Ecuadorian Guayusa

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Guayusa Tea
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From 52teas

Well, we’ve got lots of information to convey this week, so let me get right to it and start by saying it is pronounced (“why-you-suh”). Think Foghorn Leghorn: “Why-you-suh, I say, you sir, are about to experience an amazing new tea!”

A little while back, 52teas was contacted by a representative from Runa, a new company that is working to create a supply chain for Ecuadorian guayusa [they are actually doing much more than that, but more on that in a minute]. They contacted us to tell us about this amazing new tisane and wanted to know if we would be interested in creating blends with it to offer to our customers. I don’t think they had any idea what an easy sale they had on their hands. 52teas try something new? Nah. We wouldn’t do that, would we? Well, yes, we would, and we do, every week, 52 weeks per year.

Anyway, we got our shipment of guayusa in, and we didn’t waste much time tearing into it. Here’s the skinny on this fantastic new tisane: Opening the package reveals small, dark, leafy bits, dark green and somewhat vegetal and earthy smelling, maybe a bit more on the earthy than vegetal side. When you brew it up, the first thing you notice is WOW it is REALLY dark, like close to opaque in a clear glass kind of dark. The earthy scent subsides a little. It’s still there, but now it’s starting to smell more like a very rich black tea. The first sip makes you think you over-steeped it. It’s very, very bold and rich, but just as you brace yourself for that bitter astringency of tea over-steeped, you realize, it’s not coming. This tea has absolutely NO astringency. It’s just a full, round, rich, flavorful pleasantness. It reminds me slightly of a pu-erh, but not quite so earthy. It’s actually probably more like the boldest breakfast blend you can find, brewed as strong as you can make it, but missing even the slightest hint of that tongue-drying astringency. As a former pipe-smoker (tomorrow is four weeks without smoking, go me!), this puts me in mind of a nice bowl of black cavendish with just a touch of burley but without any tongue-bite. I miss my pipe. Okay, anyway….

I brought some of the guayusa home to share with my wife, who really enjoyed it as well. In her words: “It’s like really dark tea that doesn’t get bitter.” Sheri pretty much prefers rooibos, honeybush, green and white teas over black teas. When she has a black tea, I often have to ask her if she’s drinking tea or just dirty water. She remarked after drinking the guayusa that the reason she drinks such diluted black tea is because she can’t stand the bitter astringency of black tea, but that this has none and she loved it.

I was debating what sort of blend we should create with this new ingredient, and Sheri kept insisting it needed to be a lemon blend. I thought lemon was kind of plain, but it did sound good. The problem I saw was that as bold as the guayusa is, it would take some serious doing to convince it to take on any other flavors. But that’s just what we did: I pulled out all the stops to give this bold guayusa a nice gentle (but noticeable) lemon nudge. We added lemon myrtle, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon verbena, lemon peel and some sun-dried lemon slices along with natural lemon flavors.

In the process, we created what I’m going to refer to as Lemon Aid, which is a blend of (yup:) lemon myrtle, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon verbena, lemon peel and some sun-dried lemon slices along with natural lemon flavors–which I felt was bold and awesome enough that perhaps some folks would like to make a tea out of, or perhaps add in with whatever teas they are steeping for a little extra lemon zing.

So, our tea of the week this week is Lemolicious Ecuadorian Guayusa (Sheri insisted on the name too). But we also have a little bit of unflavored guayusa (Not very much!) and some of our Lemon Aid. Enjoy!

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6 Tasting Notes

4846 tasting notes

OK, so I slept pretty well, just not very long, but I didn’t feel like I needed to crawl back into bed after getting the little one off to school. So, instead I started drinking tea to help shake the sleepeezzz … and I thought it was a good time to try the unflavored guayusa that I ordered a couple of weeks ago from 52Teas. I have tried their Lemon flavored guayusa and I felt like I was at a bit of a disadvantage in rating it or reviewing it until I had a better idea of what plain, unfettered guayusa tasted like… so here goes!

OK, it has a earthy quality to it, an earthy/vegetative quality to it that reminds me of yerba mate – but not exactly. Where a green yerba mate might be a little more vegetative than earthy, this one is more earthy than vegetative, and stronger in both these qualities than yerba mate is, and lacks any bitterness that is part of yerba mate.

But, it is very well-rounded. No astringency or bitterness whatsoever. Very smooth. Frank compared this to pu-erh, but this is infinitely better. I like this a lot. A whole lot, and I hope that Frank will start blending more blends with it. :) (a not so subtle hint, there, Frank!)

I like this very much.


I have the Lemolicious at home to try still, but I’m a little afraid of the flavour and the energy boost – glad to hear such a positive review


I would love to try this!

And YES Frank…start blending buddy!!!! I begged Jason to add a new category just for Guayusa and he did!!! thanks Jason!

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634 tasting notes

Thanks to LiberTEAS for sharing a whole bunch of awesome teas with me a while ago that I am only now getting around to trying. I apologize for the delay in my tasting notes, but today is going to be a tasting extravaganza!! I have so many new things to try, and I can’t wait to get started!

First up, Ecuadorian Guayusa! This is supposed to be extremely caffeinated, so it’s my first cup of the day. I’m trying it without additions first. The aroma is earthy and a little bit woodsy. The liquor is very very dark. I’m slightly intimidated. Hmm, the taste is interesting. It reminds me of an earthier version of a Ceylon-based English Breakfast. I wasn’t anticipating making that comparison!

Okay, second sip is with a dash of skim milk added, which made the cup turn a sickly shade of grey green. That’s an unexpected and not entirely appetizing color…Anyway, it tastes smoother now although it was smooth to start with. But the earthiness is definitely still present. Third sip is with a small amount of Truvia added. There’s the sweetness I was missing. I usually drink black tea with milk and sugar, but I wasn’t sure if you could prepare Guayusa that way.

It’s not bad. The earthiness is just something that would take some getting used to. I keep imagining damp leaves being scraped off the forest floor and then used to make tea. And really, that’s not a fair comparison to make with this tea. It doesn’t taste dirty or gritty or anything, so why I keep forming that mental image, I have no idea.

There’s no bitterness or astringency at all. But there really must be a wallop of caffeine in here because 10 minutes after drinking the first cup, I got a splitting headache! Oof! I’m going to need some Advil to help make this go away. Wow, maybe it’s unrelated…It’s hard to think that one cup of tea could give me a headache like this, especially because I’m not usually sensitive to caffeine. Nonetheless, I wanted to mention it.

I know a lot of people compare this to puer, and I have to say I don’t find many similarities. It brews up dark and has a distinctive, unique flavor. But it doesn’t taste anything like puer in my opinion. It’s much milder and not fishy or muddy or, for lack of a better word, gross. (Sorry puer lovers.) But it’s a pro in my book that this is nothing like puer. :)

I also think I would enjoy this more if it were flavored. I’m still getting an earthy Ceylon quality from this, but it’s also not as enjoyable to me as a cup of Ceylon. I bet flavored Guayusa would be a completely different experience! But I’m also grateful that I got to try this unflavored version so that I know exactly what Guayusa tastes like. Thanks again to LiberTEAS for introducing a completely new tea to me!

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1328 tasting notes

Ricky sent me this one back in August. I remember it was August, because he had taken pity on me for the Steepster club not being available internationally and sponsored the first box for me, and he also included a number of other things. So for once I remember.

I’ve been scared of it ever since. That creepy face on the label doesn’t help either.

I’m feeling brave and encouraged to embrace a whole new world these days though, due to the rooibos that Cteresa (enabler!) shared with me that I really liked. I asked the boyfriend if he was interested and at first he decided to pass, but when he discovered I was only making a small pot, so he would only be getting half the amount of our normal mugs, he too decided to give it a go.

I was surprised at how dark it brewed up. Some of it is because the holes in the strainer is larger than these leaves, but that doesn’t account for all of it. It’s almost as dark as your average black tea, only this has a sort of funny greenish tint to it.

The aroma was the second surprise. It smells very much like a relatively mild pu-erh. I hadn’t expected that. For some reason I was expecting minty. I think because in my brain I want to compare it to mate, which I think has a minty sort of smell. Why do I want to compare it to mate? Because the leaves look the same and because they both come from South America. That’s how much imagination I’ve got.

Flavour-wise, here comes the third surprise. Based on other posts and the information from 52teas, I was expecting a much stronger flavour, but it’s come out surprisingly mild, considering. I brewed at a cautious temperature, though, so that might have something to do with it. I was just expecting more pang, really.

I find it a bit coffee like on the end of the flavour and there’s a funny tingling aftertaste, a bit like I get from mate as well as finally that minty touch. Mostly though it’s just sort of earthy and a bit like a somewhat pale shadow of pu-erh.

Honestly, I’d rather have real pu-erh.

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139 tasting notes

I’m not sure what to make of this tea. I’ve read notes that said Guayusa was “earthy”, but after trying – and loving – pu-erh, this is not “earthy” to me. So maybe foresty? Leafy?

It’s not bad at all, yet I am still trying to get used to this very unique taste. I think this would be very good flavored. I’m thinking chocolate (like the ChocoMate).

I will say though, that it certainly packs a punch, caffeine-wise.

Southern Boy Teas

Hmmmmm. Chocolate Guayusa. Scribbling notes

Southern Boy Teas

Maybe a chocolate mint?


Chocolate hazelnut.

RachanaC (Rachel)-iHeartTeas

Oh I like the chocolate hazelnut idea


Chocolate hazelnut would be PERFECT!


omg I may have to order that… chocolate hazelnut?? yum!

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