What’s in Your Cup?

Posted in Tea on September 29, 2016

We wouldn’t make a tea we wouldn’t want to drink ourselves.

Consider your tea drinking experience for a minute. When you steep your tea, you’re probably expecting to taste it in its purest form, with just healthy, medicinal herbs—not genetically modified ingredients that have a highly questionable and hotly debated impact on your body. We proudly stand behind the principles and philosophies of organic and non-GMO farming, and we wouldn’t make a tea we wouldn’t want to drink ourselves. Simply put, setting the quality bar higher is better for everyone.

Since 1982, Traditional Medicinals (TM) has been using specially made natural fiber tea bags, and now, there is finally a new verification system—Non-GMO Project Verified—to validate what we’ve been doing right since the very beginning. Some might even call us the originals. To top it off, we’ve recently added organic and Non-GMO Project Verified cotton strings, as well as tags made with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper, ensuring that every part of our tea bag that steeps in your cup is healthy for your body and the environment.

How We Make Our Bags

For over three decades, our tea bags have been made especially for us from sustainably farmed abacá leaf fiber, grown in the Philippines by empowered cooperatives of small-production family farmers. As a member of the banana family (Musaceae), the abacá tree grows quickly in semi-shaded mountain terrains, reaching up to 15 feet tall. Sending up multiple stalks from a central root ball, an abacá tree continuously produces fiber for up to 20 years, making it a reliable source of income for local farmers and a responsible material for use for our tea bags.

Once harvested, dried, and sorted, our supplier and social business partner, Glatfelter, turns this unique fiber into specialty pulp, which in turn is formed into sheets and transported to their paper mills. There, the abacá pulp is blended with sustainably harvested wood pulp to help it withstand the rigors of the tea steeping process. Glatfelter forms the fiber into double-chamber bags, which enable a better extraction of the herbs and avoids the need for the chemical sealants used in cheap pillow bags. Made to be 100% compostable, the bags are easy additions to your own garden or compost pile. The Non-GMO Project Verification is your assurance that both the tea bag paper and cotton string are made without genetically modified organisms (GMOs); and the Rainforest Alliance certification helps to ensure you that ethical environmental, economic, and social standards in farming abacá are being followed.

We’re Strung Out on Tea

In our research of tea bag strings, we were disturbed to discover that 43% of the world’s cotton and 90% of the United States’ crop is genetically modified. Since finding a reliable source of organic, Non-GMO Project Verified cotton, we have been advocating for new industry standards. The more you get to know us, you’ll realize that we can get pretty “strung out” on quality standards. It’s that level for details that even motivated us to seek out FSC-certified paper to make our tea tags.  As we continue to improve the process, we hope our new tea bags and strings will remind you to always hold your food and medicine sources accountable. The whole planet deserves it.

Non-GMO Project Verification ensures that every part of our tea bag that steeps in your cup is healthy for your body and the environment.