TEMECULA, CALIF. Avocado Leaf Tea made a strong debut earlier this year. The new company won a bronze medal in the Global Tea Championship’s Loose/Small Batch/Single Serve competition in Feb. 2019 in the Single Serve/Herbal category, and then went on to win first place in its category in the People’s Tea Choice Awards at the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas in June. Co-Owner Sharon Colona delved into what makes this tea special.
Discovering the Avocado Leaf
In Dec. 2017, Colona and her husband, Scott Wibbenmeyer, who are from St. Louis, Mo., purchased property in Temecula, Calif. to have a second home closer to their Los Angeles-based son. The Temecula property happened to have an avocado grove with 550 trees. While studying about how to take care of a grove, Colona learned about the health benefits of avocado leaves and the history of how they were prepared and consumed by the Aztecs and used in folklore medicine. She loved the taste of the leaves and noticed that no one else was selling them as tea. She then sent the leaves off to be chemically analyzed and learned they contain nearly three times the catechins as green tea. “Once I figured out how healthy the leaves were, we decided to start a tea company,” Colona said. “It’s a very healthy leaf.”
Studies show avocado leaves have additional healthful properties. ScienceDirect reported that the aqueous extract of leaves of Persea Americana Mill (Lauraceae) (avocado leaves) possess analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, based on tests on mice. A study conducted by the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil investigated the hypoglycemic properties of the leaf and results showed “The hydroalcoholic extract of the leaves of Persea americana reduced blood glucose levels and improved the metabolic state of the animals.” And these are only a few of the leaf’s benefits. Additional information regarding the leaf’s properties can be found on AvocadoLeafTea.com/blogs.health.
Preparing the Leaves for Market
Colona and Wibbenmeyer spent a year perfecting the maturation, drying and processing methods for the large, fibrous avocado leaves and achieved their goal of a tasty tea in Oct. 2018, then formed their company in Feb. 2019. “It’s very smooth; it’s less astringent than a green tea, it has a nice smooth finish,” Colona said. “The aroma is the same aroma that I get when standing in our grove and the wind is going through the trees. It’s fresh.” Colona and Wibbenmeyer have not used pesticides or herbicides on their grove and are currently in the process of working towards organic certification. The avocado leaves are processed on the Temecula property through a patent-pending method. The avocados from their grove are harvested and sold locally.
The company offers five Avocado Leaf Tea blends in biodegradable pyramid tea sachets: Natural, Chamomile, Peach, Lemon and Black Tea. The Black Tea Blend, which is mixed with organic Camellia sinensis, is the only one that contains caffeine. The flavors added to the other blends are organic compliant. The blends are currently sold on the company’s website, on Amazon and at select specialty stores in Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, California and Washington. Their food broker is currently working on getting the products into more stores, and Colona provides samples and sell sheets to new retailers to introduce them to and educate them about the new tea.
Word of this unique and healthy tea has spread quickly, as Colona has already been contacted to provide Avocado Leaf Tea for the Television Academy’s Emmy Awards gift bags this September.
“We’ve now put something out there that people have not had before and know the health benefits are so extraordinary. If nothing else, I feel really good about that,” Colona said.