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Tips for Tea Drinkers

As I drank my tea this morning, I realized I’ve had at least 3,600 cups of tea in the last ten years! I drink tea as tonic for all kinds of ailments – fatigue, colds, aching muscles…

I drink most of my tea in the morning though, to gently wake up before I jolt my system with coffee. There are so many uses and so much interesting tea history that I could just go on for days about it! Don’t worry, I won’t.

What spurred this train of thought was a Facebook post from a fellow tea drinker about chemicals that are often found in tea and the bags they come in. I learned there’s plenty to be worried about in these little tea cups.

I won’t get into ALL the nasty bits, as you can read those in the FoodBabe blog post I read, but here is the image that reeled me in:

Thank you to for this great chart!
Thank you to for this great chart!

I was happy to find Rishi, the maker of one of my favorite morning teas (Organic Earl Grey), with no checks. No wonder it tastes so delicious! Now I can feel good about it’s impact on my health and those involved in picking my tea as well.

The three main questions this list brought up for me were:

  1. Are there pesticides in my tea leaves?
  2. What are the “natural flavors” on the ingredient list?
  3. Does the packaging contain chemicals that could leach into my tea?

Pesticides can include so many harmful chemicals that I try to avoid them whenever possible, and the more I learn about the term “natural flavors,” the more I try to avoid those as well. Foodbabe explains these well in her blog post.

I’ve also been wary of plastic tea bags, and with a little delving into the subject, I learned some have phthalates. According to one report on the Food and Drug Administration website,

“Phthalates display a variety of toxic effects in animal studies following chronic exposure or even after short-term exposures in particularly vulnerable organisms. These effects include damage to the liver, kidney, heart, and lungs as well as adverse effects on reproduction, development, and blood clotting.” (Click here to read more of this report).

I also learned that the tea ball I use for loose teas can leach chemicals into my cup, so I use this one:

My favorite tool for tea brewing
My favorite tool for tea brewing
The deep and wide holder allows the flavor to really seep into my teas
The deep and wide holder allows the flavor to really seep into my teas

I’ve also found tea just tastes better with this little tool!

The best way I’ve found to avoid harmful chemicals is to make the wisest choices I can afford. With the list above I have a good base line in choosing teas wisely.

My favorite teas right now are: 

Rishi Organic Earl Grey – I let it steep for about three minutes, shorter or longer depending on how strong I want it. I add a 1/4 teaspoon of honey and a touch of milk alternative.

Home grown peppermint/spearmint blend – these were so easy to grow and turn into tea! I’ll share my growing and harvesting tips in another post.

On hot summer afternoons I like a cup of mint green iced tea with honey for a refresher. If I’m feeling a cold coming on I’ll have peppermint tea with honey. If I’m feeling restless at night I’ll have a cup of chamomile tea..but now I’m going to pay a lot more attention to which teas I’m drinking and what they’re packaging is!

On to the next 3600 cups…

Do you drink tea? What are your favorites? 


15 thoughts on “Tips for Tea Drinkers

  1. I’ve recently really begun to learn and understand tea and all its’s health benefits. I’ve just returned from a trip to China where I learned some great tea preparation tips. I came home with Oolong, Ginsing, Jasmine and some others and I am working my way through the lot!

  2. A shout out for Guayaki Yerba Mate; tasty, healthful and produced with a focus towards sustainability, reforestation and improving the lives of those who grow and harvest it.

    I look forward to your spearmint/peppermint post, that is something I have been curious about.


    1. Thank you for the tip Andrew! I’m going to try that, and your comment helped me decide on what my next post is going to be…

  3. Wow. Happy to see the Numi didn’t have any checks in the chart of toxins! Recently I have been obsessed with the Roobois Chai from Numi. To make it even more indulgent and delicious I add 1/2 tsp. cocoa powder, a little honey, a dash of coconut milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon to top it off. It’s a much healthier version of a chai latte and tastes so much better without all the extra sugar and milk.

  4. I’m saddened to hear that about the TJ’s brand of tea. Usually I get loose leaf when I visit Port Townsend. I’ll be interested to learn more about this. Why is eating naturally/organic so difficult sometimes!?

    1. I know, right? The thing that keeps me positive about organic living is that the more people buy organic, the more the producers produce!

    1. Great question, Bill! Lemon, dandelion, stinging nettle, linden flower and yarrow in teas can also act as diuretics.

    1. I agree! Making sure people are treated well along the way before and after our products go into and on our bodies is such an important part of sustainability. Sometimes when I’m considering buying something new, I get a picture in my head of someone in a factory and I put the item down…

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