By Josh Erdman, Senior Consultant
Working with Guayaki for the last 15 years has forever changed my life. Their product and stance on environmental sustainability is admirable, but it was their lifestyle of health and wellness that opened my eyes to my own ignorance.
When I first started consulting them I would guide them with their IT needs; setting up automatic policies to save employees’ work to the server, tuning anti-virus, and integrating voicemail with email (a new feature back then). At the time, I was coming from a culture drenched in coffee and soda, so you can imagine my curiosity around Guayaki’s culture that was all about eating organic food, paying attention to ingredients, and avoiding processed foods. It was an entirely different world.
The breakroom at Guayaki features a wall lined with several yerba mate tea blends – from orange blossom to chocolate – selection for any palate. It was in this setting that we would swap information about our two very foreign worlds – me explaining the best way to filter spam and them telling me how bad soda is for your body. With all the free samples I could ever want, I had nothing to lose.
Yerba Maté is a large leaf plant that grows in the rainforest canopy of South America. The leaves are harvested, dried and ground up making the loose tea. In South America, the beverage is consumed using a gourd where the tea is mixed with spices and sweeteners to the user’s liking and then drank through a bombilla, a metal straw-like device that has several small holes toward the bottom and is also pinched off acting as a filter. Yerba Maté contains multiple stimulants and also has an impressive list of vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants.
I first consumed Yerba Maté in the traditional fashion, in a gourd, and immediately enjoyed its stimulating effect but found it very difficult to get past its earthy and slightly bitter taste. But with a breakroom full of flavored yerba maté blends I had plenty of opportunities to experiment and fell in love with the chocolate. It became my morning gateway drink that helped me develop a taste for the stronger, traditional maté.
Over the years we have grown significantly: me learning about health and diet and Guayaki going full tech – from campus wifi to telecommuting, to cloud-based email. That first day I entered the Guayaki office, I knew there was a lot of tech work to do, but I would never have thought that a tea company would have inspired me to make such long-lasting positive changes to my lifestyle. I am ever grateful.