I’m really a coffee girl, but lately, I’ve started drinking a cup of tea at noon as a pick me up — and have come to realize that I’ve been missing out! For the eco-ethical tea drinkers in search of a new brew, here are my favorites:

For the gourmet tea snob

Zhena’s Gypsy Tea’s line of biodynamic green teas are about the tastiest teas out there — and are organic, fair trade, and biodynamic certified to boot! I recommend the rich and fruity Caramelized Pear blend.

More locally, Beverly Hills’ Art of Tea offers delicious and beautiful loose leaf, bagged and blooming teas. Most are organic and many are fair trade certified (some blends just don’t make use of ingredients available through fair trade) — and come in scrumptious flavors like Banana Dulce and Blueberry Cheesecake. Find them at SoCal Whole Foods — or pick from a bigger selection online.

For bargain seekers

Choice, Equal Exchange, Numi, Zhena and Traditional Medicinals all make affordable fair trade, organic teas. Taste-wise, my favorites are Numi’s Puerh teas and Zhena’s herbal teas — but keep in mind that these teas, while yummy, don’t compare to the more expensive luxe teas mentioned above.

For mate drinkers:

Guayaki Yerba Mate makes rain forest-expanding tea — since the company’s business model allows for sustainable agriculture that maintains and restores rain forests.

Guayaki’s a member of the Fair Trade Federation, and its yerba mate products are all organic certified. Get it by the bag at the Co-op or Whole Foods — or invest in a whole pound of loose leaf yerba mate for just $12.

For cool-thirst quenchers:

Fair trade and organic bottled tea’s now easy to find, since Honest Tea got bought by Coca-Cola and started popping up even at gas stations. I like Honest Tea, but love the taste of Numi organic bottled Puerh teas even better — and also recommend Steaz Teaz (to get caffeinated), Guayaki Lemon Elation (to get mate’d), and Adina Holistics (to not get wired).

Last but not least for eco-friendly tea drinkers on the go: Libretea’s a handy reusable tea infuser-mug that lets you enjoy loose leaf tea wherever you go.

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