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Guayakí Yerba Mate: Delicious, Market-Driven Restoration

Guayaki-yerba-mate

We’ve been featuring some of our favorite alcoholic beverages, but we wanted to mix it up this week and tell you about our current non-alcoholic obsession: Guayakí Yerba Mate.

So… What’s Yerba Mate?

Yerba Mate (pronounced yer-bah mah-tay) is a traditional South American (primarily Argentinian, Pargaguayan and Uruguayan) drink made from the leaves of the South American holly tree. It has according to Guayakai’s site: “the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate.”

As a longtime drinker of yerba mate, I can tell you that’s not an exaggeration. After a stint studying in Argentina, I got hooked on Yerba Mate and spent many a sleepless night in college bent over my laptop with the aid of Yerba Mate.

Unlike coffee, the sensation of yerba mate (or just “mate”) feels much cleaner and doesn’t seem to result in the same jitters or upset stomach. As one of the guys in the office described it: “It’s like crack in a bottle…without all the bad stuff.”

Yerba Mate is also associated with numerous health benefits, perhaps because of it’s high antioxidant levels. Perhaps because it’s got a host of vitamins and minerals.

The Guayakí Story

However, one of the issues with Yerba Mate for the busy, practical person is that it’s traditionally drunk from a hollowed-out gourd (confusingly also called the mate) and through a unique “straw” known as a bombilla that helps filter out the loose leaves. While this is all find and dandy if you’re hanging out in the park with your Uruguayan or Paraguayan friends, it’s not really doable if you’re on the go.

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Traditional Yerba Mate Gourd and Straw (Bombilla). Image Source Tracy Shaun.

[Editor’s Note: Walking in to a gas station in rural Alamaba at 2am with a ziplock bag full of shredded yerba mate and asking for a thermos of hot water will generate some interesting questions from local law enforcement. Not recommended.]

Guayakí has done the great service of solving this problem by providing yerba mate for your drinking pleasure out of bottles, cans, and even energy shots. (We’re currently ordering them 5 cases at a time.)

Guayakí for Events

Guayakí could be a great beverage choice for events and conferences wehere companies looking to show case their environmentally and globally conscious chops. It’s fair trade and organic certified. The Guayaki story itself is inspirational. The fivesome of founders have created a business based on Market-Driven Restoration that’s on track to steward and restore 200,000 acres of South American Atlantic rainforest and create over 1,000 living wage jobs by 2020.

If you have any dietary restrictions, worry not. Guayakí is (deep breath) gluten free, vegan, soy free, dairy free, and Kosher. While it doesn’t say so on the site, we’re going to step out on a limb and say it doesn’t contain nuts either so you’d be hard pressed to find anyone with health or alergy problems that Guayakí doesn’t slide by.

If you’re looking something to mix up the traditional offerings at your next conference or event (or just want a little boost yourself), check them out.

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