Caffeine. It seems that it’s a necessary evil of the world we live and operate within. I have always viewed caffeine as a drug. It can be a great drug. It helps us get on the go and start making moves without looking like emotionally tortured street cats that got up on the wrong side of the bed. That cup of coffee can really help with the inevitable 3:00 crash/burn out too. We all know that one. “How the shit am I going to get through this? I’ve been staring at the same sentence trying to keep my head up and eyes open for the past 13 minutes. Ffffffeeeeeckkkk.” Cue americano to the rescue and zip zap zoom! It’s 5:00. Your proposal may be a little scattered and if you’re anything like me, your palms are sweaty, you blurted out at least 2 or 3 embarrassing things at high speed to co-workers/innocent bystanders out of unbridled irrational enthusiasm, and everything is laced with an almost transparent lining of paranoia.
But it’s worth it. It’s kind of fun. Until the ineviatable caffeine hangover where you realize that your proposal was a piece of manic crap that looks like it was edited by a squirrel, your coworkers think your a total spazz and you’re too effing tired to make stupid dinner. "FECK!! I’m never drinking coffee again!” Until grumpy cat returns the next morning and you find yourself passed out at your desk drooling on your keyboard at 3:25pm.
What does one do then?!?! I don't even love coffee that much. I mean, ok, lies. I love coffee with all sorts of cream and sugar but dairy is so gross/delicious and only should be used in small amounts as treat items. And sugar. Well, we all should know by now that refined sugar is the man eating wolf beast dressed in a sweet baby lamb costume set out to destroy us and everything we love. So that leaves black coffee. I have garnered a certain love for black coffee, in that way that you learn to love a good gin martini. Like me, you probably started off with sticky sweet cosmopolitans and syrup-bomb blue hawaiians eventually discovering the refined pleasure of the bare bones of a craft manufactured spirit accompanied by a subtle pair of olives. So drinking black coffee can be a fun journey, like craft beer, spirits, wine, stanky cheeeeeeeese, but I’m just going to go ahead and say that being dependent on any one of the items mentioned above probably isn’t in your best interest. So this is not to say never drink coffee. It’s awesome. But maybe you might want to check up on some alternatives that still help your inner cat demon not explode peoples heads with his/her laser beams of foggy morning hate.
Enter Yerba Mate and Guayusa! The thing about tea, coffee and steeped warm beverages in general is that most cultures, if not all, have some sort of ritual or cultural tie to drinking warm things together. It seems that it is inherent in our humanity to drink warm liquids. So by all means, do not stop that! Sometimes it’s the only thing that gets us out of bed.
The joy you get from a warm comforting cup of coffee or tea is not what you need to re-think. But rather, the negative effects that those things can have on your energy levels, your digestion, your dental health, and your ability to focus.
I’ve been obsessed with these things for some time and just drank hot water or green tea because coffee betrays me every time I think it’s my friend, and I don't keep milk in the house. and black tea with alternative milk products is so fecking gross. Have you ever tried Earl Grey with almond milk? It tastes like watery, mouldy gym socks filled with moss and dirt. SO green tea I tried. But it’s just so...clean. It feels like a really great afternoon beverage maybe (maybe) but when you’re craving that morning comfort and sweetness, it falls so pathetically short of my requirements. So I just drink water. And mornings are sad.
I did the Yerba Mate thing and it was okay but was just too bitter and earthy. It felt like i was drinking a cup of mushed up, dried, then reconstituted fungi and plants. I mean, I know that what they are, but I don’t want it to TASTE like that. And then I found my new favourite! Guayusa.
Guayusa comes from the Amazonian holly tree (Ilex guayusa) and is a cousin to yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) but lacks those tannins that make it taste like butt. It’s sweet and fair trade organic certified. Harvested in Ecuador by the Kichwa people, it’s a leaf that boasts twice the antioxidants of green tea, more caffeine than a shot of espresso and glory glory hallelujah, it tastes good with almond milk and honey. I like the chai spice varietal with some cardamom, cinnamon, cassia and ginger. You can easily just add those ingredients to the loosleaf stuff yourself.
So the real deal benefit of Guayusa is that it doesn’t burn high and bright and then burn you out. It’s a nice steady stream buzz that keeps you alert and actually helps you focus, not just give you a punch of unbridled weird kinetic energy for spazzing out. And it’s yummy! If you have concerns about the rainforest, the indigenous peoples and production etc, get in touch with these guys: http://runa.org/guayusa/.
It seems to have only sparked up on the market in the past couple of years, so being skeptical about guayusa being the miracle of holy goodness is fair. But it’s worth checking out. It could be a nice solution to some of the issues you and I deal with on the daily. I’m going to continue to keep my eye on it. I have no intention of adopting a practice into my life that is inherently harmful to people, animals or the planet in general. But I do wish to participate in the global hot beverage ritual and unless I work in a part of the world where siestas are a thing or am an employee at Google or Hoot Suite where they have nap pods, then god knows I need the little punch to get through the last couple hours, write a bitchin proposal and go home and make dinner!
Well, my man will most likely make dinner. But I will support him with cheerleader-like enthusiasm and beam all sorts of love energy on him because I still have some!