Republic of Tea: Organic, Fair Trade and More


Is there anything nicer than sitting down with a steaming cup of quality tea, the therapeutic relaxation as you inhale the aroma and exhale your stress? Science can explain the health benefits in terms of antioxidants, but how do you explain the purification of the soul? (And lest you question the connection between soul and tea-drinking I encourange you to collect your own empirical evidence.) Well, one thing nicer: sharing it with a friend. So I thank you, kind reader of Treehugger, for allowing me to share with you a nice cup of tea.You have probably seen the colorful tins from the Republic of Tea at a bookstore or coffee shop in your daily wanderings. But have you suppressed that instinctive order for a latte grande in favor of tasting a tea? Order a Wild Blueberry black tea, with a taste so natural that you would not be suprised to see mud from the marshes tracking out of the kitchen.

A large number (although not all) of the teas on offer are organic or fair trade certified. And you will be happy to note that you can make your choice in favor of the more sustainable option without paying a premium, either by the cup or the package. Should your interests lie in supporting causes closer to home, select a "Sip for the Cure" Pink flavor, and a donation of 75 US cents for each package of tea sold is made to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. There is also an interesting blueberry infused green tea known as Man Kind tea, with donation to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

In addition to supporting causes local to producer and/or consumers, the Republic of Tea encourages the use of tea bags (unbleached) only in the desparate occasion when your teapot is not at hand. Although both tea bags and leaf tea can be purchased in tins, the company prompts consumers to purchase refills--sold in bags--to minimize waste packaging as well as to benefit from the much higher quality of whole leaf tea over tea bags. And to avoid the disposal of the handy, portable foil bags common on premium bag teas, the Republic offers a small tin which can carry six bags. The Republic of Tea, which amusingly considers its retailers as "ambassadors", was founded by Mel Ziegler after he was exiled from the Banana Republic by parent company Gap.