Guayakí Yerba Mate - A Powerful Rainforest Experience
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March may not be national tea month, but with all the rainy chill to the air it should be. And caffeine is, of course, entirely necessary on a cloudy, gray day. Although I love coffee and tea (caffeinated or otherwise) my most recent fix--and a perfect one for late winter/early spring--is Yerba Mate. More specifically, Guayaki Yerba Mate.
Guayaki (Gwy-uh-KEE) is great because it not only rescues me on a heavy work day, it’s also helping to save South American rainforests. Guayaki Yerba Mate is organic and sustainably grown and harvested. It’s even fair trade. The tea follows the traditional methods of production; the yerba mate trees grow in the shade beneath the rainforest canopy, their leaves are hand-picked, wood-dried at a low temperature, and then aged for one year in cedar wood chambers.
The flavor is almost difficult to describe if you’ve never had yerba mate before. It has a rich, earthy flavor that I quickly became addicted to. Somehow, despite its richness, it is light, clean, and doesn’t have a bitterness I find in many other caffeinated teas. If you have ever read or seen "The Motorcycle Diaries" recalling Che Guavara’s journey across South America as a young man, you’ll remember that mate is shared between friends, several times a day.
Unlike having several cups of coffee, the caffeine in yerba mate doesn’t make me jittery, or upset my stomach. Instead, the energy boost is oddly invigorating--since I’ve been on my yerba kick I’ve hardly had any coffee at all. Guayaki says that yerba mate has been "revered for centuries" and is "drunk daily for optimum health, sustained energy, and mental clarity." Health benefits include increased mental clarity, higher energy levels/reduced fatigue, aided immune system, allergy relief, and assistance with weight control. Of course yerba mate isn’t the end all cure to every one of your body’s ailments, but I can attest that I have noticed that drinking a few cups a day does, in fact, make me more energetic, focused, and less likely to snack.
Yerba mate also 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, as well as antioxidants. While their original yerba mate is absolutely fabulous (and available in 25-count tea bags or 1/2-pound loose-leaf), Guayaki also offers a range of yerba teas. Yerba Mate Blends include Magical Mint Mate, Chai Spice Mate, Matte Chocolatte, Greener Green Tea, Orange Blossom Mate, and Red Tea Mate, all of which are delicious. They also have an Organic Energy Drink line, with more caffeine than the usual brewed yerba mate. The Energy Drinks (Traditional Mate, Empower Mint, and Raspberry Revolution) are a giant leap for mankind from the decidedly Childrens’ Tylenol-esque Red Bull and all its stomach-churning cousins.
You can also find Guayaki Yerba Mate in Mate Latte Concentrates (Yerba Mate or Mate Chai) that, mixed with milk, hot or cold, are a tasty twist to the original. "Tastes like coffee, feels like mate!" is the slogan for Guayaki’s Java Mate, which blends yerba mate with Ramon nut. The 7-oz. loose mate packages are available in Dark Roast, Vanilla Nut, and Mocha Maca.
So even if you don’t drink yours out of a traditional gourd like young Che did on his travels through Argentina and beyond, a cup of yerba mate is sure to get you through the trying months of March and April. My feeling, however, is that I won’t be giving up my mate anytime soon. It’s just as good iced, so when the sun begins to shine and the weather turns warmer, I’ll still be drinking Guayaki for a healthy, organic boost.
For more information about Guayaki, yerba mate, and where it’s sold, check out their extensive website at: www.guyaki.com. <http://www.guyaki.com./> Luckily Guayaki is widely available, from Whole Foods to much smaller organic markets.
Megan Bedford is the Assistant Editor for EDGE Food & Drink, and writes for EDGE Style and Entertainment. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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