Organic Los Andes

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ORGANIC LOS ANDES - GUATEMALA
(Organic Estate Black Tea)
Country of Origin: Guatemala
Region: Suchitepequez
Shipping Port: Puerto Barrios
Altitude: 1500 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: Orthodox
Grade: OF (Orange Fannings)
Cup Characteristics: Tending full-bodied Assam-like notes of malt. Finish is lightly astringent.
Infusion: Bright and Coppery
Ingredients: Luxury organic black tea
Certified Organic by QMI Organic Inc.
Certificate #: 150 - 2008
Information:
The national motto of Guatemala reads, “El Pais De La Eterna Primavera". In English the phrase means "The Country of The Eternal Spring”. It is the climate associated with this eternal spring that makes the mountainous regions of the country ideal for growing coffee, bananas, and less commonly, tea. And it is the blossoming of Spring flowers that one is instantly reminded of when the tea pluckers of Los Andes are seen drifting through the estate’s gardens draped in their brightly colored red and yellow clothing. Like their counterparts in the Eastern World, the pluckers of Los Andes endeavor to pick only the top two leaves and bud of the dark green leaves. Aside from some small operations in Brazil, Guatemala is the only country in the Western World that still grows tea in any meaningful capacity, and the majority of that production takes place at this lush and exceptionally beautiful estate.
Total production at Los Andes, located high in the mountains straddling the regions of Antigua and Lago Atitlan, has stabilized in recent years at around 90 tons per annum. (Coffee is still the estate’s main crop.) Interestingly, about half of the raw leaf produced at Los Andes is grown in their own gardens, with the remainder grown by smaller-scale farmers in the surrounding villages. The arrangement works quite well - the plantation managers of Los Andes travel to the various farms to ensure that production standards remain high, and organic methods are adhered to. The arrangement also works well in that these smaller farmers are afforded the ability to sustain their families in a traditional agrarian lifestyle.
More than just Latin America’s only real tea plantation, Los Andes is called home by hundreds of people. As such, the management of the estate is very committed to the social development, education, and health care of its workers. One example of this care is the pre-school that was opened in recent years to compliment the estate’s existing junior and senior schools. Since opening, enrollment at the pre-school has grown from 20 students to around 70.
But what about the cup? Well, the tea produced at Los Andes has a pleasing astringency and nice full body, with subtle floral undertones. The profile of the tea opens wonderfully with a splash of milk and a pinch of sugar. Cup some for yourself  today and taste the flavor of Guatemala’s eternal springtime. Salud!
Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 teaspoon of tea for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea). Even though milk and a dash of sugar help enhance the flavor character on this tea, it is perfectly acceptable to consume this tea ‘straight-up’
Iced tea-brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water]. Please note that this tea may tend to go cloudy or ‘milky’ when poured over ice; a perfectly normal characteristic of some high quality black teas and nothing to worry about!

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