Starwest Botanicals Bulk Darjeeling Tea - 1 lb.
Starwest Botanicals Bulk Darjeeling Tea comes from the most romantic and interesting tea district in all India. It grows on the southern slopes of the Himalayas, which are located on India’s northern border. TGFOP standards are considered the fanciest of Darjeeling teas. The long and partially opened leaf produces a full—bodied, rich, red liquor, together with a delicious and indescribable flavor of its own, sometimes referred to as “nutty”.
About Starwest Botanicals
Starwest Botanicals started as a small retail herb shop in 1975 in Sacramento, California. When they made the decision to begin selling herbs wholesale, they were faced with competition from more-established herb companies. They felt that their best chance to compete was to focus on selling a higher quality of herbs at good prices. Saying that you sell quality herbs sounds rather quaint, as most companies say they sell quality - they knew better. As I hit the road with my sample bag, I could demonstrate to the store buyers that their quality really was better, at equal or just slightly higher prices. Most stores I visited “got it.” They knew that their business would prosper if they carried herbs that were fresh, potent, and worked for the purpose intended.
They grew rapidly on the strength of their commitment to provide value through a combination of quality products, excellent customer service, and fair prices. In 1979, they built their first herb mill to have better control over the processing of their herbs. In 1980, they began importing herbs from several different countries and supplying manufacturers and wholesalers. They also began supporting the fledgling organic herb industry in 1980. In 1983, Starwest was named to Inc. magazines list of top 500 fastest-growing private companies.
Today, Starwest is one of the largest suppliers of organic herbs in the United States, with 85,000 sq. ft. of modern warehouse and production space and over one million pounds of herbs and spices in stock. They are proud of their accomplishments, but the thing of which they are most proud is that they have many customers and suppliers that are still doing business with them over 30 years later.
Starwest believe in offering the best value to their customers for their herbal purchases and, because they directly source their products from around the world and process them in-house, they can deliver on that belief. They also stand behind their products with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. I know it’s easy to make a claim that you’re committed to something; but, just like I showed those herbal stores years ago, they deliver on their commitments.
Today you have a choice – you can buy mediocre herbs and spices from the many storefronts that have sprung up on the internet, or you can buy higher quality herbs and spices from a company that you can trust. they’re sure you’ll see the same superior quality in their products that store owners saw more than 30 years ago.
Statement of Quality
Superior quality has always been the goal at Starwest Botanicals. To fulfill customers' expectations for high quality products, Starwest continues to upgrade its quality control facilities and processes. With their modern equipment and professional personnel, they have made a commitment to continued excellence in product quality.
Starwest is dedicated to providing the freshest and purest botanicals. They strive to offer only those herbs and spices with verified quality. All of their products emerge from the combined efforts of everyone at Starwest - from their expert purchasers, to experienced lab technicians and machine operators, to their service-oriented, knowledgeable sales staff.
Starwest quality begins with the knowledge and experience of their raw material suppliers from around the world. They purchase herbs and spices from domestic growers and import them from over 20 countries. Direct purchasing ensures that the integrity of their products is consistent and the finest quality available. Their buyers are botanical and herb experts who work closely with their quality control staff, before and after the products arrive, to continually monitor their raw materials. They audit all suppliers yearly to assure they meet their GMP requirements.
Starwest's integrated, modern milling, blending, and packaging facilities give them total control in providing the correct particle size for cut and powdered herbs (see below for a description of plant parts and product forms). Thorough inspection and cleaning during the milling process insures that the finished product will meet their stringent specifications for quality and cleanliness. At each stage of production, their quality control staff inspects and approves each product before it is allowed to proceed to the next process.
Their professional staff continuously monitors product quality to ensure customer safety and satisfaction. Retained samples from all shipments are thoroughly tested and compared to their extensive reference library of dried herbs and botanicals to verify authenticity. All lot samples are kept for five years and can be traced for verification.
Starwest utilizes not only their in-house laboratory, but also independent labs and consultants to guarantee their analyses are complete. Testing includes organoleptic analysis for aroma, color, flavor and texture. Physical testing involves moisture, volatile oil content, heavy metals, microbiology, thin layer chromatography, and other tests specific to each herb.
Starwest’s facility is inspected annually for good manufacturing practices by the American Institute of Baking (AIB), from whom they recently received a score of “Superior.”
Starwest Botanicals Quality Control
At Starwest their first priority is quality. To support their customers’ expectations for high quality products, Starwest continues to expand its quality control laboratory and processes. With their high-tech laboratory equipment and experienced Quality Assurance team, Starwest has made a commitment to continued excellence in product quality. They believe that quality begins with the knowledge and experience of their raw material suppliers and continues through the production process to the shipment of the finished goods to the customer.
In-House Quality Control Laboratory
Starwest maintains a modern, in-house laboratory staffed by experienced professionals. They provide a complete product analysis, quickly and efficiently, with validated analytical procedures and state of the art equipment.
Starwest's validated quality assurance testing includes:
- Organoleptic testing to ensure proper appearance, color, aroma and flavor. • Microscopic and Macroscopic inspection for foreign matter.
- HPTLC for identification, to verify purity and authenticity.
- ICP-MS heavy metal analysis.
- Microbiology testing for pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella.
- Chemical analyses for moisture content, volatile oil, ash and acid insoluble ash.
High Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC)
In compliance with cGMPs, Starwest currently uses HPTLC testing to accurately determine product identity and purity. By quantifying or comparing the distribution patterns of marker compounds in different solvent systems (unique to each plant and class of actives) against their proprietary Botanical Reference library, their laboratory personnel can confidently and accurately verify product identity and identify known adulterates.
Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)
ICP-MS offers a very sensitive, specific and reproducible way to determine heavy metal concentration in a wide variety of products. It can identify and quantify each metallic impurity with high sensitivity; and, can be used to test for the entire Periodic Table in one analysis. ICP detection limits for most elements are in the part-per-billion (ppb) range.
Starwest complies with current Good Manufacturing Practices, with protocols firmly in place for the documentation and validation of their quality control system to ensure compliance with all relevant food safety regulations. They thoroughly document every aspect of their operations, including receiving, processing, packaging and shipping. Their Quality Assurance team includes individuals dedicated to equipment and process validation, document control, training, and product testing. They insure that FDA-compliant manufacturing protocols are followed, and their products meet their strict requirements for identity, strength, quality and purity.
Starwest has a full allergen prevention program and have implemented tight controls in their manufacturing processes to prevent cross-contamination of their products with allergens.
Starwest’s Environmental Dedication
Ecological & Social Responsibility
Starwest is committed to selling high quality natural products while preserving the environment. They conduct their business in a way that allows them to maintain their standard of environmental dedication, with commitments to sustainable organic farming and caring for the environment. They make every effort to select ingredients from natural renewable sources and are dedicated to the conservation of plants and the preservation of their natural habitat. They support sustainable wild collection practices to protect species from becoming endangered. They are members of United Plant Savers, an organization that helps spread the word on endangered and at risk plant species.
Supporting Organic & Sustainable Agriculture
Certified Organic products are grown and harvested without the use of pesticides, fertilizers, or chemicals, and offer a more sustainable option for feeding ourselves and our communities. Organic farming practices have many environmental, health, and social benefits. Sustainable organic farming can produce crops without depleting our earth’s resources or polluting the environment. Organic farms can even support higher levels of wildlife; and entire ecosystems and ground water are improved by following organic farming methods. By using organic products which are cultivated in a more sustainable way they can also help maintain biodiversity.
Environmental Practices at Starwest
Starwest is committed to reducing their energy consumption levels. They have replaced all of their lighting with new low energy units and support their local utilities Greenergy™ program. The Greenergy™ program allows them to purchase power from renewable sources like wind, water and sun. The goal of this program is to build new, cleaner energy resources, reducing the need to build additional high-polluting power plants.
Starwest has taken the initiative to:
- Reduce daily company-wide paper usage , and only print their wholesale catalog annually.
- Use non-toxic inks and recycle all of their printer ink cartridges.
- Use packaging materials made from recycled material, that are recyclable, and most are bio-degradable.
- Recycle all cardboard, paper, glass, metal and recyclable plastic in their facility.