Kosher tea is any variety of tea that conforms with the dietary guidelines and restrictions of Jewish law. Tea that is compliant with kosher laws must be grown, processed and packaged in a way that ensures that there is no contact with non-kosher animals and other non-kosher food. Byproducts from non-kosher animals cannot be used in making the tea. Machinery and utensils utilized in processing and packaging the tea cannot come in contact with non-kosher animals and non-kosher food products. The manufacture of kosher tea and other kosher products is examined by a rabbi or designated organization to ensure that the food conforms with Jewish dietary laws.
A variety of kosher teas are available, including black teas and green teas. Other choices include herbal teas and flavored teas. In some countries, the packaging for kosher tea will bear a registered trademark representing its status as kosher. Many kosher teas are available online. Some websites have a kosher certificate posted and available for consumers.
Regular tea is a product of the tea bush, and herbal teas are made from fruits or herbs. All fruits and vegetables are considered to be kosher, according to Jewish dietary laws. In the manufacture of kosher tea, both regular and herbal, care must be taken to ensure that there are no bugs or worms present in the processing. Bugs and worms are not kosher.
The Torah is the books of Jewish teachings that outline kosher laws. Jewish dietary law is called kashrut in Hebrew, from the word Kaf-Shin-Resh, which means "fit" or "correct." According to kosher law, only land animals that have cloven hooves and chew cud can be eaten. The animal must meet both qualifications. As for seafood, only animals that have fins can be consumed, so shellfish cannot be eaten.
Kosher laws state that the same utensils cannot be used in the preparation of kosher and non-kosher foods. Although kosher cooking can be relatively manageable in the home, the manufacture of kosher tea or any kosher foods in a processing plant is more problematic. Machinery and utensils used for processing non-kosher food cannot come into contact with kosher foods if the kosher product is to maintain its kosher designation.
Many people think that kosher food is blessed by a rabbi, but this is a fallacy. A rabbi or kosher certification agency inspects the ingredients, processing and packaging of the food to ensure that it meets the criteria of kosher law. A kosher certification agency is a group of rabbis and food technicians.
About one-fifth of all Jewish people, whether orthodox, conservative or reform, maintain a kosher diet. The origin and meaning of a kosher diet has been the subject of speculation for many years. Some people think that the restrictions came about to ensure health and safety. Others believe that these dietary restrictions are a way of practicing faith and discipline.