Actually, even the headline is wrong: Guayusa is not a "tea" because it is not extracted from the tea plant, such as green tea, black tea or matcha. Guayusa leaves are harvested from succulent evergreen shrubs belonging to the genus Holly (Ilex). Hence the scientific name: Ilex Guayusa. However, since Guayusa is prepared like tea and shares many properties with it, we continue to speak of "Guayusa tea".
Get a quick overview of the world's most caffeinated leaf here. Find out where guayusa comes from, what makes this energetic tea the perfect companion for every day and how you can prepare it.
Uncomplicated & Mild
Guayusa can be prepared in almost every way that is known in connection with tea.
In the bag? Clear. Loose in the pot? Logo. french press? In any case. cold brew? Our insider tip.
In terms of taste, Guayusa can be described as a mixture of herbal tea and green tea. Herbal tea, since it is sweet and aromatic. Green tea, as it has a pleasantly round body and no bitterness at all. You can let guayusa infuse for as long as you want, as it contains virtually no tannins (bitter substances). In any case, 5-7 minutes is enough. Here everything for the preparation
The tea of the kichwas
Guayusa already has a long history and tradition in Ecuador, more precisely in the Amazon. The Kichwa people in particular have been using the plant for a variety of purposes for centuries. Guayusa tea is drunk in sacred rituals, ceremonies or for medicinal purposes. Among other things, the leaf is said by these peoples to prolong life and protect against wild animals. Of course, it has also been used there for generations as a natural pick-me-up. Learn more about the history of Guayusa here.
A European late bloomer
While the related mate tea was quickly appreciated by religiously motivated European visitors (mainly Jesuits) in Ecuador and made an integral part of South America's export goods, Guayusa is only now slowly taking this step. This was probably mainly due to the fact that the Jesuits were among the inhabitants of Ecuador met with particularly little hospitality, in return for which little to no trade was conducted with Ecuadorian estates, including Gauysa. Only since 2008 has Ecuador been exporting guayusa again to any significant extent. Learn more here (Social Impact)
Good for the Amazon
The Amazon and its inhabitants benefit greatly from guayusa, especially when it is certified organic and thus grown without pesticides.
While other plants submit to monoculture cultivation, Guayusa puts up a fierce resistance to such persistence: it simply doesn't thrive in monoculture. In order to grow healthily, it needs the shade of other forest dwellers. Therefore, Guayusa plants are grown in special forest gardens, the chakras, together with banana trees, for example. This is accompanied by a diverse reforestation of forest areas.
The strong roots of the Guayusa shrub penetrate deep into the soil of the forest floor, which strengthens it and protects it from erosion. This protects the jungle and its inhabitants from devastating mudslides, especially during the rainy season. Firmly rooted, these plants can still be harvested after 100 years, which makes their cultivation particularly sustainable.
To protect itself from pests, the plant produces caffeine in its leaves. Since Guayusa is particularly hard-working and can form more caffeine than any other leaf, it is robust and reliable in yield.
Without negatively affecting the local ecosystem, this tea has become a significant source of income for the inhabitants of the Amazon. We are proud to say that we play a central role in this development. We received an award from the UN for this in 2018.