Avocado tree leaves have traditionally been brewed and consumed as a home remedy in Central American and Mexican households for centuries. Raw, bagged leaves can be bought online today, but it hasn’t been a commercialized product in the tea market until now.
Inspired by 600 avocado trees
Sharon Colona and Scott Wibbenmeyer wanted to buy a home in Temecula, California to be closer to their son, but the estate they purchased came with 600 avocado trees. While they were learning how to care for their new grove and farm avocados, Colona began researching uses for its leaves.
She found its history in tea and realized there was a whitespace for it in the pre-bagged market, particularly appealing to health-driven consumers. Avocado leaves are a good source of antioxidants, flavonoids, polyphenols and terpenes, with the possibility to increase serotonin levels.
"Our revolutionary new tea process advances the ancient Aztec & Mayan uses that date back to the 13th century of boiling whole avocado leaves to extract their natural health benefits,” the couple said.
Colona and Wibbenmeyer went through more than 30 versions before settling on a finished product, and co-founded Avocado Leaf Tea. It officially launched on Amazon and the company website in May.
"Originally we thought our website had been hacked because we hadn't started our marketing efforts yet. We were getting hundreds of requests per hour from all around the world. Singapore, Malta, England, Laos, India, Bhutan and more. We can't wait for the world to taste our tea," Colona said.
The aroma of the avocado grove
The leaves are hand-picked on the couple’s land in Temecula. They decided to launch with five varieties--Natural, Black, Chamomile, Lemon and Peach. All are naturally decaffeinated except the Black, and each package comes with 15 tea bags, which are good for two cups of tea each.
“It's rustic, smooth, and when the aroma of the tea hit me, it smelled exactly like the breeze at our grove that brings with it the fresh scent of the avocado trees,” Colona said.
Colona and Wibbenmeyer displayed the beverage at the Summer Fancy Food show in New York City last week. They were fresh off a win for People’s Choice Best Hot Bagged Tea at the World Tea Expo in Las Vegas in early June.
The duo have done their research and don't believe a tea like theirs exists in a packaged format anywhere else in the world. “We’ve got a patent pending on the process to get it into the bag, because it’s a really interesting leaf and you can’t treat it like a normal tea,” Wibbenmeyer said.
They have used the recent tradeshows to talk to grocery stores, distributors and partners about rolling out in brick-and-mortar locations, but don’t have any firm launch plans yet.
“Education of this is important. Most of our work is explaining what it is and trying to get that word out because it doesn’t exist. It has this beautiful place in history, it has a base and a story and it’s kind of the newest old tea out there,” Wibbenmeyer said.
The company is also exploring opportunities to blend their tea flavor into existing food products, and Wibbenmeyer emphasized that they are open to building off their product with all kinds of innovations.