Olive Leaf Tea

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Caj Lista Masline

To make caj lista masline (olive leave tea), olive leaves are dried, cut, and ground. This is added to boiling water with sugar or honey, and consumed hot or cold. Often, a bit of lemon or orange juice is also added. In Croatia, this tea is specific to the Dalmatian region, mostly made in the southern coastal area, such as the island of Korcula, where the olive leaf tea, known for its health benefits, is consumed to spark energy levels and keep the immune system strong. It is recommended be drunk in limited daily quantities. Olive tree leaves are considered to have many medicinal qualities, including antibacterial properties. There are two times a year considered best for picking olive leaves for tea: at the end of summer and the period of late winter. The leaves are not picked while the olive tree is in bloom. The leaves used on the island of Korcula are from the local olive tree varieties called Lastovka and Drobnica. Both are considered indigenous Croatian varieties and are included in the List of Varieties of the Republic of Croatia (published by Croatian Centre for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Institute for Seed and Seedlings). Both varieties are also used on the island for making the local olive oil variety called Torkul. Due to favorable geographical conditions, olive production in Croatia has a long tradition. We can only make assumptions on when the olive leaves were first used in the manner of tea making, but according to local producers, the tea has been made for generations. Annually, about 5000 boxes containing 25 grams of tea each have been produced and packaged for sale in the area in local traditional food shops by one commercial producer. Few families still collect and prepare the olive leaf tea at home, as many traditional recipes and their health benefits have been forgotten over time.

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