Guayusa tea hails from the lush Ecuadorian rainforest. The biodiverse environment adds unique flavor characteristics that can’t be found in any other tea. The rich soil and high moisture levels produce a tea that is earthy, aromatic, and sumptuous.
Drink guayusa tea and discover the earthy, slightly sweet, and smooth flavor of the Amazon rainforest. Learn more about this exquisite rainforest tea and find out how to select the best guayusa tea blends.
Guayusa tea—pronounced gwhy-you-sa—is a tea made from the leaves of the rainforest holly tree. This particular tree is known by the botanical name Ilex guayusa. The tea is cultivated mainly by small family farms that adhere to organic and fair trade growing practices. This South American beverage is produced by infusing the guayusa leaves in hot water.
The Ilex guayusa tree is one of three different species of caffeinated holly trees. One of the others is used to make yerba mate—the famous caffeinated tea beloved by indigenous people in Paraguay, Peru, Chile, and Argentina.
Guayusa tea is also an important part of the culture of indigenous people in Ecuador. The tea is traditionally consumed in the early morning as part of community rituals. Shamans play music and use the tea leaves to interpret dreams from the night before. Elders tell tales and share hunting techniques as they consume the piping hot beverage with the other members of their community.
The guayusa plant grows exclusively in the Amazon rainforest, mainly in the northern region of Ecuador. The majority of plants can be found in the rainforest along the border of Brazil and Columbia. This part of the Amazonian jungle is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. The unique terroir imparts great flavor and a rich tea drinking experience.
Tea drinkers typically consume pure guayusa tea without any additives such as sugar or honey. Guayusa tea has a flavor similar to yerba mate, but it is considered smoother and less bitter. It also tastes mildly like a green tea, but is less tannic and offers a creamier texture.
Guayusa tea features a slightly sweet taste and has tasting notes that are mildly nutty. This tea boasts an earthy aroma that engulfs the senses and is deep ruby red when brewed.
This tea is not made using the leaves of the Camellia sinensis tea plant so it is not a true tea like white tea, green tea, oolong tea, pu-erh tea, and black tea. Instead, it is a tea type known as an herbal tea or herbal tisane.
Guayusa tea is used by indigenous people to improve mental health and create cultural bonds through community events. Most of the health benefits come from antioxidants and the caffeine present in the guayusa leaves.
Guayusa tea is chock full of antioxidants that help the body remove toxins and improve overall health. These antioxidants are particularly effective in removing free radicals. Free radicals are uncharged atoms that may cause oxidative stress, which has been linked to certain types of cancers and premature aging.
Guayusa tea also contains a high amount of caffeine that can help boost energy. In addition to caffeine, guayusa contains amino acids that help regulate the absorption of caffeine. The result is a smoother, longer-lasting energy boost without the withdrawals associated with coffee. These amino acids may also affect the production of neurological chemicals that can heighten awareness while at the same time inducing calm.
Stash Tea Company and Runa both work with local farmers to offer customers delicious guayusa teas that are fair trade certified and organic. These brands often offer discounted or free shipping, making it easy to get your hands on this South American tea. Stash tea was one of the first mainstream brands to bring organic guayusa to the U.S. market. This tea can now be purchased as a loose tea or in tea bag form on their website and on Amazon.
We recommend purchasing loose leaf tea for the best flavor. Tea bags restrict the leaves and don't allow them to fully expand and infuse flavor. Loose teas are also generally higher quality since they contain fuller leaves and thus more healthy compounds than broken leaves found in tea bags.
It's also a good idea to purchase organic teas to protect the environment and ensure a continuous supply of your favorite flavors. Since these teas are grown in the Amazon rainforest, it's especially important to purchase guayusa from reputable sellers that care for the environment.
Add a bag of guayusa tea to your wish list and discover the earthy and mildly sweet flavor that inspires indigenous cultures in South America. Drinking guayusa can help increase mental acuity and boost energy.
The vibrant red hue makes this beverage as delightful to look at as it is to sip. To find the best guayusa tea, look for organic brands that work locally with farmers in Ecuador. Use loose leaf tea whenever possible and follow proper brewing instructions.