We are excited to welcome our new category “Field Trip”. Every so often we’ll be taking a field trip to some fabulous, local purveyor and we’ll share all of its wonderfulness with you!
GUAYAKI . YERBA MATE
“Strength of coffee. Health benefits of tea. Euphoria of chocolate.”
Let me start first with the pronunciation of Guayaki. Steven, one of the owners and our fantastic host, was kind enough to repeat it to us several times, making eye contact and repeating it slowly. But we had already ruined our chances by continually using our own incorrect version, so once we stepped back outside after our tour, we forgot. The emphasis is at the end. I think.
Anyway, the GREAT news is you don’t have to know how to say it to LOVE it!
My love for this particular tea began with two of their products; the Pure Empower Mint teabags (Safeway Sonoma) and the bottled Yerba Mate (Sonoma Market). It tasted and felt different to me. I enjoyed the caffeine kick but appreciated the lower sugar content.
The company and its wholesome philosophy began 17 years ago, really by chance. The astounding health benefits of Yerba Mate (it’s a shade-loving tree leaf) intrigued two Cal Poly students so much so that they decided to team up and use this topic for their senior project. They were on to something. A short time later, 3 more devoted fans of the drink joined to form Guayaki. (Our host Steven was one of them.)
Not only does this Sonoma County based company have an interesting start, they also have some pretty hefty bragging rights. They are the largest organic Yerba Mate maker in the country! (Can you believe they’re in our backyard!? But even more importantly they are country wide and you can order online.) Their sustainable vision is reforesting the rainforest as well as giving the indigenous people a fair trade salary and living, without influencing or Westernizing the culture. That’s important!
And I won’t get too technical but their drinks are crazy yummy, especially if you visit their Sebastopol Cafe! We enjoyed some sort of Mate Latte, which just by its name is fun to say and order. This particular tall glass was made with fresh almond milk, rose water and mint. The other was a creamy, rich, chocolatey something. I pretty much alternated between the two, not wanting to set them down but simultaneously hoping my caffeine-sensitive body wouldn’t completely bug out.
Steven sent us home with an arm full of goodies to try. Their new sparkling Yerba Mate can is amazing! It’s like a really healthy energy drink or it mixes well to make a fizzy cocktail.
The last thing I want to mention is the loose Yerba Mate “tea”. It can be used just like coffee grinds; in a French press, in a coffee maker, in an espresso maker, in a single cup filter or you can really go all in with the gourd and straw. Here’s what I want to say about it. I don’t drink coffee. It makes my heart race and my eyes crazed. I drink regular ‘ol green tea but still find that I spike and crash a little from it. I braved these dried Yerba Mate leaves and poured myself a steaming hot cup. The energy is noticeably different. Just like Steven told us it would be. You feel very alert, aware, awake but not wired. It’s a really nice feeling. Besides, it’s better for you than coffee.
I highly recommend you give all of their products a try!!
Guayaki . www.guayaki.com
Pronounced: WHY – A – KEE
Images taken by us, just for you.