Té Hacienda Sangay: Purveyors of fine tea

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Palora’s tea is unique. Fernando Castillo explains, “it has qualities that no other tea in the world has: a sweet, nutty nuance; a particular aroma and the fact that many clients from many different countries seek us out speaks for itself. They know they are dealing with something special.”

Russia, Malaysia, the United States, Costa Rica… these are some of the destinations – tea-producing destinations, in fact – that value the distinction and have taken Palora’s Ecuadorian tea to travel the world. The farm and company, encompassed in the acronym CETCA (Ecuadorian Tea Company), is one of the most important in the entire northwestern region of South America and the only tea-producing facility located in the glorious Amazon Basin for over fifty years, having been founded by English entrepreneurs in 1968.

Fernando’s father comes from Otavalo and his mother from Puerto Rico. Fernando grew up on the Caribbean Island and arrived in Ecuador with his family in 2012. Today, he runs both the company and the farm, which his father had the vision to buy in 2007.

“This line of work,” he explains, “is a constant learning process. Not only because of the very nature of tea-producttion: the process of making tea is always teaching you new things, but you also want to improve, be more competitive, increase quality.” Innovative projects are underway to promote the most ecological and sustainable production in the region. At the same time, the factory and farm, located in the lush surroundings of the Amazonian town of Palora, are open to tourism, where visitors can discover tea-making and more.

Producing fine tea requires great care. While processes are being industrialized with new technologies elsewhere, for Fernando, quality lies in the details… “There are massive tea producers that ‘technify’ everything,” he explains, “they use robots, downsize to create more products with the lowest possible cost. In tea, that is very difficult and sometimes counterproductive. Because as technology obsessed as we may be, we must respect cycles, we must be able to consider the quality of every leaf we use; this requires manual, artisanal, labor, which you will perceive in the final product. The quality of the other teas is much lower than ours, and it shows.”

CONTACT
Avenida Interoceánica Km 21 1/2 y Pasaje Guachamin.
(+593 2) 389 5691 / 389 5837
www.tedelecuador.com
Photos: Jorge Vinueza

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