I did not know eucalyptus can grow in Turkey. I found out a few days ago when a trip with friends took me to Gökova a district in the Mediterranean region. In the 1930ies, there were plenty of swamps in the area, and malaria was widespread. Many lives were lost, including those of children. The governor of the town pledged to get rid of swamps and malaria. In collaboration with the local people and with help from a local poet, Eucalyptus seeds were brought over from Australia and planted around the wetlands. I remember that Eucalyptus trees require a lot of water and they were expected to draw the water from the swamps. The initiative proved successful, and malaria disappeared with vanishing swamps. When I visited Gökova last week, most trees had reached 20 meters height and looked beautiful. I also managed to source some Eucalyptus leaves to make tea.
It was the first time I have ever tasted eucalyptus, and I found its taste mild and somewhere between mint and lemon balm. Due to the minty character, it was quite refreshing, and I felt that it could go sour if it is left long for steeping. Eucalyptus (especially the oil made out of its leaves) has been incorporated into folk medicine in many countries and civilisations. According to this source, it has antimicrobial properties, can ease colds and respiratory problems and provide relief amongst other benefits. I was surprised to read that it was also insect repellent which might have contributed to the termination of Malaria in Gökova too. Who knows?
Origin: Gökova, Turkey
Harvest time: 2020
Leave colour: Tones of green
Liquor colour: Light yellow
Tea aroma: Minty
Tea taste: Refreshing with a minty and lemony edge
Steeping/brewing: Infuse about 2 gr of dry leaves in100°C water for about 3 minutes.
Shelf life: Up to 2 years