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An Analysis of Guayusa: Amazonian Tea

(post, Sarah Price)

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Let me preface this analysis with an admission: I already had a half-cup of coffee this morning.  I say this because one of the selling points of guayusa is its caffeine content, dramatically higher than that of any traditional teas, higher than even the infamous yerba maté.   And so, having already had a bit of caffeine this morning, my analysis may be slightly skewed.  In my defense however, I have just returned from vacation in the Pacific Northwest, where premium coffee can be inhaled as you step out the door in the morning, so I consider that half-cup a stabilizer.  I am not peering at my monitor through sub-human morning eyeslits, but my eyes haven’t reached their glorious three-cup perspective yet, either.  I have a long, long way to go.  And so I am setting aside the second half of my morning coffee and turning to guayusa to bring me from this “typical” state to another realm of existence: the realm of wakefulness.

Guayusa’s flavor is rich, earthy, and remarkably mild—probably even more remarkably mild had we brewed it at normal strength, but this morning my glass of tea came with a warning, which I immediately disregarded.  “You can’t scare me off with strength,” I told my co-worker as he apologetically pushed a dark, brimming glass across the desk towards me.

It’s true—strength is no problem for me.  I am a habitual maté drinker, and when I brew it at the office I use handfuls of the loose herb.  I like my maté sour and green.  I like it to work.  So this remarkably mild flavor surprises me—maté has taught my senses that strength in palate is equal to strength in force, and with guayusa I am not overwhelmed by that first strength.  Even at this deep, emerald concentration, the flavor is wholly tolerable, and by tolerable I mean delicious.  So I expect the effect of this drink to match the flavor in tolerability, I expect it to be remarkably mild.

Wrong.  And, right.  Wrong in that I am awake right now.  I don’t feel like ditching the office and crawling back to my tempurpedic.  Right in the mildness of this caffeine high—it has certainly done its job, and yet I don’t feel twitchy and spastic, characteristics that I had previously thought unavoidable when maintaining such a level of wakefulness.

I have at this point in the blog consumed a cup and a half of guayusa.  Here is the effect: I am more alert than I typically am after a cup or two of tea.  I feel far more focused than I would have if I had finished that cup of coffee, as I do most mornings. My typical morning rush sends my attention in countless directions.  With guayusa, I am focused on only one thing: my monitor, this blog.

So what does this mean, for a drinker like me?  It means it works.  And it tastes good.  And it means that my morning habits may well experience a restructuring.  And, for a drinker like you?  Well, you tell me.

Guayusa is our newest offering at the Maya Tea Company.  We discovered it at the World Tea Expo in June, and are now stocking our shelves with it.  Three months ago, we had never heard of this magical plant.  Now we believe in it, and as faithful followers we want to spread that belief on to you.  Try guayusa, and add your experiences to this blog.  We’ll see if they match up with my own.