbanna

This said, I personally look at this as some Native American people portray it - the notion that what we do right now should be thought of as directly affecting seven generations of coming generations. I believe that they stop at seven because... how high do we want to count? But, the gist is that the pebble thrown creates many effective ripples in the pond.

These days, organic foods and other organic products are trending in the marketplace. People are starting to wake up to the realization that what we thought were brilliant inventions in the realms of agriculture are actually toxic, and stripping down our bodies' and the planet's natural balance. Too much ingenuity, too fast - without seeing potential outcomes.

These toxins begin as ideas in our minds of how to trump mother nature's perfect plan, and they manifest as seemingly-revolutionary inventions which we try to integrate into an already perfect system (i.e. nature). Revolutionary ideas are usually the tide-turnings which lead to new nations, religions, political systems, etc.  

Competition Pu-erh brewing, Kunming

In this case we have the Industrial Revolution to examine.

It is a common human tendency to work on inventions that will "save time". Well, maybe in another discussion it will be pondered, this idea that one could even do such a thing as "save time." For now, lets just say that the blind rush to convenience is such a high-held ideal that it's pushing our planetary balance to the limit.

How do we take a high-held ideal and reveal it for what it is to those who don't see its downside? Well, each individual can only come to their true knowing in their own time.

Living by example is the (admittedly, cliché) answer to this question.

When we began our business, we were already at least a decade into eating by organic standards so our motto immediately became "not organic, not for us." The offerings on the market for certified organic tea at that time were less than minimal, compared to now, so we started investigating the nature of tea growing - i.e. what went into it, and how.

Tengchong Mountain tea garden

What we found was that tea-producing nations, especially China, have copious amounts of "organic" tea because a lot of the farmers had the generational wisdom of balance and harmony with nature. Additionally they weren't interested in the Western invention-driven attitude of "more and faster is better." Also, honestly, many couldn't afford the cost of the new chemicals and, by default, had preserved their land, making them available to now be showcased as "organic" farms.

For those of you not quite sure what the big deal is with the organic issue, it's simple.

Basically, in a very short amount of time we have been able to witness the birth of countless studies on human bodies, animals, and the world of plants and soil (not to mention air and water!) that conclude that chemical fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides have long lasting, potentially fatal impact on our bodies and environment.

Casualties mount as people very slowly sign onto the reality that: A) we are endangering ourselves and our future generations, B) corporations are making a lot of money off of this suffering, and the clincher C) we can totally get by without these unnecessary ingredients in our mix.

So, back to tea. Be aware that some claim organic when they're not, some employ poor labor practices while labeled organic, some are organic but use machines to harvest or process their teas… actually, the list goes on. It all depends on what you want to be supporting - for yourself and the world you live in.

As in Part One of this discussion, I firmly stand on the principle that you are your only true knowing. It's great to love and trust a brand, company, or local merchant. But to be able to, in one sniff, detect a chemical fertilizer; in one taste, to know a pesticide was used - this is reclaiming your natural birthright.

Training oneself to be sensitive in this way does take time and concentrated effort but it's no magic, nothing supernatural. Its natural - and at that point no false claims can get the better of you.

Thanks for your time,