Founded in Berkshire by Marion and Olivier Lehnert in 2012, EqualiTea, as the name suggests is passionate about high quality organic teas that are truly ethically sourced. EqualiTea started online, but swiftly made its name at the many local markets, fairs and festivals of England including London, Oxford, Bristol and Brighton.
Having a passion for tea is at the heart of EqualiTea. Both Marion and Olivier have a great passion for tea and this includes the way it is grown and produced. In some ways, their enthusiasm for tea comes from a sense of frustration. Marion said, “We found that since we moved from France quite a few years ago, we’ve missed the beautiful teas we could buy there. It was always items we would bring back in our suitcases to England every time we would go visit friends and relatives in France.”
EqualiTea is all about fine Organic and Fairtrade loose leaf tea. Their teas are exclusively from Les Jardins de Gaïa, a company which has been importing organic tea to France for more than 20 years, and which is now the leader in Europe in terms of Organic and Fairtrade teas, with over 500 types of tea. All the teas are Organic, most are Fairtrade and a few are biodynamic. They tend to work with small producers all over the world, and ethics is what drives their daily business. EqualiTea fully embraces this ethos. Indeed, EqualiTea were the only tea company to receive 3 stars at the Great Taste Awards in 2013 for a single estate leaf tea with our exclusive Mineral Springs Darjeeling Extra First Flush.
In 2016, the EqualiTea team continued what Marion had begun and founded to relaunch EqualiTea to its roots of spreading the word of Les Jardins des Gaïa teas to ever more people in the UK.
LES JARDINS DE GAÏA is famous in France and quite rightly so – it is arguably the most famous and respected Fairtrade Organic tea company in France. This long established tea brand is known for its imaginative blends and focus on quality. For more information, please visit www.jardinsdegaia.com
Founded by Arlette Rohmer in 1994 near Strasbourg in Eastern France, Les Jardins des Gaïa, meaning “The Gardens of Gaïa” in English, was from the beginning committed to organic farming and fair trade long before it became a matter of concern.
When Arlette founded Les Jardins de Gaïa twenty years ago, it was her dream as an ardent campaigner right from the beginning to sell good, organic and, above all, “fair” teas.
The company’s core beliefs and practices include:
Over the years, Arlette has forged strong ties with producers who care deeply for their land. However, the respect for nature they express in their use of organic farming principles was not afforded to them in equal measure – a fact that was unacceptable to Arlette.
Arlette believes that “Man’s exploitation by man is not an inevitability. Developing harmonious commercial relationships based on mutual respect is a fundamental value that we do not compromise on. It means that we have to put in greater effort and be more patient, but it’s worth fighting for.”
20 years later, Les Jardins de Gaïa remain inspired to continue along this path and is involved at both local and national levels in alliances to promote fair trade, such as the Fair Trade Platform (www.commercequitable.org).
Organic farming is the foundation of Les Jardins de Gaïa. Cultivation, production, transformation, packing. For Arlette, it was impossible to conceive “tea” differently than within a respectful approach to nature.
The tea plant develops in areas with tropical and wet climates. Tea is a monoculture which impoverishes the soil and is planted in countries where the use of pesticides was not regulated at the time of the beginnings of Les Jardins de Gaïa (it is still little regulated today).
Fifteen years ago, Les Jardins des Gaïa’s concern was primarily the pesticides and insecticides like DDT, and lindane. In the 21st Century, we now have to consider seed-bearer autonomy, GMO cultivation, the widening of the European requirements on organic agriculture.
Cultivated without fertilizers or chemicals, the teas resulting from the organic farming have a double advantage. On one hand, you profit from an infusion deprived of any harmful residue (please remember that tea is never washed during production and the leaves will keep any harmful substance), and you receive the full health benefits of tea as well as taking part in the protection of the farmers who grew it, the environment and biodiversity. Indeed, increasingly scientific studies are showing the nutritional benefits of organically farmed foods versus non-organic.
In addition, Les Jardins de Gaïa is a strong supporter of the Biodynamic movement. Biodynamy not only supports the notion of using natural fertilization modes (use of compost and manure), biodynamy also integrates social, economic, human and ethical concerns. Other critical parts of the biodynamic movement are the solar and lunar rhythms, the rotation of crops, the consideration of biotopes favourable to the plant development and the consideration of the genus adapted to local climates.
In 2016, Les Jardins de Gaïa joined the WFTO (World Fair Trade Organization –WWW.WFTO-EUROPE.ORG) to reaffirm loud and clear our commitment to fairer international trade, something which has been part of our DNA since the company was founded in 1994.
By doing so we are moving from a guarantee for our products to a guarantee for our products and our organization. It is a change that will result in more active and comprehensive fair trade participation around the world.
Organic and fair trade, this is crucial, but of course, the teas have to taste excellent! We are proud of the high quality of our loose leaf teas and teabags and the delicious flavoured recipes blended at our headquarter in France with organic certified natural flavourings. Enjoy trying them all!