5 Of The Best Eco-Friendly Teas | pebble magazine
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5 Of The Best Eco-Friendly Teas For A Better Brew

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5 Of The Best Eco-Friendly Teas For A Better Brew

Eat & Drink

From single origin tea to carbon negative blends, here are pebble's best eco-friendly teas to help make your favourite cuppa more sustainable.

Francesca Brooking

Mon 20 Sep 2021

The UK drinks approximately 100 million cups of tea daily, proving that there’s nothing quite like a good brew.

But it’s not just flavour that makes a good quality cuppa. Ethics and environmental impact are just as important.

From carbon negative teas to a social enterprise employing refugees, pebble has rounded up 5 of the best eco-friendly tea brands that are bringing positive change to the nation’s favourite drink.

At pebble, all of our products are independently recommended by our editors. If you buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission which goes to help running our publication.

Quick links to pebble’s fave eco-friendly teas

Why eco-friendly tea matters

According to a report by the UN, the tea industry is a main source of income for emerging economies. It also has the potential to provide sustainable jobs for workers in disadvantaged areas.

However, in most tea-growing countries, farmers and pluckers remain marginalised and poor.

Research by the University of Sheffield in 2018 found that exploitation and forced labour are widespread in the global tea supply chain.

Workers are subject to routine abuse and they’re forced to live far below the poverty line due to low wages.

For example, tea workers’ wages in India were reported to be as low as 25% of the poverty line amount.

It’s not just ethics to consider when choosing your brew. Tea plantations use pesticides, herbicides and clear vast amounts of land to grow their crops, contributing to deforestation.

After all that, some deceptively harmless tea bags contain polypropylene, a form of plastic.

This means microplastics leach into your freshly brewed cup of tea and into the environment when you throw the tea bag out.

Eco-friendly and ethical tea brands consider their impact right from the supply chain through to the discarded tea bag.

They’re plastic free, climate positive and pay workers a fair wage. And the best bit? You don’t miss out on good quality tea either.

So, add some positive change to your cuppa with these top 5 eco-friendly teas.

5 Of The Best Eco-Friendly Teas For A Better Brew

Boxes of eco teas next to loose leaf teas

1. Best ethical tea: Teatulia

Premium tea brand, Teatulia is the largest organic tea brand in Bangladesh. What sets it apart from other brands is that it grows all tea itself rather than buying leaves in bulk at auction from suppliers.

Every leaf in every blend you buy comes directly from the Teatulia Garden in Tetulia, Bangladesh which has been in operation for nearly two decades.

The garden has transformed the previously arid scrubland into a lush haven for animals and plant life.

The pebble team particularly likes that Teatulia puts women at the centre of its business.

Mostly female employees grow tea and herbs using low-intensity natural farming methods. They’re paid good wages, are supported by cooperatives and their families are provided with healthcare and education.

Teatulia has an extensive range of tea blends such as black, white, green and everything in between so it’s ideal for those who like a bit of variety.

pebble’s verdict

Pros: Supports female workers in poor communities | Provides families with healthcare and education | Tea is directly sourced from Teatulia’s own garden | Plastic free tea bags

Cons: Expensive in comparison to other competitors

Teatulia tea prices start from £5.50 for a box of 20 tea bags or £8.50 for 30-80g loose leaf tea. Visit Teatulia here.

Two images. Left of a cannister of tea. Right of a pile of loose leaf tea.

Teatulia gives its employees access to healthcare and education

2. Best social enterprise tea: NEMI Teas

NEMI Teas offers a variety of ethically sourced tea blends in loose leaf and tea bag form. All tea bags are plastic free, the packaging is biodegradable and teas are certified Organic, Fairtrade and approved by the Rainforest Alliance.

NEMI Teas has made it to pebble’s top 5 because it’s more than just a London-based tea brand. It’s a social enterprise focused on providing employment opportunities and job readiness skills to refugees.

Teas are hand-blended, hand packaged and sold in markets across the UK by refugees. You can also buy teas online.

Popular tea blends include a robust English Breakfast and a balanced Spicy Chai both from Assam, India, and a delicate Green Tea from China.

pebble’s verdict

Pros: A social enterprise that supports refugees | Plastic free | Pretty packaging can be reusable

Cons: Expensive | pebble would like to see more transparency about suppliers

NEMI Teas start from £4.75. Browse online here.

Colourful tubes of eco-friendly teas and a bottle

NEMI Teas provides employment opportunities for refugees

3. Best carbon negative tea: Greenypeeps

Say hello to Greenypeeps, the world’s first carbon negative tea and infusion range.

The secret to the brand’s achievement is its partnership with the Carbon Consulting Company which allows it to analyse the carbon footprint of each product at every stage.

Greenypeeps can then review all current practices and remove over twice the carbon that each product produces for a net positive impact on the planet.

So, what’s the tea? Blends include herbal infusions in ethical tea bags.

Choose between Energising tea, Revitalising tea, After Dinner Tea and a Calming Bedtime tea. All teas are organic, plastic free and home compostable or recyclable.

Another reason pebble loves Greenypeeps is it’s committed 3% of all sales to the Hiniduma Biolink programme in Southern Sri Lanka.

The project works with smallholder farmers to address rural poverty whilst conserving Sri Lanka’s last remaining rainforests.

pebble’s verdict

Pros: Carbon negative | organic | Percentage of sales go to charity | High quality

Cons: Expensive in comparison to other competitors

Each tea is sold in a pack of 15 pyramid bags for £4.30. Shop Greenypeeps now.

Boxes of eco teas next to loose leaf teas

Greenypeeps is the first carbon negative tea brand in the world

4. Best budget-friendly tea: Clipper

If you’re looking for reliable Fairtrade, Organic and biodegradable tea bag brands at an affordable price, you can’t go wrong with Clipper.

You know you’re sipping sustainably as the brand is accredited by both Soil Association and Fairtrade Foundation. All ingredients are sourced ethically from suppliers that pay a fair wage and protect the environment.

In 2018, Clipper was the first major tea brand to switch to plant-based, biodegradable, non-GM and unbleached tea bags. No plastic here.

Since then, it’s made a commitment to ensure that none of its products contain anything artificial.

pebble’s favourite blend is Clipper’s Restoring Roots Tea. Ideal for herbal tea enthusiasts, it has an invigorating combination of fiery ginger, warming turmeric with a twist of black pepper.

pebble’s verdict

Pros: Certified Fairtrade and organic | unbleached and plastic free tea bags | Affordable prices

Cons: Still a little more expensive than major competitors

Clipper Restoring Roots Tea starts from £1.87. Shop now here.

Product image of a box of Clipper tea

Clipper is a pioneer of unbleached, plastic free tea bags

5. Best loose leaf tea: NUDITEA

New tea brand on the block, NUDITEA came about during lockdown. It’s since become the home of exciting and experimental blends. You can also find wellness teas and upgrades on classic flavours.

The pebble team is particularly impressed with NUDITEA’s environmental ethos as a startup. Although it hasn’t yet reached a Fairtrade or Organic status, the brand sources all ingredients from trusted and ethical suppliers.

Plus, all tea packaging is 100% plastic free and compostable. Any other packaging elements are either recycled or recyclable.

Perfect for tea drinkers who like a little more oomph to their brew, blends include tongue-in-cheek classics such as Breakfast in the Buff and Fifty Shades of Earl.

There are also herbal infusions including Roseberry Fling and limited edition Spiced Toffee Apple.

pebble’s verdict

Pros: Interesting blends | Plastic free | eco tea bags and loose leaf | High quality blends

Cons: Not certified organic or fairtrade | pebble would like to see more transparency on suppliers

Teas start from £3.00. Browse the NUDITEA shop here.

Bag of loose leaf tea with biscuits

NUDITEA is the home of innovative infusions

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