What Is Guayusa Tea?
The Secret Of The Amazon
There’s an ancient, caffeinated and health-giving tea from the Ecuadorian Amazon – and it’s finally made its way to Australia. Meet Guayusa Tea.
Pronounced why-you-sa, Guayusa is a nourishing leaf from a type of holly tree, grown deep within the rainforest. For thousands of years, the Kichwa people have picked, dried and steeped the leaves as part of their daily ritual. To these tribes, Guayusa is a source of connection, medicine and income.
In terms of flavour, Guayusa is often likened to green tea or its close relative, Yerba Mate, which is consumed all over South America (particularly in Argentina). The flavour of Guayusa is similar, only avid tea drinkers describe it as a smoother, slightly sweet alternative and no bitter taste.
But more than that, Guayusa is a tea that ticks all the boxes: People. Planet. Purpose. Health.
So it’s little wonder why it’s growing in popularity in Australia for its health, pleasant flavour and rich concentration of essential nutrients. Ayusa Tea also gives back to the farming community in Ecuador with every purchase.
The Wonderful World of Guayusa
Guayusa for people
Despite how it may seem in Australia, Guayusa isn’t a new brew. It’s been consumed by the Kichwa people of Ecuador for thousands of years. And to them, it’s so much more than a cup of tea.
Every morning, Kichwa tribes gather before the sun rises around a cauldron of Guayusa. Here, they share stories and teachings, while the elders in the tribe interpret dreams from the night before. They use these stories and interpretations to guide their actions for the day.
Not only that, 98% of Guayusa leaves are found in remote regions of Ecuador, which makes it a significant source of income for the Kichwa people. At Ayusa tea, we pay Kichwa Farmers 15% above Fairtrade wage, supporting the community that nourishes us with Guayusa.
Guayusa for the planet
We know what you’re thinking: how sustainable is a tea that grows in the Amazon Rainforest? Well, incredibly.
The holly tree grows amongst the Ecuadorian Amazon (not instead of it) utilising agroforestry practices. In other words, the leaves are found in the Amazonian rainforest under the shade of large canopies, harmoniously alongside the forest vegetation. Not only that, Guayusa helps to restore areas that have previously suffered from deforestation.
Guayusa for health
We can’t explore the wonders of Guayusa without touching on its health benefits.
Guayusa is best known for its potential to…
- Naturally boost energy (without the jitters)
- Increase focus
- Boost immunity
- Aid digestion
- Improve mood
- Stabilise blood sugar
And some lesser-known benefits? Traditionally, the Kichwa people also drink Guayusa to calm body aches, increase fertility and libido, cleanse the mouth and avoid insect and snake bites.
But full disclosure: since Guayusa has been obscure around the world for so many years, much of the evidence is anecdotal, and there have been limited human studies.
How To Enjoy Guayusa
Guayusa is incredibly versatile. Choose between loose leaf or tea bag, and serve it hot or cold.
For loose-leaf tea, we recommend adding 1 teaspoon per teapot, then brew for 7 minutes and enjoy. For tea bags, we recommend 1 bag per cup, then brew for 2 – 3 minutes and enjoy.
At Ayusa tea, we have three unique blends for you to try:
- Pure Guayusa for a subtle, smooth and full-bodied flavour
- Guayusa and Cinnamon Myrtle for an added cinnamon aroma
- Guayusa and Anise Myrtle for a subtle licorice flavour
With every purchase, we donate $1 to the Ecuadorian Foundation Conciencia Amazonica so they can continue sharing Guayusa with the world.
Written by Natasha Fair, founder of Ayusa Tea.