Is sachet material biodegradable?
Yes, our sachet material is biodegradable. The sachets are made from the starch of plant-based material, primarily corn. The string, tag and sachets are all biodegradable in active compost with the proper amount of heat and moisture over a one-year period. Sachets will fully biodegrade in 90 days when in perfect compost conditions - 125 degrees F and 85% moisture. The speed with which it decomposes depends on the level of microbes in the active compost. Of course few of us have "perfect" compost conditions. In the natural condition it takes about three years for the sachets to fully decompose. In the case of very cold climates the sachets will not decompose.
Are GMOs in sachet material?
There are no GMOs present in the final product. Some genetically modified plant material (corn starch) may be used during the processing of the sachet material, but the act of processing of the material removes them.
Is glue used to attach the string to the tag or sachet?
No. The sachet, tag, and string are attached using an ultrasonic process.
The envelope material we use is similar to that used by Clif Bar and other energy bars and is a foil laminated film. Technically, it’s a “polymer,” a broad term that encompasses many kinds of natural and synthetic plastics.
This overwrap is important to keep the product from deterioration or cross contamination from moisture and aroma contaminated with other fresh for service items in restaurants, and to make the sachet portable so you can have the freshest tea possible at home or in the office.
We are searching for a material that has similar barrier properties and is biodegradable and will make the switch to that material as it becomes available.
Is your tea organically grown?
Some of the teas that we source are organic, but are purchased without a certificate. We do not use organic as our primary filter for purchasing teas because it limits our ability to have access to the best possible range of teas. Being on the ground in the countries of origin where we purchase tea allows us to review the production process from the plucking of the leaves and flowers and the harvest of the barks and roots that are used in producing our blends, as well as seeing how the workers are treated. All sources that we purchase from operate their farms and their collection of botanicals in a sustainable manner, recognizing that nurturing the soil and the plant is the only way to create a sustainable crop.
Are pesticides used in the growing process?
Many of our long time suppliers also sell products into the European Union, which has much more stringent allowances for residues than does the United States. Our black and green teas are all EU compliant, and even in certified organic products there are allowances for traces of herbicide and pesticide residues. In the premium end of the tea category, producers have learned that by avoiding use of pesticides they not only save money, but also ensure their products will not be held at the port of entry around the world.
How much caffeine is in a cup of Smith tea?
Caffeine content in tea will vary from plant to plant and from season to season. Caffeine and it's associated compounds are used as the tea plant's natural defense against insects. Conditions like air and ground moisture, available sunlight, average temperature, and growing density will affect each tea plant differently. In general, all our teas will have less than 1/3 the amount of caffeine than coffee and all of our herbal infusions are caffeine free.