By on February 13, 2015

So I confess I’m not much of a coffee drinker–unless there’s more sugar and cream than actual coffee in my drink–but I absolutely love tea. Like a good Texan, I love it iced and sweet, but I’ll also take it hot with milk and sugar.

The trouble is, much of the tea that we love comes from plantations that use forced labor–including children–which is modern-day slavery. Read an example here about the relationship between tea and child slavery in India.

We can start making a difference by being careful about the products we buy, and by contacting our favorite companies and petitioning them to make the necessary changes to becoming more ethical.

Fortunately, there are also many fair trade options for tea. For starters, Fair Trade USA has a good extensive list.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Honest Tea has some delicious looking iced teas, and even sodas, which I am anxious to try!
  • I’ve fallen in love with rooibos lately, so I think I might give the vanilla almond from Arbor Teas a try, too!
  • If you love Twinings, check out their fair trade blends for Twinings USA. (For the UK site, be sure to narrow your search results with the fair trade option–there was no specific page that I could find for all fair trade blends.) As always, be sure to check for a label.
  • You can also find a few blends at the Republic of Tea. My personal favorites are wild blueberry (black tea) and Apricot Honey (red tea).

What I have yet to find, sadly, is a fair trade version of Lady Grey. If you know where I might find this, give me a shout!

The most important thing in shopping ethically is to do a little research. It may be a small sacrifice of time, but the cost of not knowing is far greater.

It’s also important to note that there are, in fact, differing definitions and processes for certification of fair trade. Sometimes that can mean some labeled products are still not fully ethical, as is the case with tea coming from the Indian state of Assam. But I’ll be taking a look at some of the issues and difficulties of identifying fair trade next week.


Each Friday I’ll be highlighting a fair trade company, product, or issue, and add these links to my ever-growing list of information and resources. (Disclaimer: I am not being compensated in any way by any of these organizations or companies–just sharing links and products as I find them!)

Do you have any favorite fair trade products or brands? Let me know in the comments so I can add them!

Read more about fair trade:

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