Join me as I try Colombia's famous té de coca, an herbal tea made from the raw dried leaves of South America's coca plant. Watch more of our videos on YouTube and Facebook.
Take Medellin's famous 20 minute cable car over 8,000 feet in elevation and you'll reach Parque Arvi, an ecological nature preserve that spans over 40,000 acres.
Up here you'll find a local market, beautiful lakes to spend the day, over 54 miles of hiking and biking trails, and even a butterfly house.
You'll also find a small tea house called the Ancestral Hierba Buena which is where I'm going to take you today to try Colombia's famous Te con Coca, an herbal tea made from the raw dried leaves of South America's coca plant.
The leaves of the coca plant contain alkaloids which, when extracted chemically, are the source for cocaine. However, the amount of coca alkaloid in the raw leaves is small and one gram of leaves typically only contains about 4 milligrams of alkaloids, which in comparison, a line of cocaine can contain between 20 and 30 milligrams. Due to these alkaloids, coca tea is a mild stimulant which can be compared to drinking a strong cup of coffee or caffeinated tea.
Careful if you've got a job because although the quantity of alkaloids are small in this tea, they can be enough to cause a positive result on a drug test for cocaine!
“So I'm in Parque Arvi, and we took the cable car to the top. And I'm in a small cafe called the Ancestral Hierba Buena. And this is my first time trying te de coca, which you might be familiar with what this can turn into, but it's not that. It's just, for right now, a plant that can give you a lot of energy.”
“Here's the tea – let's take a look at it.”
“It smells, well, it smells like plant tea. It's hard to describe. It's not too sweet – but it's a little bit sweet.”
Sips tea again…
“Not bad. I wish I could give you a better description of it but I'm not a big tea drinker. But, it's not too sweet and not too bitter. It's something in between. When I finish this, I'll take another video because I should be running around like crazy with all the energy I've got.”
10 minutes later…
“And that was my first time trying tea de coca and I feel great. I don't really know how to describe it. But anyway we're going to get on with this hike, so I'll catch you guys later. Thanks for watching this video.”