Image: Sri Lanka tea plantation
To be certified organic tea, fruit, herbal or vegetable beverage ingredients must be grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. The plant must rely completely on natural organic matter, such as soil, compost, manure, natural tree and plant materials and mulch to provide the necessary ground nutrients.
A registered international authority must then certify the product.
Within the tea industry, some tea estates have been growing teas organically for centuries. Organic production methods are not a new concept but the Certification requirement is relatively new. These tea estates may have followed traditional tea growing agricultural principles, but without Certification the growers cannot validate their products.
From July 2019, flavour additives in certified organic beverages will also need to be certified organic.