The Drinks Business
The extreme altitude of La Paz will often lead directly to altitude sickness, but the natural remedy of chewing on coca plant leaves is reportedly unpalatable at best, utterly disgusting at worst. Looking to make the leaf less cringe-worthy, a beer has been created that has all the benefits of coca leaves without the terrible flavor.
With many of Bolivia’s main cities, including Sucre and La Paz, situated at high altitude visitors can often suffer the sickness, known locally as “soroche“.
Many people living along the Andes mountains have chewed on coca plant leaves to deal with the altitude and visitors to cities such as La Paz, which is located 3,600 metres above sea level, often rest and drink coca tea to deal with soroche.
But Cerveceria Vicos, a brewery based in the city of Sucre, has developed a coca beer called Ch’ama, which is made from malt, yeast, hops and soaked coca leaves, with no additives or preservatives.
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