The Origins of Our Guayusa Tea
When you sit down to indulge in a cup of Guayusa Tea, there’s a lot more to it than what first meets your tastebuds. It’s a tea that has a history as rich as its flavour. Guayusa is an early morning ritual, a source of connection, a primary source of income and a solution to help restore the Amazon. So, let’s dive into the origins of our Guayusa Tea.
Where Does Our Guayusa Tea Come From?
Guayusa (pronounced why-you-sa) is a nourishing and caffeinated Holly tree (Ilex guayusa), found on the border of the upper Ecuadorian Amazon and the Andes Mountain Range. And with around 98% of the world’s Guayusa located in this region in Ecuador, it’s no surprise that this is where we source ours.
At Ayusa Tea, we have partnered with ethical suppliers who collaborate with over 100 indigenous Kichwa communities. With their help, we’re proud to support the people that provide us with Guayusa tea, paying them 15% above fair trade wage.
What Are The Origins Of Guayusa?
Historical records suggest Guayusa has been used in Ecuador and traded as a medicinal plant for at least 1500 years. Today, Guayusa remains an integral part of Kichwa culture.
At 4am each morning, a time where most of the world is fast asleep, the Kichwa people gather around a cauldron of Guayusa Tea. Here, they share stories, lessons, skills and dreams, a ritual that shapes their way of life.
Drinking Guayusa together also plays a central role in “conviviality” – or convivencia in Spanish – which emphasises the need for building close relationships. They see Guayusa as an opportunity to pass down knowledge and skills to future generations, like how to weave nets and shape hunting tools.
And of course, the Kichwa people believe drinking Guayusa is essential to good health. They drink it to boost energy, promote immunity, aid weight loss and enhance dreaming.
What Does Guayusa Mean For The Planet?
When you first hear about a tea that’s harvested in the Amazon, it’s normal to have a few questions. Like how sustainable is it?
But turns out, Guayusa is incredibly kind to the environment.
Long before Guayusa became renowned around the world, the local farmer’s primary income was in logging, which would deplete the precious Amazon rainforest.
But today, due to increased demand, Guayusa is the Kichwa people’s primary source of income. They grow Guayusa in “chakras’ “, which is a horticulture plot that allows Guayusa and the Amazon Rainforest to exist in harmony. The holly tree thrives in the shade of larger canopies, so the Kichwa people can harvest the leaves within the rainforest, not instead of it. Better yet, planting holly trees can help to replenish areas that have previously suffered from deforestation. How good is that?
They also don’t use fertilizers, pesticides or chemicals – they simply plant the trees and let nature take its course.
So there you have it – next time you’re sipping on a cup of Guayusa tea, let your mind wander to a place deep within the Amazon rainforest. And be proud that you’re sipping a tea that supports people and the planet alike.
At Ayusa Tea, we donate $1 from every single tea canister sold to the Ecuadorian Foundation Conciencia Amazonica – so they can continue sharing Guayusa with the world.