Thursday my latest batch of tea from Rakkasan arrived, and since this is Sunday, I have now tasted all three of the new types. Today’s tea hails from the Andes in Colombia, near Bitaco. I can describe the Andean Black + Cacao with one word: ¡Delicioso!
When you think of Colombia, you probably think of coffee…and if you are old enough, the Juan Valdez commercials. That might be changing now that Colombia is exporting tea. Andean Black is a Colombian Black tea blended with cacao nibs from the Tumaco region of Colombia. Loving chocolate, and having rarely had a black tea that I did not like, the combination sounded intriguing and exotic. Rakkasan described it:
…sweet notes from the tea balanced with bitter cacao–is unforgettable.
The aroma is relaxing, the smell of chocolate mingled with the tea is mesmerizing, rather like when I inhale the bergamot and tea combination in Earl Grey. We are talking I just want to keep my nose in the cup. The cacao does give it a slightly bitter taste, but since that is one of my go-to favorites, I loved it, and it is a mere slight bitter, not in the least overwhelming. With the rich smoothness of the black, high-grown in the Andes at over 6,000 feet (similar to Juan Valdez’ 100% Colombian!), the tea cultivation and sales provides support and community development in conjunction with the Agricola Himalaya Foundation. In the Tumaco region, where the cacao is sourced, farmers are continuing to develop cacao production and invest in better cultivation as well as improved crops.
As I have often mentioned when writing about the Rakkasan Tea Company, they do not just sell delicious and fragrant teas. They are investing in their own future as well as the futures of post-conflict countries to develop sustainable business and improve the opportunities for the communities and their people. Colombia has been engaged in armed conflict for more than 50 years, and in large part the United States was a part of that due to the 1.5 million users who fueled the illicit market with the demand for cocaine (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2016, when the cease fire was brokered).
What’s in my cup today? A little peace and justice.