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Chai Crash Course #3 - Leatherwood Honey

The Leatherwood plant (Eucryphia lucida) is endemic to Tasmania, and you will only find true Tasmanian leatherwood honey produced in Tasmania. This pure honey is produced from untouched wilderness areas, many listed as World Heritage Sites. 

The honey is naturally organic, intensely perfumed and resinous with notes of citrus blossoms. The Chai Villain uses leatherwood honey because it tastes incredible

The addition of honey not only perfectly sweetens your drink, it also acts as a natural preservative. When spices are tempered and ground, they release their volatile essential oils. These oils have a tendency to go bitter after a few months, but the honey locks these flavourful oils in and keeps the spices fragrant indefinitely. Additionally, the honey ensures that every cup of Chai you drink tastes exactly the same because it ensures even distribution of spices and prevents the spices from settling to the bottom of the bag.

The Chai Villain sources honey from an apiary that is cruelty-free. These bees are not regularly fed inferior sugar syrups. Because they forage for nectar in World Heritage Sites, these bees are not subjected to the harmful effects of pesticides and fungicides that are rampant in the production of other varieties of honey. This ultimately means healthier hives.

Most importantly, the Leatherwood honey industry is one of the industries in Tassie that are helping to keep the timber and logging industry at bay. Apiarists need the trees to be standing proud and alive. Loggers don't. In fact, they've already cleared 80% of old growth Leatherwood forests. As it stands today, Tasmania’s 350-year old Leatherwood trees are being clear-felled to produce throwaway products. Very few leatherwood trees will remain, and only in small, hard-to-access areas.

The Tasmanian beekeeping industry accounts for $9.6 million of the Tasmanian economy but its effects reaches far wider than that. Its estimated value of $200 million is due to the fact that bees are valuable pollinators and a significant portion of Tasmania's economy depends on agriculture. In comparison, the Native Forestry industry generates $150 million in revenue. So it's plain to see that the honey business is big business.

The Tasmanian forestry industry and unions have agreed to the protection of key Leatherwood forests through the historic Tasmanian Forest Agreement. However, there is always the risk of this agreement being overturned. One way to prevent further destruction of these delicate and unique habitats is to support Leatherwood Honey production. You can also make a donation to The Wilderness Society here.

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