Guayakí Yerba Mate - A Powerful Rainforest Experience
The Guayaki Mate Cafe
The Guayaki Mate Bar (Review) is conveniently located in the Barlow in downtown Sebastopol. This unique ‘jungle lounge’ blends authentic South American yerba mate culture with delicious local artisan cuisine. Although the focus is on the celebration of yerba mate and its community-oriented culture, the Guayaki Mate Bar also offers a creative food menu that features light and healthy organic fare with ‘something for everyone’ including delicious gluten-free, wheat-free and vegan options.
The Mate Bar drink menu includes a wide variety of tasty organic yerba mate beverage styles such as mate lattes, cappuccino mate, mate mocha, mate chai, spicy mayan mocha mate, mate shakes, espresso shots, iced mate (seasonal), and drip brewed mate. Since a key objective is to help others discover the joy of sharing yerba mate, it is only natural that one of the features at the Mate Bar is traditional yerba mate sipped from a gourd and bombilla. You can even bring in your own gourd and the experienced staff will provide helpful advice.
The gourd ritual was established centuries ago as a symbol of hospitality. Tomando mate (drinking mate) inspires openness between those in the drinking circle, and this communal spirit allows the mate to do more than just nourish and energize bodies and minds. As the mate gourd is passed around, a sense of connection emerges. Typically, the cebador (mate server) prepares mate for a group of friends. The cebador drinks first, testing the waters to ensure that only a smooth running mate is shared. Then the gourd is refilled with water and passed counter-clockwise with the bombilla (straw-filter) facing the recipient. Each person drinks the entire gourd. After the last sip is gone, the gourd is returned with the bombilla facing the cebador. The gourd is refilled with hot water and follows the circle, continuing until the mate is lavado (flat).
A colorful rainforest mural greets guests at the outdoor entrance, and the interior of the new Mate Bar exudes a calm elegance due to an abundance of lush green plants and sustainable and natural building materials. The décor features beautiful sculptures created by indigenous artists, as well as photos of the Guayaki Ache tribe, a proud and resilient native people that the company is named after and partners with in South America. Striving to have their customers share a closer relationship with the source of the shade-grown mate they are sipping, the wall hangings also include color maps that identify the rainforest regions where Guayaki’s healthy yerba mate products are sustainably harvested.
Locally Sourced Organic Food –Worldwide ‘Community’ Vibe
The Guayaki Mate Bar is intended to provide a vibrant and lush ‘oasis’ that offers a delicious and healthy experience based on positive community principles. The local community is a remarkable resource for artisan foods and crafts, and the Mate Bar celebrates a wide variety of local goods on the menu including delights from a seaweed harvester, chocolatier, Straus Family Creamery, Grindstone Bakery and a wide variety of seasonal local produce and cheeses from Sonoma Organics. Guayaki has also benefited from the skill of local artists and craftsmen that have created much of the furniture, cabinetry, flooring and other woodwork from recycled or sustainably harvested materials. For example, the table rounds and a beautiful bench are made from locally reclaimed “barn” redwood, and the stools are crafted from sustainable rubberwood trees.
Yerba Mate - A Healthier Buzz from ‘Nature’s Perfect Stimulant’
Centuries ago, indigenous people in the rainforest of South America discovered that the leaves of the yerba mate tree boosted and sustained their energy and well-being. The plant became a staple of their diet and the base for their medicines. Now, science is backing up their traditional beliefs. A new compilation of research published in the November issue of the Journal of Food Science details yerba mate’s many health attributes. The new report notes that yerba mate possesses a much higher antioxidant capacity than green tea, and highlights how research has found mate to be hypocholesterolemic, hepatoprotective and of benefit to the cardiovascular system. A ‘whole herb’ that offers adaptogenic properties, yerba mate contains 196 active compounds including 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, 11 polyphenols and saponins (phytochemicals that bolster the immune system).
About Guayaki Sustainable Rainforest Products
A decade ago, David Karr and Alex Pryor were college friends that dreamed of starting a ‘positive’ business that could be profitable and also help the rainforests of South America and the indigenous people. The two social entrepreneurs brought their beloved yerba mate, an invigorating rainforest drink cherished as a social custom and base of herbal medicine in South American communities, to the North American marketplace. Now, their company is the leading brand with products sold at thousands of stores and restaurants across the continent.
Guayaki offers only shade-grown yerba mate that is certified organic, fairly traded and sustainable. The award winning company’s Market Driven Restoration business model empowers consumers to “vote with their dollars.” By purchasing Guayaki Yerba Mate, customers help support reforestation and improve economic conditions of the farmers and indigenous communities that supply Guayaki - which is involved with several reforestation projects in Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil.