Verdant Tea

A Bitter Brew

A Bitter Brew

A Bitter Brew

BBC Investigation is a Wake Up Call to the Tea Industry

September 11, 2015

For too long, the tea industry as a whole has hidden behind veils and partial truths.
This has created  industry full of deception and inequity. 

This week, the BBC sent a wake up call to the tea industry and to tea lovers around the world.



Several of the world’s biggest tea brands, including PG Tips, Tetleys, Twinings, Fortnum & Mason and Yorkshire Tea, have responded after the BBC investigation found dangerous and degrading living and working conditions in Indian Assam plantations that supply their teas.

What is the human cost of a cup of tea?

The BBC’s Jane Deith also reported from Assam on the plight of workers on tea plantations which help supply some of the world’s best known brands. Her full report aired on BBC Radio 4 this week.



It is past time for every member of the tea industry to be honest and lay bare their processes.


We are constantly working to improve and reaffirm our commitment to our partner tea farmers across China, but the industry as a whole cannot improve through these kinds of actions alone. The industry will only change when tea lovers demand this change.

So what can you do to ensure sustainable practices and clean farming? 

The more questions you ask, the more good you do. 


Demand Transparency

On their own, organic and fair trade labels are not enough.
You deserve to know who picked your tea and how they did it.
Only by revealing the true source can you be sure of what you are drinking.

Buy from people who see a future in what they are doing.


Family farms can work for long term improvements for themselves, their tea and their communities rather than short term gains and profit because they answer only to themselves, not to investors and the commodity market.


Do not stop asking questions.


Every question is challenge that forces the industry to improve. Every purchase sends a message.

Only a culture and an industry that demands transparency will change the dehumanizing race to the bottom that silences the very people that make tea possible, and the industry as a whole will only respond to one person: you.

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