Those of you who have followed a little our South American posts might remember our first organic yerba one, Titrayju. Now we bring you Guayaki, a business model developed by California Polytechnic University's student and graduate, Alex Pryor and David Karr, that introduced yerba mate to North Americans while helping indigenous South American families through fair trade and saving rain forests in the Amazon.
As we said in our previous post, yerba is a herb used to prepare a traditional infusion called 'mate', drunk mostly in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Yerba production requires several processes, and in most of those countries is an oligopoly of few enterprises which concentrate most of all that's made and sold. As small farmers that grow this herb don't own the machinery to get through the process, they have to sell their harvest to big producers for low prices.In the Guayaki model, the yerba is grown in a rain forest reserve in the Amazon by 34 families that work in fair conditions and the products are sold in the USA.
At their on line store you can find yerba packed loose and in tea bags in various flavors, mates and metal straws to make the infusion, a yerba concentrated beverage, and a yerba based energy drink. The Guayaki site is also a great source of information about this healthy infusion that works as a good substitute for coffee and has had some publicity as a weight lose product (mostly because it satisfies oral anxiety). ::Guayaki.