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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

The original energy drink

SARAH MUSGRAVE, The Gazette

Published: Saturday, September 15

The sip: Guayakí Traditional Maté Energy Drink

The price: $3.50 for 473 mL

The smell: A jug of iced tea sipped in the hayloft of a barn.

Guayakí's yerba maté: a traditional infusion in a not-so-traditional package.

Guayakí's yerba maté: a traditional infusion in a not-so-traditional package.

RICHARD ARLESS JR., THE GAZETTE

The look: Yerba maté purists, avert your eyes! This South American pick-me-up has gone mainstream with its transformation into a pre-prepared energy drink.

The taste: Earthy, twiggy and leafy, with a dominant finish of wood smoke from a campfire. The sugar content has been kept refreshingly low, which I like. Fans of Lapsang Souchong tea might appreciate this one.

The story: Maté is derived from the leaves of a tree that hails from the rainforests of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. Containing naturally occurring caffeine, along with a host of minerals and vitamins, 15 amino acids and plenty of antioxidants, it is one of the world's original energy drinks - before the craze for the packaged stuff took off. One bottle

offers about the equivalent in body and mind stimulation of a cup of coffee, though proponents claim the effect is subtler and saner. Introducing this drink to a wider market, California-based Guayakí is an environmentally and socially conscious company, which honours fair trade principles and uses solar power to minimize its carbon footprint.

The source: Although Guayaki products are slated for distribution in Loblaws and Provigo, the easiest way for Montrealers to find it at the moment is through Canadian-based www.saltspringcoffee.com or www.guayaki.com.

The twist: Guayakí has come up with a few other products, including maté tea bags, maté latté and loose maté leaves for infusion. Its Yerba Maté Gourd Gaucho Gift Pack (gaucho being a reference to Argentine cowboys) includes the traditional gourd and straw for a DIY approach.

© The Gazette (Montreal) 2007