Runa“Goo-yaa-whoo? That’s not a camellia variety, is it?

Wait … It’s from the Amazon?!”

Guayusa (pronounced “Gwhy-you-sa”, botanical name ilex guayusa) is a caffeinated Amazonian tree leaf that has been brewed as a tea for thousands of years. In an ancient tradition, Amazonian families gather at dawn to drink guayusa from gourds around a communal fire. They come together during these early morning hours to share dreams, music, and myths.

When this traditional brew entered the laboratory, several interesting discoveries were made:

  1. Guayusa is more caffeinated than any traditional tea or yerba mate, with an average of 90 mg of caffeine per cup.
  2. Guayusa provides double the antioxidants of leading green tea brands.
  3. Guayusa contains theobromine and L-Theanine to round out its unique combination of both stimulating and nourishing compounds.

In effect, guayusa offers a distinctively smooth and focused energy, what the indigenous Kichwa people call “mental strength and courage.”

Leading tea companies like Stash, Oregon Chai, and David’s Tea have begun to use guayusa in their own blends with much success and positive reviews. In March, SELF Magazine selected guayusa as a new “it” food, and expert reviewers on have commented that, “for a tea with such a nice boost of energy, it has an amazingly clean and smooth taste.”

Tea houses and local retailers have also encountered success as they introduce it to their clientele. As the only tea-type product from the Amazon, guayusa carries a rich and intimate story in its smooth flavor. Additionally, guayusa is a great offering for people who want to switch away from coffee, but need a strong dose of caffeine.

According to Zen Tara Tea, “Guayusa has been a product that has expanded our category of tea offerings, adding onto our tea menu without cannibalizing sales of other teas. As a new tea in the U.S. market it has sold well for us when featured through sampling and presenting the tea in a way that highlights the back story, culture, and positive influence on the preservation of the Amazon Rainforest. The flavored Guayusa blends have performed exceptionally well and have developed a strong following with a core group of customers who typically buy 1/2 lb. or more per visit.

Now you know how to say “GWHY-YOU-SA”, and can welcome this newcomer to the community in proper tea industry fashion.