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6 Ethical Tea Companies Perfect For Your Morning Cup

By Maria Cook

A nice cup of tea isn't always as simple as it seems. In fact, a lot goes into cultivating tea plants and harvesting their leaves. The unfortunate truth is that some tea companies use unethical farming and labor practices, which can harm people and the environment. For example, harsh pesticides used on tea crops can cause health concerns for tea-drinkers, as well as farm employees. If workers aren't paid a living wage, then the difficult work they do, in order to harvest tea leaves, is exploited and they and their families can suffer. 

But there are companies that hold themselves to a higher standard, ensuring that workers at every step of the tea-making process are paid a living wage, and that the tea is grown in ways that do no lasting harm to the environment. If you're searching for a cup of tea you can feel good about, then try one of these six brands that make delicious, ethically-grown teas.

1. The Republic of Tea

This Fair Trade tea company has been producing ethically-grown black, oolong, green, and herbal teas for 25 years. The Republic of Tea partners with several nonprofit groups, including the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation, which supports brain cancer research and Homeward Bound, which focuses on ending homelessness. Sales from The Republic of Tea's "Non-Profit" tea line benefits these groups. The Republic of Tea is also committed to minimal pesticide use. 

The Republic of tea is perhaps best known for its unique tea blends, which include flavor combinations such as blackberry sage and cranberry blood orange. Try a cup here

2. Upton Tea Imports

This Massachusetts-based tea company has been around since 1989 and is completely committed to ethical tea production. The company sells only loose leaf tea, and many varieties are certified Fair Trade, which means that the tea was produced without harming workers or the environment. Upton Tea Imports has been selling tea in this manner since 1989, long before most companies were willing to jump on the eco-friendly bandwagon. Teas are available in black, green, white, oolong, and Pu-Erh varieties. 

Have a sip here

3. Honest Tea

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Unlike many tea companies, Honest Tea is known entirely for its iced tea. But the company does more than produce healthy, refreshing beverages perfect for summer. It does so in an ethical and environmentally-friendly manner. In 2015, Honest Tea's tea leaves and other ingredients are certified organic, and its business is certified Fair Trade, as well. This means that Honest Tea's products are made without unnecessary pesticides or synthetic chemicals, and workers are paid a living wage at every step of the production process. 

Honest Tea is a well-known brand, so chances are good that you can pick up some of their iced tea at your local supermarket. Or you can order a refreshing bottle here