One of our favorite producers, Mr. Lin, has recently acquired a new farming area in Anxi, and plans to devote 30 years to creating the best biodynamic farm in his region. His new property, a large mountain by his existing farm, boasts the perfect confluence of factors for growing great tea. It is an enormous mountain after all- at 948 meters elevation, perfect conditions include the best water in the province and constant winds.
Mr. Lin has long been our go-to producer for USDA, EU, and JAS certified Organic High Mountain Oolongs, and is no stranger to organic farming methods. We’re often asked why more of our teas do not carry organic designations, as the prevailing opinion in the Western world is that “organic” is the end all, be all indicator of quality. Unfortunately, the cost of acquiring USDA certification is quite high, and would make many of the teas we carry prohibitively expensive, considering many of the producers do not export much of their tea directly to the US to begin with. Teas that undergo organic certification are typically farmed at lower elevations and processed with machines to offset costs, meaning a poor end product for the consumer. Instead of looking for organic certifications (and ultimately lower quality tea), we curate from the most skilled farmers and producers who know that great tea can only be produced in natural, high elevation locations with the appropriate biodiversity to ensure natural pest control and fertilization.
Traditional high mountain farms depend on a symbiotic relationship between tea plants, other vegetation, insect and animal inhabitants, water systems, wind, and careful tending by their farmers to create great tea. This biodynamic cultivation is technically ‘organic’ by definition, eschewing the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides in favor of natural manure, insects, constant winds, and pure water. Traditional tea farmers have been keeping it organic since before the phrase was entangled in government certifications or cheap marketing ploys, and so we keep our focus on buying the best tea, grown in the most pristine environments, with the cleanest air, water, and soil available, from producers we know and trust.