This September we are supporting the Soil Association’s Organic September campaign - encouraging people to eat, drink, use and choose organic
Waitrose pioneered the sale of organic food in supermarkets and we continue to lead the field with one of the largest organic ranges in the UK: Waitrose Duchy Organic. From everyday tea and milk to noteworthy ales
and biscuits, there are plenty of delicious ways to make an organic choice this September.
Meet the producers:
"Good tea takes attention to detail"
If you thought a cup of tea was one of life’s simple pleasures, a chat with James Jobling might change that. A pleasure, yes, but tea – at least good tea – is anything but simple.
‘It’s incredibly complex,’ says Jobling, head of tea at Ringtons, which supplies Waitrose Duchy Organic products. ‘Anyone can grow a tea bush and make some sort of tea from it, but good tea takes real attention to detail.’
First, you need good growers. ‘We really cherry-pick the estates for the Duchy teas,’ says Jobling. ‘For example, there around 1,000 estates in India’s Assam region – we buy from six.’
The company maintains close relationships with its growers, and is part of the Ethical Tea Partnership, which monitors social and environmental conditions on estates. Then it’s up to the factory to bring out the best in the leaves.
A process called withering draws out moisture and softens them, before they’re rolled or cut. That ruptures the cells, and their bright green colour gives way to coppery brown as the flavour develops. It’s a process that must be stopped at just the right time – by quickly drying them.
Even so, as a natural product, tea can vary from batch to batch. ‘But if you buy a pack of Duchy tea this week, you want it to taste the same as the one you bought last week,’ continues Jobling. ‘It’s our job to blend the tea so it’s consistent every time.’ That means tasting every batch of every tea. But banish ideas of a life spent sitting around with relaxing cuppa in hand.
‘We’re tasting a lot of teas, so we need to be e cient. It’s totally different from sitting down and enjoying the drink, but funnily enough after a big tasting I’ll often do exactly that.’
3 good reasons to choose organic:
1. Good food:
Organic produce is grown without reliance on artificial chemicals, fertilisers or antibiotics.
2. Good farming:
Organic farmers are always striving to be as sustainable as possible with regard to animal welfare, the environment and the soil.
3. Good causes:
Sales of Waitrose Duchy Organic products provide a donation to The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Foundation for initiatives such as the Duchy Future Farming Programme
View our organic recipes: