Michael Tyler

Coca Tea

3 of 13

An essential
drink when traveling in the Andes, coca tea is prepared simply by pouring hot
water over fresh coca leaves and sweetening to taste. It’s a delicious way to
hydrate in the dry, thin air, and its stimulant properties (about as strong as
a good cup of coffee) help fight altitude sickness. It’s sold widely and
cheaply everywhere in the region, so you could easily get used to keeping a bag
of leaves handy—but U.S. law takes a zero-tolerance approach to the molecules
of potential cocaine inside.

World's Strangest Illegal Souvenirs

Coca Tea

An essential
drink when traveling in the Andes, coca tea is prepared simply by pouring hot
water over fresh coca leaves and sweetening to taste. It’s a delicious way to
hydrate in the dry, thin air, and its stimulant properties (about as strong as
a good cup of coffee) help fight altitude sickness. It’s sold widely and
cheaply everywhere in the region, so you could easily get used to keeping a bag
of leaves handy—but U.S. law takes a zero-tolerance approach to the molecules
of potential cocaine inside.

Michael Tyler

World's Strangest Illegal Souvenirs

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