Guayaki Yerba Mate:
Stimulating Mind, Body—and Economic
and Environmental Vitality
By Kat Schuett
Half of a trillion dollars. This is the cost to keep us all caffeinated—the approximate value of the stimulant beverage market, currently domi- nated by conventionally grown coffee, tea and a growing segment of energy drinks.
While you sip your caffeinated concoction of choice, ponder this:
what if in spending these multitudes of dollars just to “wake up” every
day consumers could simulta-
neously help restore tens of
thousands of acres of some of
the earth’s most valuable rain-
forest and provide hundreds of
jobs for its indigenous people?
Even more, what if in choosing
a different kind of caffeinated
beverage, consumers could
also improve their heath and
sense of well being?
This was the vision that in 1996 inspired
the creation of Guayaki’s Market-Driven Restoration Model, which aims to rebuild over 200,000
acres of rainforest and provide jobs to over 1000 indigenous people by 2020. Central to this goal
is creating a strong market in the caffeinated beverage category for yerba mate—a plant that
grows under the canopy of the South American rainforest. In countries such as Argentina, mate is
preferred 7 to 1 to coffee and is known for its euphorically energizing effect, which comes from a
unique stimulant profile that combines the same caffeine found in coffee, theophylline in tea
and theobromine, the “feel good” factor in chocolate. Mate also contains more antioxidants than
green tea and has a long list of other health benefits from improving allergies to aiding digestion.
Guayaki’s seed group:
Steven Karr, Michael
Newton, Chris Mann, Alex
Pryor and David Karr