We’ve shared the details behind our coffee ratings, and it’s only fair that we do the same for the tea ratings. In January, we published ratings for over 1600 teas. While the ratings approach is similar to that of coffee, there are some distinct differences.
The environmental component of the tea rating is 50% product level data and 50% company level data. Two factors contribute to the product level data:
1. Product type. Teas are sold in four forms, as capsules, bags, flowering, and loose. Heating water is the primary energy input when making a cup of tea (flavor extraction isn’t as big a deal as it is with coffee). Assuming that a full tea kettle’s worth of water is boiled to prepare your tea, machine capsule teas have the lowest impact out of these four forms.
2. Certifications. As with coffee, tea products were evaluated by whether or not they carried one of six certifications (Fair Trade, Organic, Rainforest Alliance, and UTZ). Certifications haven’t permeated the tea market as strongly as the coffee market; we found only Fair Trade and Organic products on shelves.
Just like the environmental score, the social score is built equally from product level data and company level data. Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, and UTZ were the certifications used to distinguish products that have better social performance. Again, only Fair Trade is visible in the current ratings as the other certifications have yet to appear on tea products.