Organic Darjeeling

I may have told some of you I’d planned to take a road trip last weekend to Chicago and hunt for a special tea house to review for my blog’s first birthday. So, after watching a moving traumatizing documentary last week on the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (Food Chain$: The Revolution in America’s Fields), I felt the need to slightly alter those plans and instead do something a little more environmentally and social judiciously intelligent/in keeping with my avowed politics. Instead, I stayed home (spent the money on handmade fashions; i never said i was fiscally intelligent xD) and decided to celebrate by purchasing and reviewing only Fair Trade tea this week.

I believe I have tried Equal Exchange tea before, but it has been a while (i don’t usually gravitate to bagged tea). Actually, it’s also been quite a while since I had Darjeeling. When it comes to bagged Black, it’s hard to go wrong with Darjeeling. I especially like Equal Exchange’s version as “USDA Organic Darjeeling” is seriously the only ingredient. No added bergamot. In scent, the organic tea yields a duller aroma, but it’s definitely recognizable as Darjeeling. Additionally, the taste is perhaps a bit duller than varieties raised with pesticides and herbicides, but it does manage to convey a goodly amount of soothing, bitter Indian Black. Similar, not much to write home about on the texture front: Darjeeling isn’t known for being overly complex. In reality, if it weren’t for Equal Exchange’s practices and quality, this tea probably wouldn’t necessitate a review blog. However, I’d like to note that the carton is printed on 100% recycled paperboard with a minimum of 35% post-consumer content, and printed using soy-based inks. Also, after reading the explanatory panel, I was kind of sold:

Equal Exchange has been working with Tea Promoters of India since 1998. TPI led by Binod Mohan, has done groundbreaking work in fair trade, organic and biodynamic tea. The TPI team consistently thinks outside the box in an effort to increase market access for small farmers and create non-plantation alternatives. The organization’s culture of innovation is always inspiring–it constantly challenges us to keep building new models and take risks. The tea you are drinking comes form the Mineral Springs Co-op in Darjeeling. When you purchase Equal Exchange tea, you are supporting our fair trade co-op and the vital development work of TPI and small farmer co-ops. Enjoy this tea, keep asking questions and spread the word.



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