Customers regularly ask us at The Tea Centre, “Where does your tea come from?” Well, we source our tea from various parts of the world through our network of international brokers, with a large majority of our teas coming through Europe – a reply that more often than not prompts the question: “Why Europe?” The answer to this is very important, as many purveyors of tea try to cloud this issue by creating an image that buying tea direct from the country of origin produces a better product. However, this is not always so.
At The Tea Centre, we are very careful when creating business relationships with international brokers. The reason we buy such a large quantity of our teas through Europe is to protect our customers by maintaining a quality product. Any food product that enters the EU is subject to the strict food safety requirements, which outline acceptable maximum residue levels (MRL’s). These MRL’s verify that the levels of pesticides in and on food items are safe for human consumption, and when tea enters the EU it is thoroughly tested against these standards . If the MRL levels constitute an unacceptable risk for the consumer, the tea is withdrawn from the EU market. Withdrawal of tea from the EU market can have severe reputational repercussions for a tea producer, creating further incentive for safe food practises. In comparison, purchasing directly from countries of origin does not always guarantee sufficient controls on such use of pesticides in production.
Furthermore, the blenders of our flavoured teas are based in Germany and only use natural products in creating our blends. Some teas require essential oils to flavour them, such as our Earl Grey range, but wherever possible natural flavourings or essential oils are used for our flavoured teas.
This is just a glimpse of the lengths The Tea Centre takes to guarantee a quality product, even down to air freighting the teas in every 6-8 weeks to maintain freshness and quality. You may have also noticed our efforts in recent months to increase our range of organically manufactured teas, small farmers sourced teas as well as ethically sourced teas,and this will continue where possible. Our commitment to providing Tea Centre customers with quality leaf tea is an integral part of The Tea Centre’s core values.
For those who wish to read more on EU regulations, click here