Pure, Soothing, Powerful Tea since 2004

Pure, Soothing, Powerful Tea since 2004


Is your Green Tea organic?


Green Tea is now everywhere–grocery stores, natural food stores, Starbucks, tea shops, restaurants, hotels, etc. Green tea is available in various configurations–tea bags, loose leaf, powder, and in a ready-to-drink bottle or can. (Note: Yes, Matcha is a type of ‘green tea’ made with steamed leaves of a botanical called Camellia Sinensis, the plant from which all Green Tea comes.)

Green Tea & Matcha: One of the Healthiest Foods

The Green Tea industry is growing rapidly as more people realize how healthy this simple tea is. This simplicity is disguising, and for quite a while, for some people, this pure liquid was too plain to feel potent. Two decades ago, when we were searching for a potent and tasty Green Tea, Matcha, one type of Green Tea, was virtually unknown here in the U.S. It was around 2008 when people started to talk about it. And most people had to learn how to even pronounce the word. At that time, Matcha lovers were a small segment of tea enthusiasts or those who were into Japanese culture. But now, about 10 years later, Matcha has become a rock star for the American public, recognized as one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

Especially now a lot of information about Matcha, both true and false, is out there, “Matcha is a type of Green Tea” might trigger a long conversation with Matcha fans. That being said, it is the fact that Green Tea is the tea made from Camellia Sinensis, and Matcha is the tea made from Camellia Sinensis. It is like tomato is fruit, not vegetable, and whale is a mammal, not fish. You can say Matcha is a type of Green Tea, even though it may sound “degrading”. (But actually, it is not the case–this is another topic by itself.) For now, I will talk about the importance of choosing “Organic” when it comes to “Green Tea”, including Matcha.

Are you drinking Green Tea, or Matcha, because it’s good for you? Do you pay attention whether it’s organic or not when you shop for Green Tea or Matcha? You may say, “I know, organic is better for you–but it’s more expensive!” Or, “I’m not a big fan of green tea flavor so I drink flavored green tea. It’s hard to find organic flavored green tea.” Or, I’ve heard someone say, “I don’t drink tea except when a free tea bag is available like at a hotel, I try it but I don’t enjoy it.” And for this, I’d say I’m glad you can tell that’s not a good tea.

I would like to advocate the importance of consciously choosing organic. We started this “tea business” because we wanted to tell everyone about how much this simple drink can do for you if you drink it every day. As a matter of fact, clinical studies are finding the more you drink, the better for you. (Please note this is not the case with extract supplements.)

We sell tea and we tout tea. We’ve seen the decision to drink a potent, good Green Tea in the best way would give you a ripple effect in your life. That was our story and how we started it. (Please check it out here if you haven’t read our story.) It was two decades ago and our children, 3 and 5 years old at that time, are now independent grown-ups. And my husband, who had cancer, is still with us.


So, Organic tea is worth the price? Would “Conventional tea” or non-organic tea offer the same benefits? Here are 5 reasons to choose Organic Green Tea.

Kagoshima Gyokuro tea garden
shaded matcha tea field
Fresh Needle Shaped Green Tea
two young leaves and a bud
The end of hard working day at an organic tea garden in Kagoshima, Japan


Conventional tea is non-organic and contaminated with toxins.

Have you wondered what “conventional tea” is? Conventional tea is the tea grown using pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers. These chemicals enable higher yields efficiently. Then why don’t they call it simply, “non-organic tea”? Isn’t the counterpart of “organic” “non-organic”? Their intention to avoid using the obvious opposite term lies in the true meaning of “convention”. So, let’s take a look at the definition of the word. According to Collins Dictionary, conventional means:

1. Someone who is conventional has behavior or opinions that are ordinary and normal.

2. conventional method or product is one that is usually used or that has been in use for a long time.

So, apparently, they would like us to think the “conventional tea” is safe because it uses a growing and processing method that has been in use for a long time. But no matter what term we choose to use, it is the fact that non-organic tea uses pesticides, herbicides, and chemical synthetic fertilizers. And there are residues on the leaves and synthetic chemicals are in the tea leaves.

I would like to share a story about when I was invited to meet tea farmers and tea businesses in Japan by JETRO, the Japan External Trade Organization, in 2015. A handful of tea merchants were invited to meet numeral Japanese tea farmers and manufacturers (probably I met 100 of them in Kagoshima and Shizuoka during the one-week tour). One of them was a big name from Kyoto, Uji, with their tea manufacturing history of over 180 years. They had just launched a new brand of their non-organic Matcha and they wanted us to carry their matcha. When I asked about the chemical residues, they admitted their Matcha contains them. Then I asked if they had children. They said yes. So, I asked if they would let their children drink their matcha. They didn’t answer. Our meeting ended there.

Would you like to drink their Matcha?

2. You cannot wash tea leaves or powder.

Despite the fast speed of scientific and technological innovations, I hear more people who suffer from chronic diseases and cancer each year. I’ve seen the argument that “eating conventional fruit and vegetables is better than not eating them at all.” And I agree with that when it comes to fruit and vegetable. You can wash well and peel the skin that exposed to toxic chemicals. But with tea, you can’t wash or toss away the most contaminated leaves. When you drink conventional tea, you are drinking all of the contaminants. It doesn’t matter how expensive it is. No matter what type–brewed tea bag, brewed loose leaf tea, powdered tea, or bottled tea (which uses brewed tea).

3. Organic tea could offer you more nutrients.


Organic tea is like Olympic athletes who are not allowed to take steroids. They compete clean only with the skills they earned from daily, tireless training. The outcome from their strategic, well-managed training and lifestyle is obvious in their performance. And behind their performance, there are the strong mind and body. Growing organic tea takes a tremendous amount of commitment. Especially to make tea that is not only delicious but also rich in nutrition.

A steroid-injected person could perform like an Olympic athlete but it is not the same. “Conventional tea” can taste good but is likely nutritionally inferior just because the soil does not have as much to offer.

Organic tea is not just “tea free from pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers.” As with other plants, the tea plant, Camellia Sinensis, absorbs nutrients from the soil to grow. Without proper care, the soil gets depleted. Empty soil grows weak plants. Chemical supplementation would be a quick and easy way to fill the gap. But it takes a lot of time and effort to create such nutrient-dense fertilizer naturally and organically. So, some do not. Toxin-free and nutrient-rich do not go hand in hand automatically. Of course, you would like both. That is why we choose our tea farms carefully so that our Green Tea, Matcha, and Sencha powder are not only clean but also nutritious and tasty.

4. Organic tea could offer you more antioxidants.


The prominent antioxidants found in Green Tea are called Catechins. The benefits of Catechin antioxidants include

  • Cancer prevention
  • Tumor reduction
  • Immune system support
  • Hair & Skin health
  • Bone health
  • Weight Control
  • Cold/Flu prevention
  • Hormone balance
  • Heart health
  • Healthy cholesterol
  • Type II diabetes prevention
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Oral health
  • Brain health
  • Mood booster
  • Sustainable energy
  • Relaxation without drowsiness
  • Anti-aging
  • Detox by neutralizing free radicals

And naturally, the efficacy power varies, depending on how well the plant was fed and taken care of. We work with several different organic tea farms in various areas in Japan. One of them did an interesting experiment. In this experiment, they observed two branches, one was grown in their organic tea garden and the other was grown in a conventional tea garden. Both branches were cut and left in a glass filled with fresh water for 7 days.

See the remarkable result in the photo below. The branch on the left is the one grown in mineral-rich, organic soil. The leaves were still vibrant green 7 days after they were cut. And note the stark contrast. The branch on the right is the one grown conventionally. It started to lose leaves after a few days and lost almost all of its leaves by the 7th day.

Which would you choose, the leaves full of vitality, or the leaves with not much life from the beginning? It’s obvious you would like to choose the leaves full of vitality. Who would choose the other? The answer: mass-produced tea bag teas.


organic tea vs conventional tea

5. Organic farming supports a sustainable environment.


Conventional tea farming keeps depleting minerals from the soil which must be replaced by commercial fertilizers. Organic tea farming recharges the soil with organic microbes and minerals. Conventional tea farming’s objective is to produce as many products as possible. Organic tea farmers invest their time, love, and patience in growing the best tea for you. Purchasing Organic Green Tea and Organic Matcha supports time-consuming and labor-intensive organic tea farming. Organic tea farming nurtures healthy soil, clean water, and clean air.

“A small amount of chemical residue is not significant enough to jeopardize health.” Are we still naive enough to believe this? Or, would you like to choose Organic tea and become a part of a dynamic, positive cycle of nature?

5 Reasons to Choose Organic Green Tea

If you are drinking Green Tea or Matcha, you think you are doing a good thing for you. And you are right, if your tea is organic. Here are the summary of 5 reasons:

1. Conventional tea is non-organic and contaminated with toxins.

2. You cannot wash tea leaves or powder.

3. Organic tea could offer you more nutrients.

4. Organic tea could offer you more antioxidants.

5. Organic farming supports a sustainable environment.

The Challenge of Organic Tea

The term, conventional tea, sounds like simply a “normal tea”. But when it comes to tea, the adjective, “conventional”, suggests the way of farming that supports mass production for mass consumption. The term, conventional tea, cleverly hides the fact that every tea leaf is contaminated with unhealthy substances.

In addition, the invention of this term, “conventional tea,” has put organic tea in a difficult position in terms of the deliciousness. Which tomato do you think is more flavorful, the organic tomatoes or the non-organic tomatoes sold at a normal “conventional” grocery store? Probably you would say the organic ones are tastier. And probably you are right–the organic tomatoes are sweeter. Organic produce tends to be harvested locally so it’s likely they were ripened longer on the vine and harvested at the last minute. On the other hand, the non-organic tomatoes were likely still green when harvested. Naturally, organic tomatoes are more delicious.

So, you might not believe it if I say this is not always true with tea. But please give me the benefit of doubt. Both organic and non-organic tea leaves were harvested, steamed or pan fried, and then went through a unique process before they become a tea product. Both organic and non-organic teas can use youngest tender leaves or leaves harvested in late summer. When you compare apple to apple–say, youngest tender first flush tea, which is tastier, organic or non-organic?

The answer is, it depends. It depends on the soil. And it is easier to “fake” the rich flavor by increasing nitrogen in the soil with chemical fertilizer. Especially Japanese tea, including Matcha, appreciates Umami, a rich savory flavor that comes from an amino acid, Theanine. Conventional tea method can increase Theanine in the leaves with chemical fertilizers.

Also, a longer, more intense shading period increases the amount of Theanine. The shading period could last as long as 3 weeks. The intensity of darkness is increased gradually. This photo shows the last 5 days of the shading period at one of our organic Matcha tea gardens in Japan, where our ceremonial grade matcha comes from. 98% of the light is blocked to increase Theanine in the leaves.

matcha tea leaf growing in the shade

The long and intense shading period adds a huge stress on the plant. The risk of disease and pests becomes higher as well. Guess what eases such intense stress? Chemical fertilizers.

But, organic tea cannot use these chemical fertilizers. It is extremely difficult to make a rich Umami in organic Green Tea or Matcha. Only 6% of Green Tea production is organic in Japan. We are so proud of our tea farmers who bravely and passionately grow organic Green Teas that offer a high level of Umami that’s comparable to the “conventional” teas enforced with chemicals. And the reason they take such a challenge and trouble is they know the “conventional” teas are NOT safe.

No matter what your friendly tea seller says, these farmers know the risk. The conventional teas are not safe for the farmers, the earth, and you, the consumers.


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