Many people across the globe wake up every morning and require coffee within minutes to function during the day. The caffeine gives a kick-start to the long day at the office, in class, or wherever you may be. However, imagine waking up to a tea that can give you more than half the caffeinated zap of coffee plus tons of antioxidants and fewer jitters. I’m not asking you to totally end things with your old love, but simply, see other… beverages?

This beverage is made from the leaves of the yerba mate (mah-tay) tree found in the shade of rainforests in Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. Guayakí, founded by Alex Pryor and David Karr, produce this tea by planting hardwood trees in the rain forest’s degraded areas. The South American team collaborates with small businesses, local farmers, and indigenous tribes who own partially deforested property. When harvested, the yerba mate leaves are dried, milled, and bagged at an industrial air-dry processing facility in Brazil.

Last year Guayakí sold 180 tons of product, such as ready-to-drink bottled mate, energy shots, loose-leaf mate, and tea bags in North America. With an annual increase of 35% in sales and an estimated 12 million dollars in revenue for 2009, more demand is being made for this tea. A higher demand also helps restore roughly 17,000 acres (6,800 hectares) of rain forest. Not only does the production of yerba mate tea serve as a great alternative to coffee, benefits also include bringing more jobs and business to rain forested areas in Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil.

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