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Guayakí Yerba Mate - A Powerful Rainforest Experience

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Yerba mate
is a tea-like beverage made from the leaves and tender stems of a powerful rainforest tree, discovered centuries ago by the indigenous people in South America. 

It is native to the subtropical rainforests of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina.  Revered as the “drink of the gods” and consumed to ensure health, vitality, and longevity, yerba mate triumphs as nature’s most balanced stimulant. 

The leaves of the yerba mate tree contain 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, abundant antioxidants and naturally occurring caffeine.

Of the six commonly used stimulants in the world:  mate, coffee, tea, kola nut, cocoa, and guarana, yerba mate is the healthiest, delivering both energy and nutrition.

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Yerba Mate – Healthy Energy Beverage

100% Organic Energy Fueled by Vitamins and Nutrients – Higher Antioxidant Levels than even Green Tea

Induces Mental Clarity
Sustains Energy Levels/Reduce Fatigue
Aids in Weight Control
Aids in Elimination
Fights Bad Breath

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Guayakí Yerba Mate began as a college senior project in 1996.  It was at Cal Poly University, in San Luis Obispo, California, that the founders of Guayaki first met.  Alex Pryor, from Argentina and David Karr, from California, quickly became friends as they sipped mate.  

The energy of the mate captivated them both and a vision crystallized:  to create a new restorative business model. Rainforest mate would be the new currency fueling reforestation projects and providing income for the indigenous people. The vision became a passion which grew into a business. 

The business would bring the legendary mate to the world at a time when people were thirsty for a health energy beverage.  This business would inspire the hearts of people worldwide to believe that business can go beyond profits, that it can drive positive social and environmental change.

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There are currently two schools of thought regarding the stimulant in yerba mate. Recent scientific research suggests that the stimulant in yerba mate is caffeine; however, caffeine-sensitive individuals do not experience the harsh side effects (jitters, stomach upset, headaches, addiction) that are common complaints with coffee, black tea, or Asian green tea.

It is important to note that yerba mate provides a wealth of nutrition in the form of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants, all of which may contribute to the "good" energy most people associate with yerba mate.
The term "mateine" has been used to refer to the stimulant in yerba mate. Some researchers feel that the stimulating compound in yerba mate does differ from caffeine. We have elected to use the phrase "Naturally Caffeinated" to share the most accurate scientific information currently available. Guayakí is still dedicated to furthering the research in this area, and we will continue to keep you well informed about any discoveries we make.

Energy Meter


CLICK HERE to use our caffeine meter to find products that work for you.
Serving size refers to one serving of mate brewed in a certain number of ounces - as stated - of water.

(20 - 35 mg. of caffeine per 8 oz.)
Magical Mint Mate - tea bag
Chai Spice Mate - tea bag
Pure Endurance - tea bag
Mate Chocolatté - tea bag

(35 - 50 mg. of caffeine per 8 oz.)
Traditional Yerba Mate - tea bag
Greener Green Tea - tea bag

Java Mate (2-4 Tbsp.) – -  [45 mg's of caffeine per 8 oz. serving] - Dark Roast

(65 - 135 mg. of caffeine per 8 oz.)
16oz Cans - Lemon Elation, Enlighten Mint, Revel Berry - (16 ounce can) - [75 mg's of caffeine per 8 oz. serving]
12oz  Sparkling Classic Gold - (16 ounce can) - [70 mg's of caffeine per 8 oz. serving]
12oz  Sparkling Cans - Cranberry Pomegranate, Grapefruit Ginger - (12 ounce can) - [40 mg's of caffeine per 8 oz. serving]
Guayaki Organic Energy Shots (2 oz bottle) -  [140 mg's of caffeine per bottle] - Lemon, Chocolate-Raspberry, Lime Tangerine.
Bottled Yerba Mate (16 ounce bottle) -  [70 mg's of caffeine per 8 oz. serving] - Traditional Mate, Pure Empower Mint, Pure Heart, Pure Endurance, Pure Mind, Pure Passion, Unsweetened Mate, Pure Body.
Traditional Yerba Mate (1-2 Tbsp.) - -  [85 mg's of caffeine per 8 oz. serving] - Traditional Loose yerba mate

For comparison: 
Green Tea (30 mg. / 8 oz.)
Cola (35 mg. / 8 oz.)
Coffee (135 mg. / 8 oz.)
Source: Center for Science in the Public Interest

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Uniquely grown it its native forest environment, Guayaki Yerba Mate is cherished as a sacred beverage. Like high quality coffee, high quality mate is shade-grown, in the rich ecosystem of the rainforest; delivering more flavor and nutritional value. Sheltered from direct sunlight, rainforest grown yerba mate leaves are dark, emerald green and teeming with nutrients and flavor.

Guayaki Yerba Mate is a work of art; crafted like a fine wine, it is grown, harvested, and dried according to time – honored traditions. Harvested from the lush subtropical forest, Guayaki hand-picks only the leaves and tender stems. After passing through a flash heating process to protect the antioxidants and nutritional properties, the mate is dried at a low-temperature and aged for one year for a smooth, rich and balanced flavor.

Yerba mate is a holly tree native to the Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.  To create Guayaki’s Yerba Mate, the “whole plant - whole energy” approach is used, combining the leaves and tender stems to produce a beverage with unique flavor and balanced energy. Our delicious flavored blends are a combination of our Traditional Yerba Mate and unique organic herbs and spices. Learn more about our Yerba mate products. 

Guayakí’s MARKET-DRIVEN-RESTORATION business model directly links our customer’s purchases to our partner farming communities in the South American Atlantic Rainforests. Guayakí’s partners sustainably harvest organic yerba mate from rainforest grown cultivations and reforestation projects, generating a renewable income stream which enables these communities to improve their lives and restore their lands.

Guayaki offers several varieties of loose leaf organic yerba mate, bottle yerba mate, yerba mate tea bags, and energy shots.  View all of our products here: Guayaki Store

San Mateo Yerba Mate

Air Dried Yerba Mate - Young & Bright
Sourced from the rainforest of the San Mateo region in Southern Brazil, this air-dried yerba mate is bright and lively.  The smoke-free drying process yields an herbal flavor with a complex body and a clean finish.  This Guayakí  product reduces atmospheric CO2 by 573g per pound of yerba mate.

Traditional Yerba Mate

Rich, Robust, & Balanced
Sustainably sourced from preserved rainforest and reforestation projects in Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, our Traditional Yerba Mate blend boasts a rich and robust mate flavor, toasty aroma, and a balanced finish. This Guayakí product reduces atmospheric CO2 by 573g per pound of yerba mate.

Barbacua Mate Blend
Smooth with classic smoky notes
Crafted in the ancient Barbacua stye, this mate is carefully wood dried yielding a smooth and enduring flavor with sophisticated smoky notes.

Gaucho Fuerte
Coffee style grind
The Gaucho Blend (for a drip coffee maker) is potent and robust, with toasted nutty earthy tones, and a smooth malty finish.

Java Mate

Tastes like coffee, feels like yerba mate
Java Mate blends yerba mate with the roasted ramon nut for a rich, coffee-alternative beverage.  Our Dark Roast blend accentuates the bold flavor of the ramon nut.

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With a passion for mate, Guayaki partners with small farmers and indigenous communities to source mate from the sub-tropical forests of South America.  Like high quality coffee, high quality mate is shade-grown; delivering more nutritional value and a smooth, rich flavor. 

Forest grown mate is environmentally sustainable in the long term and provides for more income per acre than cattle or agricultural products such as corn, soy or wheat.  From the simple love of a beverage, Guayaki drinkers have become a driving force for conservation and community development by paying a fair trade price for rainforest-grown mate.  

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Unlike commercially-produced, nutrient-starved plantation mate grown in direct sunlight, Guayakí Yerba Mate is grown in its native rainforest environment sheltered from sunlight by the upper canopy and drawing from a rich life-giving 100% organic soil. 

Yerba mate leaves cultivated in the rainforest are dark emerald green, thick and waxy (the way nature intended)– a shocking difference to the maté leaves seen while touring South America’s commercial yerba mate plantations.

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When you purchase Guayakí Yerba Mate at the “MARKET” you are “DRIVING” the “RESTORATION” of the Guayakí Rainforest Preserves and its people.  Guayakí creates markets for rainforest mate which provide a sustainable economic alternative to destructive income generating practices such as deforestation for lumber, cattle grazing, and monocrop agriculture.  

This principle of renewable resource management supported by consumers of sustainable products is called Market-Driven Restoration™.  Guayakí uses a triple bottom line to measure success: Economic Viability, Social Justice and Environmental Stewardship.  

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Mate Circle | Preparation | Curing | ServingYari Legend | Gourd History | Gourd Recipes

Traditional Use:
Mate is the national drink of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Southern Brazil where it is consumed 6 to 1 over coffee.   In Argentina, mate is a leading ingredient in their diet.  In fact, in the poorer regions of Argentina, the government recommends that parents give mate to their children as a nutritional supplement.  The Argentine Gauchos (cowboys) drink mate as their "liquid vegetable", relying on its array of nutrients to power them throughout the day.  And the native forest peoples have survived periods of drought and famine drinking yerba mate and revere it as the “Drink of the Gods”. 

In Paraguay, yuyeras (herbalists) have been using yerba mate for centuries as the base of herbal medicine mixtures called “remedios” or remedies.  It is common to make “remedios” with yerba mate by steeping medicinal herbs in the water used to prepare mate in the gourd.  It is believed that by improving circulation and promoting balance, yerba mate acts as a catalyst to enhance the healing powers of other herbs.  Guayakí’s tea bag blends are inspired by the yuyeras.

The Name Yerba Mate
“Yerba” means herb.  “Mate” is derived from the quichua word,  "matí," which is the name of the gourd (Lagenaria vulgaris) traditionally used to drink yerba mate. So, literally, yerba mate means “herb cup”. A special ceremony has been developed over the centuries for drinking yerba mate.  Custom has it that a hollowed out gourd is filled with the leaves of the yerba mate tree, and a bombilla (straw filter) is inserted.  The gourd is then filled with hot water repeatedly and shared in a circular ceremony. This method of enjoying yerba mate inspires openness between those in the circle allowing the mate to do more than just nourish their bodies but also to nourish the souls and relationships gathered there.

The Mate Circle
Tomando mate (drinking mate) is a symbol of hospitality.  As the mate gourd is passed around, a sense of connection emerges.  The first step of the ceremony is the preparation of the gourd.  Typically, the cebador/a - mate server - prepares mate for a friend or a group of friends. The cebador/a drinks the first one or two gourd-fulls, 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: "you share the vessel, not the liquid."  The recipient of the gourd has as much time as needed to finish the gourd-full. After the last few sips of the mate are gone, the gourd is returned with the bombilla facing the cebador/a.  The gourd is refilled with hot water and follows around the circle, continuing in this fashion until the mate is lavado (flat).  If someone has had enough mate, they simply say gracias (thank you) to indicate that they are finished.  

Preparing yerba mate in a gourd is an art.
  1. Pack the dry loose yerba mate into the gourd just over half-full.
  2. Place your hand on the top of the half-filled gourd and turn it upside-down. Shake the more powdery leaves to the top of the gourd with several flicks of the wrist.
  3. Turn the gourd onto its side and give it several light shakes back and forth. This action will bring the larger stems to the surface.
  4. Insert the bombilla (straw-like filter) into the gourd. Gently roll the gourd over until the mate levels off and some of the larger stems cover the bottom of the bombilla helping to filter.
  5. Add fresh cool water and allow it to sit for a few minutes in order to moisten the mate. The cool water protects the nutrients and flavor of the mate.
  6. After the mate absorbs the water and swells, add hot water.
  7. The mate gourd can be refilled 15-20 times

A mate gourd is a gift from the Earth. It is a dried, hollowed-out vegetable gourd (Lagenaria vulgaris) that has been hand-carved with great care by an artist. To ensure a long life: Do not drop your gourd. Always be sure to rinse out your gourd when you are done using it, and let it dry completely. A soggy gourd will become weak and could tear or mold. A mate gourd is “un companero de la vida” (a companion for life). If you protect it, it will protect you.

A well-cured gourd will bring out Guayakí’s deep, rich flavor.
  1. Gently scrape the inside of the gourd with the tip of the bombilla to clean the loose gourd particles.
  2. Fill the gourd half-full with dry loose yerba maté.
  3. Add very hot water and let stand for two days.
  4. Gently scrape the gourd out again.
  5. Finally, put the cleaned-out gourd in the sunlight for a day or two until it is completely dry.
Quick Cure Method: simply begin using your gourd, it will cure in time.

A great mate server:
  1. Passes only a smooth running mate.
  2. Serves a mate that won't burn you. Hot water means a hot bombilla.
  3. Remembers who is sharing maté. If someone has signaled that they are done, do not pass them another mate.
  4. Knows not to share mate with someone that has a cold or flu.
  5. Encourages people not to move the bombilla which may cause it to clog. If the mate becomes clogged, refill it with water and let it sit for at least one minute. If the bombilla is still clogged, you can remove the bombilla and blow it out.
  6. Always empties the mate gourd, rinses it after use, and allows it to dry completely in order to increase its longevity.
  7. Remembers that used yerba mate makes great organic compost and fertilizer for plants and returns it to the earth!

Gourd Drinking History

The Gauchos
The gauchos (Argentine cowboys) are notorious for drinking yerba mate as their "liquid vegetable," relying on its array of nutients to power them throughout the day.

"...the Gaucho, possessing few wants and poor in the midst of inexhaustible riches, is the child of unconcern; with food or without, with shelter or not, a paper cigar, a little mate (Paraguayan tea), one meal a day of meat cooked in the open air without bread or vegetables, and his guitar at night, and he rests content; but if you add a Sunday suit of clothes with silver mounted trappings for his horse, his pride and delight are unbounded, and as he curvets over the plain, having attained the summit of his ambition, no more a vivid picture of human self-satisfaction could be presented."
--Ernest William White (1881)

The Mate Ceremony
“When people gather to drink mate (mah-tay) something magical happens. It is a simple, daily custom and yet it has all the characteristics of a ceremony. Like any ceremony it has rites which are carefully performed in the same way, day after day. It is a moment of leisure with friends and family. In the country, the gauchos sit together around the fogón (the campfire), sipping their mate after a long day's work. Tiredness breeds silence and silently the mate gourd circles from hand to hand. And then, slowly, conversation starts, people come closer together, confidences are exchanged. The mate ceremony resembles the American rite of the calumet, the pipe of peace. There too, the pipe goes from hand to hand, completing the circle, offering hospitality and goodwill. Mate is drunk by everybody: it is a drunk by the trucker and his companion in the loneliness of the long, never-ending routes (they use a vessel with a wide mouth into which it is easy to pour the hot water in spite of the jolts along the track); by students, when studying; by workers during their midday rest; at home for breakfast or on any other occasion, rain or shine, in summer or in winter.” 
– Excerpt from “The Mate” by Mónica G.Hoss de le Comte

Read the Guarani Version of the Yari Legend

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