The “Labyrinthe En-Champ-Thé”
Perched at an altitude of more than 1100 meters, the plateau of Grand Coude shelters some of the richness of Reunion Island. Located in the heights of Saint-Joseph, this village of 600 inhabitants draws its authenticity from its various agricultural activities and more particularly from its tea production. Not far from the entrance of the village is the Labyrinthe En-Champ-Thé, the first French organic tea producer. Surrounded by huge tea forests, the farm draws its uniqueness from its young, very fertile volcanic soil. Indeed, Grand-Coude is the closest inhabited village to the Piton de la Fournaise, the third most active volcano in the world.
That day, rain and fog dominate the sky, plunging us into a particular atmosphere. In the distance, a man, about two meters tall, waves to me. It is Johny, the owner of the farm. When he took over the land from his elders in 2005, he was faced with a big dilemma: tea growing was no longer recognized in French agriculture. Considered then as wasteland, it is only in 2014 that Johny will be able to make his tea a unique dish. Today, his tea, certified organic, is recognized worldwide as one of the best. Besides, Johny also produces rose geranium essential oil, also qualified as one of the best in the world.