Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Don't take away my coca tea!

It is pretty hard to keep a steady supply of Coca tea. The usual way to do it is to buy a big box when you happen to be in Bolivia and hope that nobody is going to care at the customs. Fortunately, I have never had my coca tea taken, nor I met someone else who had that problem.

Of course it would be nice to be able to buy coca tea at Albert Heijn, Dirk van de Broek, Konmar, Lidl or Aldi. However, coca leaves or their products are not present in international trade so exporting coca tea does not seem easy. This is something that the Bolivian government wants to fix. They want to convince the international community of the legitimate benefits of coca leaves so that these can be exported.

The campaign of the government will be pretty hard, considering that many people, when you invite them a warm cup of coca tea, think you are offering them a drug, no thanks they say.

This campaign will have to be backed by serious studies. Some time ago, the foreign affairs minister suggested that coca was so nutritious that it should be part of school breakfast. This statement obviously sparked a big debate (and some wacky ideas). More recently, two studies (mentioned in La Razon here and here) brought up negative points about natural consumption of coca. The first study stated that coca has no nutritious value, the second study tried to make a closer link between coca and cocaine. This last study, tested the levels of benzoylecgonine in three user groups of coca: coca tea drinkers, coca chewers and cocaine consumers. Wikipedia tells us that this substance is produced from cocaine by the liver. More amazing, some people tested for this substance in the Po river in Italy to estimate the number of cocaine consumers down there. Going back to the study, the levels of benzoylecgonine could not be used to differentiate between the three groups of consumers. What can we tell from it? Well, that we cannot differentiate between the three groups using this substance!!! However, the newspaper and the spokesman taint without further discussion the image of coca tea drinkers and chewers using this similarity with cocaine consumers. That makes me angry as a coca tea drinker. Such strong statements need a more elaborate explanation. I will download those papers, if I find them, to see what's all that about.

On the other hand, I do not contest the conclusions of the first study. I never intended to use coca as a diet supplement. I am happy enough using it as tea.

...and please buy my soya

I already posted about the "loss of the soya market" in Colombia. After reading a few articles, I understand now that Bolivia could previously sell soya to the Colombian market paying no import fees. That is unlike other big soya producers such as Argentina and Brazil who could not easily compete because of the import fees. Now this advantage is gone, since the US might be able to sell their soya production paying zero fees as well. Now, the government is frantically looking for solutions to this impasse, while soya producers happily bark at their black future.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Dario said...

mmh, i would also like to try coca tea...and see if i would be as active as you are!;)

what about selling soya to the chinese? they are so many...even if they produce it as well they may still need it, isnn't it?

ciao!

1:49 PM  
Blogger metka said...

Regarding the coca tea and foreigners’ attitude to it, I found an interesting example of the Slovenian president when he was on the official visit for the inauguration on Morales. He drank coca tea and like expected this didn’t remain unnoticed in our small conservative society. And here comes the reply of our president to such remarks (these are not his words since I had to translate it for you): “I respect old Indian traditions (my remark: Indian is not a derogatory term in our language as for some might be). Drinking coca tea is one of them. First, I had prejudice against the tea but at the 4000 m altitude everyone drinks it. It is the best medicine against altitude sickness that can be quite uncomfortable. When Bolivian ambassador in New York said that coca tea will be the first thing on the table in La Paz, I shrugged with my shoulders and thought that I won’t do it. But when we landed on 4070 metres altitude and after the starting protocol in the hotel the Bolivian minister asked me whether they can serve the tea, then it sounded completely different. We all felt altitude sickness. And this tea helps. I reassured myself. Practically everyone, locals, foreign diplomats or congress members, they all drink coca tea. And this is completely common. This is part of culture and way of living. Therefore, I agree with the Bolivian president Evo Morales that this old tradition needs to be preserved. This has nothing to do cocaine. At the inauguration speech Morales strongly announced fight against drugs and offered cooperation with the USA. But this has nothing to do with an ancient tradition of coca tea. This has to be preserved.”

11:11 AM  
Blogger Alexey said...

Hey Dario! I can send you some of my baggies if you want them :). About selling soya to the Chinese, Evo Morales already proposed it. The soya businessmen, however, don't like this idea. According to them, the transportation costs are too high while the prices in the Chinese market are too low. Also, the fact that China wants the beans and not derived products such as oil and "soya-cake" is a turn off for some soya tycoons. It is possible that Bolivia is not competitive enough yet, since Brazilians are already selling soya to the Chinese despite the market conditions.

10:16 PM  
Blogger Alexey said...

Hi Metka! Nice excerpt, I am going to link it from the main page. Cheers!

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can buy coca tea at EBay, I think Windsor from Bolivia is the best (peruvian teas taste funny and don't taste as pure as Bolivian) I ordered I box and arrived safe to my door.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Alexey said...

anonymous, thanks for the tip!

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is a web page http://www.mysteriousbolivia.com

they have coca tea Windsor and Lupi , they ship worldwide , I just got my first box delivered and it is delicious!!
they have 20, 50 100 bags available
mysteriousbolivia.com

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ebay does not accept more listings for coca tea , something about their policy , but http://www.mysteriousbolivia.com

has a variety of bolivian teas.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just ordered Lupi coca tea from Mysterious Bolivia. I hope it tastes better than peruvian Delissi tea, as that upsets my stomach. hovercraft@comcast.net

5:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so?... witch one is better , the Bolivian or peruvian?. I'm very curious to know

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just to let you folks know the site http://www.mysteriousbolivia.com is really ripping people off... the box of 100 bags that they sell at an astounding 30 dollars goes for 2 dollars in La Paz! better to save up and go there yourself, it's very very cheap...

7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

add to the 2 dollars 25 mailing charge per box by EMS to the United States and $ 3- 5 to mail it with in the United States and you have more than $30!
Add to that Custom forms ,Custom inspections, FELCN inspections , Import - Export taxes , sale taxes , etc... wow! the price keeps increasing!
Attorney fees , Web page hosting , credit card processing , customer service , processing , etc....... or pay over a Thousand to get a round trip to Bolivia and buy it yourself!
It's just logical business analysis, you don't need to be a genius to know that products coming from overseas incur in extra costs that increase the price!
C.B.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been very satisfied with both the quality of the "Macmate" brand of coca tea and the quality of service that C.B has given me. I will remain a loyal customer. A friend of mine in Peru can buy only a few boxes to send me at a time. Sure she can get Windsor tea for $3.00/box,but it's also a lot of trouble for her to send it. If I paid her for her efforts, it would be the same money spent and it would take 2 weeks or more.
Mysterious Bolivia has the product in the U.S and I can get my order in 3-5 days.
Brian V.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous hernan said...

Well my friends my company www.matedecocabolivia.com was selling mate de coca Windsor from Bolivia normally on Ebay for the price of $us 17.80 deliver to your door steps until some one from the competition let Ebay know about this business and they close me down. We still selling the mate at the price of $us 19.80 deliver straight from La Paz Bolivia , this way we assure the fressness of the product.
Same mate is selling at amazon.com for the price of $33.00 plus shipping. Compare before you buy.
Thanks from Bolivia
Hernan

8:42 PM  
Anonymous NOM NOM NOM said...

cant wait to get this stuff so I got a nice alibi.

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It helps my ADD which it's healthier then vyvanse which is a prescription drug can actually kill you

9:40 PM  
Blogger Nutri Peru said...

Mate de Coca consumption has many benefits: Energize The Body, Stimulate Mental Alertness, Aid Weight Loss, Gentle Diuretic, Relieve Stress, Calm Allergies, Help the Immune System. Order your coca tea today from NutriPeru.com.

1:05 PM  
Blogger sophia said...

Does anyone know where I can buy Windsor coca tea other than from mysterious Bolivia?Mysterious Bolivia is selling the box way over priced plus shipping comes out to $80 bucks....um no thanks!!

1:41 PM  
Blogger marty said...

"Everything made by God is good, it is made holy by The Word of God and prayer."
1 Tim 4:4-5

I am asking The Lord Jesus if He will help undo these evil laws, for the glory of His name. I am glad to see more people are coming to realize that this is a good plant.

Praise God

8:21 PM  

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