Q: Is guayusa like yerba maté?
A: Guayusa (botanical name 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 like yerba maté. 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 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” 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 a global community.
Q: How did the company start?
A: Two graduates from Brown University began working with several communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon to manifest a shared vision of bringing guayusa tea to market through an innovative Fair Trade partnership. Co-CEO 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.
Q: Is guayusa organic certified?
A: Yes. 100% of the guayusa we produce is USDA organic certified. We receive audits and inspections every year to ensure that all organic cultivation practices are followed by the farmers. Additionally, 100% of the other herbs we blend with are certified organic.
Q: Is guayusa Fair Trade certified?
A: Yes. Runa earned our Fair Trade certification from Fair Trade USA in February 2012
Q: How much caffeine does one cup contain?
A: One bottle of guayusa tea 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 the whole, guayusa has more caffeine than most green and black teas.
Q: Where is the company based?
A: Runa’s exotic Amazonian guayusa company is ironically headquartered in Brooklyn, NY. Runa also has two offices in Ecuador – one in Quito and one in the Amazon. Our 40+ person team uses virtual communication technologies like Skype and Google 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 800 indigenous farmers, providing technical assistance, and harvesting shade-grown guayusa.
Q: Where is guayusa grown?
A: Guayusa is grown almost exclusively in the upper Amazonian 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 the rainforest setting, giving local farmers an economic incentive to conserve the rainforest. The farmers that Runa works with are primarily located in the Napo Province.
RUNA means “Fully Alive” 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 a global community.