Pablo Friedlander wants to restore the Tabaquillo tree, native to high altitude regions of central Argentina in the Champaqui mountain reserve, in the Traslasierra Valley.
To raise funds for the project he has created a tea using wild herbs from the Champaqui Mountain, blended with yerba mate.
Friedlander met Dash Lilley, co-founder, Beyond Alcohol, in London two years ago, who then came onboard as a co-founder to create Champatea, to raise awareness of the reforestation project after seeing the mountain reserve in person.
He told BeverageDaily the mountain forests collect moisture from rain and mist, replenishing clean water systems and sustaining life in the forest. However decades of cattle farming, deforestation and forest fires have removed vast Tabaquillo forests and severely damaged the ecosystem.
“Without them rainwater has no way to be stored, filtered or redistributed but instead contributes to flooding and soil erosion. Without these trees, wild herbs would not grow in abundance and there would be no such thing as Champatea,” he said.
The way ‘Milking the Clouds’ works is through volunteers who regenerate the landscape by collecting seeds, prepare them for germination, wait for them to sprout, then take them to be planted in the high forests of the mountain reserve.
It is the highest reforestation project in Argentina, restoring almost dry natural water irrigation systems, and the project leaders rely on funds to continue the project, through donations and now sales of Champatea.
Herbs that go into the tea include; muña-muña, known for its medicinal and aromatic properties, marcela which has a calming effect, carqueja, used to cleanse the liver, tomillo which is energizing, contrayerba, peperina, doradilla, and yerba mate.
‘Milking the Cloud’ has already planted 17,000 trees and in June this year it successfully raised £30,605 with 66 supporters.
“With this amount of funding we can train additional rangers and volunteers, double our educational workshop activity and build our own herb drying facility at Champaqui,” said Friedlander.
“Our mission is to restore damaged 'cloud forest' and educate local communities to the importance of this environment and the value of native plants.
“We do this by working in unison with the registered charities TreeAngle Foundation (UK) & Foundation of Biospheric Activities (Argentina) who plant thousands of native trees (tabaquillos - Polylepis australis & white mesquite - Prosopis albae) in strategic mountain locations. “
Lilley added, it has so far created a limited edition run of 1,000 Champatea collectable tins, which are sold online and it has distributors in Ibiza and the UK and soon to be Buenos Aires and Miami, US.
Beyond Alcohol is also about to launch Three Spirits beverage drink, as an alternative to non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.
Champatea was exhibiting at Amorevore Food & Arts Festival in Ibiza (October 26-28, 2018).