Peru’s tea industry is gradually expanding after decades of decline. Tea drinking has grown in popularity, but due to social and political problems and the economic crisis, commercial production in the late 1990s began a seemingly endless decline, compounded by bad administrative management and the arrival of less expensive Argentine tea. In the ten years since 2011, Peru’s tea market has increased 61% by value.
Knowledge of how tea is grown and processed came naturally to fourth-generation Argentine grower Carolina Okulovich but she observed that was not so for the tourists and visitors to the farm who found tea cultivation and processing fascinating. That was how the idea arose to create a learning experience for visitors touring the 15 hectares known as La Ruta del Té.
Tea in Colombia was first planted 75 years ago. Joaquín Llano González and his son, Alberto Llano Buenaventura, became the first commercial tea growers and their farms La Sofía and Hacienda Himalaya, located in the mountains of the western Andes above the Pacific Coast, continue producing Colombia’s sole domestically grown brands.
The Bolivian government has invested in tea production as part of its Poverty Alleviation Program leading to the creation of ecological brands pioneered by ChaiMaté Tea, an IMO certified supplier producing teas competitive for export.
Chileans drink an average of 427 cups of tea a year, more than any South American country and almost as much per capita as the Chinese, placing them among the top 20 tea consuming countries.
Uniquely positioned in the southern hemisphere where the harvest will soon be underway, Argentina is one of the world’s great tea producing nations. The first few months of the November 2019 harvest were very rainy. Growers report achieving normal volumes of good quality black tea for export.