Our Discovery of Guayusa: A Serendipitous Encounter in Peru
"It was during a soul-searching journey to Peru that I first encountered the extraordinary guayusa leaf. While trekking through the breathtaking Andes, locals introduced me to this natural remedy, which they used to combat altitude sickness and maintain energy levels. When our shaman offered the group a cup of brewed guayusa, I was amazed at how it not only eased my headache but also left me feeling energized, focused, and relaxed.
Fast forward to my senior year at the University of British Columbia, where I found myself juggling the demands of final exams and new parenthood. My partner, Lys, and I faced countless sleepless nights with our newborn daughter, Zaada, and my increasing dependence on coffee only added to the stress of exams. I knew I needed a gentler source of energy, which prompted me to recall my experience with guayusa. Eager to reap its benefits once more, I promptly ordered some online.
Upon making the switch from coffee to guayusa, I noticed a significant improvement in my well-being during those sleep-deprived study sessions. The caffeine-induced anxiety I had been experiencing vanished, leaving me feeling more grounded and better hydrated. Even Lys appreciated the disappearance of my coffee breath! Intrigued, I delved into the history and use of guayusa, discovering that its sustainable farming practices not only promote biodiversity in the Amazon but also provide financial support to the Kichwa people, who are indigenous to the upper-Napo region where guayusa trees flourish."
- Andrew (Waísamama Co-founder)
The Birth of Waísamama Guayusa Co.
I introduced guayusa to my friend Dan, a fellow enthusiast of culinary crafts and Amazonian ethnobotany. As long-time collaborators within our local music and arts community, we embarked on a journey to create a brand which honours the traditional Kichwa roots of guayusa and provides ethically-sourced guayusa products that benefit its natural habitat.
Over several highly caffeinated months, we experimented with various ingredients and brewing techniques. Our early days involved handcrafting our initial bottled guayusa beverages in a commercial kitchen, using a homemade system of water filters, pumps and custom transfer racks, and hauling our supplies to and from the commercial kitchen in the back of our minivans. It was back-breaking work (literally - sometimes we could barely walk after a manufacturing day), but it allowed us the time to hone in on perfecting our recipes and brewing processes. Ultimately, we crafted three distinct flavours that would become the cornerstone of our new company: Waísamama.
We have dedicated nearly four years to perfecting the formulation of our products. Our process has undergone many iterations, involving countless hours in the kitchen as we experimented with hundreds of ingredients and dozens of brewing techniques to hone in on the precise flavour profiles we sought to create. Through this process, we fine-tuned the cold brew process and developed our proprietary method for optimal extraction and preservation of nutrients from the guayusa leaf, which is now manufactured in an organic-certified facility.
We aimed to create delicious beverages that could benefit our community members in their achievements, health, and well-being. We believe that our products truly capture the magic and beauty of guayusa, and we hope that you enjoy them.
Get In The Flow
The Kichwa People of the Amazon rainforest refer to guayusa as Waísamama, a word synonymous with the powerful energy within rivers that run crystal clear. It is believed that by drinking guayusa and immersing oneself in the river at dawn, one can cultivate Waísamama, giving them long-lasting vitality throughout the day. Our call for Canadians to #GetInTheFlow with guayusa is a reference to both the literal meaning of Waísamama and to the flow state that guayusa helps one achieve - a mental state of calm focus and complete immersion in the task at hand.
We operate Waísamama with the same relentless passion and tenacity that characterizes many hard-working Canadians. Our slogan, ‘Get In The Flow,’ is more of an ethos than a catchphrase. To us, the flow is the intangible feeling and sense that seemingly disparate ideas and modalities of thought and action somehow intertwine to synergistically enhance the moment somewhere outside of our normal awareness. In this state, one can think more clearly, act with precision, and create beyond self-imposed borders. Every individual’s flow manifests in unique ways, and is induced through a unique mix of disciplined rituals. Be it meditation, dance, music, physical exercise and sport, or cold exposure - the flow seems to arise when one’s mind is calm and body is energized, balanced, and prepared. We employ many methods to achieve our balance and sustain our [state of] flow, both as individuals and as parts of the whole that make up our company and collective, and we believe that guayusa can be a powerful ally to help promote this state.We’re motivated to help our fellow Canadians get in the flow by providing products that contain premium quality, organic guayusa. Every detail matters in this pursuit, no matter how small, which is why we make every effort to create the most holistic products we can. We cold brew our guayusa because it uses far less energy than traditional hot steeping and preserves the polyphenol antioxidants and sweet-earthy flavour of the guayusa leaf. We are unwavering in our commitment to source our guayusa from Kichwa-owned farms, thus empowering their communities and supporting their efforts to safeguard the Amazon rainforest and preserve the biodiversity and functional knowledge of the botanicals of one of the World's most spectacular regions. Our loose-leaf is packaged in omni-degradable packaging, meaning that if it finds its way into landfills and oceans, it will break down into inert biomass and CO2, not microplastics.
We firmly believe that it is not only possible but necessary to live in synergistic harmony with humanity's diverse cultures, flora and fauna so that we can work together to create a world that our children and grandchildren deserve. We have a strong passion for guayusa because of its ability to help us achieve this ineffable internal state that allows individuals to contribute their unique gifts best to aid us all on this journey of global symbiosis
The Future of Guayusa And Waísamama
Today, Waísamama is raising awareness of guayusa in Canada with a mission to preserve and empower Amazonian plant knowledge and biodiversity.
We hope that you’ll join us as we continue on this journey to celebrate and support the remarkable gifts of the Amazon.
- Dan Boychuk & Andrew Moore (Waísamama Guayusa Co. Founders)