I didn't like tea growing up, but now it's a passion. I often want a caffeinated drink that isn't coffee. I used to drink a lot of yerba mate, because it lights me and increases my mental focus and energy. I've discovered Guayusa now.
Guayusa (pronounced "why-you-suh") has been enjoyed for centuries. Local growers who live in the Amazon rain forest grow this on small farms and I feel good about supporting them. Guayusa isn't technically a tea; it's an herb that comes from the holly tree (Ilex guayusa), which has nothing to do with the tea plant Camellia sinensis that gives us black and green tea.
Drink Guayusa early in the day because it gives you a lift, similar to coffee but with less jolt and jitters. It's not black tea, and it's not green tea (though it tastes a lot like green tea). It's an herbal tea, but make sure it's right for you, especially if you have hypertension, heart disease or kidney stones. Also, the potential for allergies with this herb exists, just like it does with any herb or drug.
I'm an avid tea maker, and I've noticed that guayusa is more forgiving of the cook time. By that I mean that if I let yerba mate boil too long, it gets very bitter. With guayusa, it's still good if you overcook it. It's less grassy than yerba mate and sweeter, so I don't need to add too much honey, which is nice for my insulin and glucose levels! Guayusa is healthy because it contains natural antioxidants and polyphenols. These ingredients are known to improve metabolism and blood sugar, and protect your cells from oxidation (cellular rusting).
If you're on a budget, you'll love guayusa because you can re-steep the herb numerous times. So one tablespoon can be re-steeped six times. After that the flavor (and healing goodies) are all gone. The amount of focus and energy you will receive will start to wane the more frequently you steep the same herb. My hope is that some of you addicted to caffeine and coffee might be able to break your addiction little by little by adding guayusa (or yerba mate).
You can drink guayusa hot or cold. You can also add other herbals while brewing it, like a leaf of peppermint, or some ginger or cinnamon. If you're too busy to brew your own, just buy commercially prepared drinks. Look in the refrigerator section because some health food stores sell this bottled and chilled. You can buy prepared tea bags, instead of bulk herb.