FAQ

Q: Is guayusa actually “tea”?

A: Guayusa (ilex guayusa) is the Amazonian cousin of yerba maté (ilex paraguariensis), a plant native to the Atlantic Rainforest in and around Argentina. Both are caffeinated rainforest holly trees. Thankfully guayusa did not inherit the bitter gene as yerba mate did; instead, while guayusa provides similar health benefits to maté, it is silky and clean with a sweet finish.

Q: Is guayusa like yerba maté?

A: Guayusa (ilex guayusa) is the Amazonian cousin of yerba maté (ilex paraguariensis) from the Atlantic Rainforest in and around Argentina. Both are caffeinated rainforest holly trees. Thankfully guayusa did not inherit the bitter gene as yerba mate did; instead, guayusa is silky and clean with a sweet finish, while providing similar health benefits as maté.
Q: Does guayusa actually contain caffeine or is it a different stimulant?A: Guayusa does have caffeine, the dear and loyal friend of humanity. The reason that the effect of drinking guayusa is different from that of drinking coffee or energy drinks is because it naturally contains a diverse profile of antioxidants including chloragenic acids, isoflavones, and L-theanine that relax the nervous system and nourish the body.Q: What does “Runa” mean?

A: Runa means “fully alive” or “fully living human being” in the indigenous Kichwa language of the Ecuadorian Amazon. It is a term of immense cultural pride for the Kichwa people, and represents our company’s commitment to sharing the Kichwa’s rich cultural heritage with the global community.

Q: How did the company start?

A: Co-founder Tyler Gage had been working in the Amazon for over 4 years, and teamed up with co-founder Dan MacCombie in an entrepreneurship class at Brown University to write the business plan for Runa. After graduating, the two partners continued working with several communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon to manifest a shared vision of bringing guayusa to market through an innovative Fair Trade partnership.

Q: Is guayusa organic certified?

A: Yes. 100% of the guayusa we produce is organic certified. We receive audits and inspections every year to ensure that all organic cultivation practices are followed by our farmers. Additionally, 100% of the other herbs we blend with our guayusa are organic, so all of our finished products are certified and labeled organic.

Q: Is guayusa Fair Trade certified?

A: Yes. Runa earned our Fair Trade certification from Fair Trade USA in February 2012

Q: Is guayusa non-GMO?

A: Yes. The Non-GMO Project certified us non-GMO in September 2013.

Q: Is guayusa kosher?

A: Yes.

Q: How much caffeine does one cup contain?

A: One bottle of guayusa has 90 mg of caffeine – about the same as a cup of instant coffee. Despite common assumptions, caffeine levels in tea and coffee vary widely depending on harvest season, origin, processing techniques, and a slew of other factors. On average, guayusa has more caffeine than green and black teas.

Q: Where is the company based?

A: Runa has three offices: our headquarters are in Brooklyn, NY, and we have two offices in Ecuador – one in Quito and one in the Amazon. Our ~60 person team uses virtual communication to connect internationally on a daily basis. Though much of Runa’s work is mobile, the heart of the company is in face-to-face community work. Runa’s Amazon field team works directly with over 2,000 indigenous farmers to provide technical assistance and harvest guayusa.

Q: Where is guayusa grown?

A: Guayusa is grown almost exclusively in the upper Amazon region of Ecuador. It grows where the Andes Mountains meet the Amazon rainforest, one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. Guayusa is harvested from trees that are grown under the shaded canopy of taller rainforest trees, giving local farmers an economic incentive to conserve the native vegetation of the rainforest. The farmers Runa works with are primarily located in the Napo Province.

Fully AliveRuna means “fully alive” or “fully living human being” in the indigenous Kichwa language of the Ecuadorian Amazon. It is a term of immense cultural pride for the Kichwa people, and represents our company’s commitment to sharing the Kichwa’s rich cultural heritage with the global community.