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Guayakí Yerba Mate - A Powerful Rainforest Experience

Buzz in the Press
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Buzz in the Press

Buzz in the Press

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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 mbedford@edgeboston.com

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