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A tradition of more than five minutes

In Misiones, the cultivation of tea is a tradition that goes back to its first immigrants. We tell you how it was changing from generation to generation.


Everyone remembers the classic tea  propaganda  that said, “I take five minutes, I drink tea.” This showed the infusion in a sachet as a necessary little pause in people's daily lives. Having a tea involved only 5 minutes of her time. However, it took much more time to develop it.  It was the product of a long history of teachings and learning between parents and children , of tradition, of trial and error. Tea has a very distant origin in time and space. We talk about  China , then Europe, and, one day, Missions. At first it was artisanal. Today it is one of the most technologically advanced national industries in the world.

 Brief history of tea: from China to Misiones 

We're moving to China. The  birth of tea  dates back to 2737 BC. C. with Emperor Shen-Nung, who, according to the legend, drank only boiled water for safety and hygiene. One day, while Shen rested under a wild tea tree, some leaves fell into boiling water. By chance, this ancient and delicious brew was born.

Later, the habit of drinking tea was moved to Japan by Buddhist monks. From there, tea spread throughout the West. Queen Catherine's taste for this infusion made it a royal drink. So, in England, tea was the most popular drink, even more than beer and gin.

In 1923, the Ukrainian priest Tijón Hnatiuk arrived in the province of Misiones, specifically in Colonia Tres Capones. Hnatiuk had brought a pack of Camellia Sinensis seeds as a gift for her family.  His brother Wladimiro Hnatiuk planted the first tea plant on the red soil of Misiones . The Hnatiuk family unknowingly gave rise to a tradition and a thriving regional industry.

Today, tea is the most consumed  drink  after water. Argentina has a  c  l ub and even a Tea Route. Misiones, on the other hand, is the southernmost tea-producing region in the world. Only in this province 95% of tea from our country is produced.

 A legacy that didn't come out of books 

The  first  generation of missionary immigrants brought the tea plant and began to cultivate it rudimentarily. It was the decades of the 20th and 30th, when Ukrainians, Poles, Germans and Russians met the red land. At that time, the young settlers harvested the plant by hand, with pockets on their shoulders.  It was hard and exhausting work. There were no machines, the whole process was manual.  

Over the years, the knowledge of the first settlers was passed on oral to their children. It was they who incorporated sophisticated machinery and technology into the family tradition. At present, the tea industry does not require manual contact with the plant. Everything is highly machined. This has made Argentina one of the top 10 producing countries of tea in volume. All thanks to a missionary tradition that lasted a little more than  5 minutes .

Publication Date: 30/07/2020

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