Guayaki Yerba Mate

The Guayakí Story

Welcome,We are working to make organic, fair-trade yerba mate the mainstream energy source of choice, and prove that a company can be profitable while operating sustainably. We are an organization of individuals who’s daily work is to bring you the finest yerba mate on the planet. We started 1996 with a vision of protecting and restoring the South American rainforests and empowering then native forest people, and with your help, we are achieving that goal, sip by sip. Here is the story of our humble beginning.In 1996, Guayaki was seeded in California’s central coast by two university buddies.  Alex Pryor from Buenos Aires, and David Karr from Northern California. As good friends and passionate yerba mate drinkers, David and Alex set out to share the yerba mate plant with the world, recognizing that people were in need of a nourishing source of energy and a healthy dose of optimism.  As good fortune would have it, co-founders Alex and David were swiftly joined by three other pioneering partners to round out the original founding seed group: don Miguel aka the “The Journeyman”, Steven Karr aka “Shape-Shifter” and Christopher Mann aka “The Chairman of the Gourd”. These five ambitious friends aka the “semillas” (seeds) channeled their activist mentality into the creation of a new restorative business model, calling consumers to action by voting with their dollars.The Semillas rooted themselves in fertile grounds of San Luis Obispo, CA,nestled comfortably between scenic Santa Barbara and magical Big Sur.  This coastline, riddled with good surf breaks, provided the perfect backdrop for many extended mate gourd sessions while looking for surf.  As passionate lifestylers, the Semillas group was intimately committed to a holistic lifestyle and business practice which was philosophically aligned with their love for nature, adventure and spirit.

In a blend of the West coast pioneer spirit and Argentine hospitality, the inspired band of Semillas took to the road to share mate with all those who would listen.  Rooted in the central coast, hours from any major city, road warriorship became Guayakí’s destiny.  Traveling in a mix of VW vans, pickups, and RV’s, David, Steven and don Miguel took the wheel in the one hand and the mate gourd in the other, to the four corners of United States.  With a strong brew of mate, good tunes, flowers and genuine hospitality, the Semillas encouraged keen samplers to develop a relationship with the yerba mate plant.

Growing up, we always heard “money does not grow on trees.” Well, today we are proving that “money does grow on trees” and rainforest-grown yerba mate is the new green currency. It provides the peoples of the rainforest with income as well as the ability to steward their land.

In 2009, Guayakí became the first Fair Trade Certified yerba mate company in the world thru IMO.  Read More

The first Guayakí article in 1996First Guayaki Article - 1996

Guayaki Founders
Semillas Group (left to right): Steven Karr, Michael Newton, Chris Mann, Alex Pryor, David Karr.

About Guayaki

Our mission is to steward and restore 200,000 acres of South American Atlantic rainforest and create over 1,000 living wage jobs by 2020 by leveraging our Market Driven Restoration business model.

Our MARKET-DRIVEN-RESTORATION business model directly links our customer’s purchases to our partner farming communities in the South American Atlantic Rainforests. Our partners sustainably harvest organic yerba mate from rainforest grown cultivations and reforestation projects, generating a renewable income stream which enables these communities to improve their lives and restore their lands.

The Guayakí Story

Today we are proving that money does grow on trees, and rainforest-grown yerba mate is the new green currency.

Market Driven Restoration

Through brand building we drive reforestation, supporting local communities and their culture.

Rainforest Mate – Cultivation, Harvesting, Processing

Guayaki Yerba Mate thrives in its native subtropical rainforest habitat.

Guayaki Rainforest Projects

Our South American team lead by founding partner, Alex Pryor, is dedicated to finding the best mate in the world.


Guayakí is based upon the “three pillars” of social, environmental and economic sustainability.

Biodegradable Packaging

Guayakí’s metalized bags are made entirely of biodegradable and compostable materials. The bags will compost in your home compost or landfill in 180 days.

Reducing “Your” Carbon Footprint with Guayakí

Guayaki’s products reduce your personal footprint. Learn about our biodegradable packaging.

Guayakí is fueled by Solar Power

We offset over 55 tons of our corporate CO2 footprint, locally

Guayaki Certifications

Guayaki is: Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Kosher, B Corportation

Guayakí Awards

Guayaki’s Social and Environmental Awards

The Guayaki Mate Bar

The Guayaki Yerba Mate Bar is to provide guests with a joyful experience that helps them discover and embrace the cultural traditions and spirit of sharing that is at the core of the healthy yerba mate lifestyle.

Team Guayakí

Meet the family at Guayaki who helps make it all happen.

24 Comments Add yours

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