Guatemala Cloud Forest (organic) (BG01)
There is only one tea garden in Guatemala and its tea along with coffee, quinine and macadamia, is grown by James and Olga Hazard on their tropical nature reserve high in the Andes. Sale of these crops supports the Los Andes Private Nature Reserve on the southern slopes of the Atitlán volcano overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The total area is 630 hectares and primary forest is still conserved on more than 60% of the land. The Reserve is particularly visited by intrepid tourists for its varied bird life including the endangered Resplendent Quetzel.
The soil is volcanic, very fertile and well drained, between 2,500 and 6,000 feet above sea level, and with abundant rainfall. Tea seed was brought from India and Africa during the 1950’s and grew well as Los Andes has similar conditions to those of other areas in the world where tea of good quality is produced.
Sustainable organic and ecological processes are used for all the Los Andes crops. Electricity used in tea manufacture is mini-hydro generated on the Reserve. At present there are 23 hectares of “Tea Gardens” and from 2004 the production is certified as 100% organic (NOP/USDA, BCS Oko-Garantie).
In Guatemala the tea harvest season is from May to December.
Since 2001, when the whole property was registered as a Private Nature Reserve with the government authorities (CONAP), and with the help of their children, the Hazard family has turned its efforts toward ensuring the future of the Reserve’s workers and the preservation of its environment. A community of 50 families live on the Reserve and the company, Los Andes, S.A. provides schooling and medical services to them as well as employment opportunities.
We import Finca Los Andes tea direct from James and Olga. It is a rotorvane orthodox black tea of BOP grade and, apart from its fascinating history and environmental credentials, gives a good flavoured and coloury cup that can take milk well if required.