Seth Goldman knows a lot about tea. I had the good fortune of hearing the TeaEO of Honest Tea speak at an event at The Aspen Institute in Washington last week. I drink about five to eight cups of tea each day and am conscientious about eating organic foods whenever possible, and I was shocked when he explained why we should only drink organic tea. In his experience of visiting the tea gardens and understanding the tea trade, he learned that if pesticides or other chemicals are used or sprayed on tealeaves, those chemicals are never washed off at any point in the picking, exporting, inspection or importing process. The pesticides generally stay on the tealeaves until we pour hot water on them to makes ourselves a pot to drink. Come to think of it, as shocking as this was, I’m even more shocked that something so basic was never on my radar to begin with.
When choosing loose leaf or wrapped tea, always choose organic. This is one case where rinsing or washing off toxins won't be possible.