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What Is Guayusa Tea?

Display of tea being pouring out of cast iron tea pot with spilled tea on table and bag of Mountain Rose Herbs tea displayed.

If you love yerba mate for its nutritional richness, fresh green flavor, and ability to provide non-jittery energy, then we have a new cup companion you need to meet! Guayusa (pronounced gwy-yoo-suh) tea offers a subtly smoother and less caffeinated sipping experience compared with mate, paired with its own similar but distinct blend of beneficial vitamins and minerals to support everyday well-being.

Our organic guayusa is made of the leaves and stems of the South American rainforest holly Ilex guayusa. Since the guayusa tree does not produce viable seeds, they must be propagated from plant cuttings. The Kichwa family farmers who grow and tend guayusa trees reside in forested regions and have used this sustaining and energizing drink for as long as they can remember. It is strongly present in their culture and daily rituals; for example, tradition has it that the guayusa trees are the ancestors of the Kichwa, and the plants are said to grow from their family members who have passed on.

The guayusa we carry at Mountain Rose Herbs is grown in forest habitats that help to support the balance of all flora and fauna (as opposed to being grown in a monoculture where all plant life is eradicated save for one commercial crop). Supporting the natural biodiversity of these growing areas helps maintain ecosystem vitality, attracting insects and animals, reducing the impact of deforestation, and maintaining soil integrity. Sourcing our guayusa from growers who work with (not against) their environment is crucial to our mission as company, as we recognize that respected and balanced ecosystems are critical to our planet’s health.

Spoon of green botanicals spilling onto rustic wooden table.

The leaves and stems of guayusa brew up a mild and smooth, lightly caffeinated drink. It may be imbibed on its own, combined with other herbs such as peppermint or lemongrass (try our delicious organic tropical guayusa blend for a pre-blended flavor treat!), and sweetened with raw, local honey or sugar. Since there are no tannins in guayusa, the bitterness that comes from accidentally over-steeping black or green Camellia sinensis will not occur when brewing these leaves.

If you have not yet had the pleasure of experiencing guayusa, we urge you to give it a try!

Want more tea pro tips?

Check Out Our Guide to Brewing Tea

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Topics: Specialty Ingredients, Tea & Herbal Drinks


Written by Kendle on January 9, 2019

Kendle is a Product Coordinator with Mountain Rose Herbs. Born in Portland, Oregon, she has called many different places home across the country. After earning her Associates degree in North Carolina, she moved to Colorado where she spent six years working in the herbal supplement and body care industry before coming back to Oregon. Currently she is engaged in extensive independent study and experimentation in the areas of folk herbalism, homebrewing, and painting. She believes that one of the most important methods for understanding herbs is to experience them, and to truly take the time to listen to your body to find what works best for the individual. She and her partner spend their time exploring the wilderness, hunting mushrooms, concocting herbal remedies, and reading voraciously.

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