Along with their line of Yerba Mate and Yerba Mate related implements, the people at Guayaki put out a line of bottled drinks designed for cold consumption. Looking conspicuously like Snapple bottles (aside from the euphoric rain forest creatures on the label) the lineup features fierce minimalist names such as Pure Endurance and Pure Heart. Toting heavy organic/fair trade/kosher/sustainable credentials each drink (save for the Unsweetened Yerba Mate and Traditional Mate) contains yerba mate blended with flavors like mint and citrus. Though I haven’t yet seen any of these drinks available in local stores, I was fortunate enough to try all but the Pure Mind Blend (a full review of which can be found here).
Generally speaking these drinks are very good. Refreshing but not overpowering, they combine light flavoring with a slow and steady yerba mate kick. Lacking the high sugar content (and corn syrup content) of most similarly shaped drinks, they are a pleasant alternative to what is typically found in the cold drink aisle. One notable standout is the Empower Mint which climaxes in a genuine mint finish without the sticky sweetness of other mint beverage competitors.
Will bottled yerba mate begin to change the face of the convenience store drink section? We will just have to wait and see.
With a deadline looming on some schoolwork I decided to give the Clarity Blend from Guayaki a try. Having never experienced any sort of yerba mate related product before, I can say that this first endeavor was delicious, but with a bit more of a caffeine punch than I expected. The gentle flavor may not betray all the energy that the Clarity Blend carries with its earthy, fresh brewed quality.
The natural type flavor combines subtle pomegranate with an aftertaste of bitter mint leaves. The balance of sweetness and tartness is nice, without anything overwhelming on either side. What I particularly liked about this drink is that it doesn’t leave you feeling thirstier like other, sweeter bottled beverages. It is a happy divergence for those seeking more flavor than water, but without all the sugar of the soft drink market.
My only side note is that if you are normally sensitive to other energy drinks this may not be a suitable alternative! I personally can drink tea but the caffeine in coffee is just too much. While I really enjoyed the flavor of the Clarity Blend I will most likely not be drinking it again, as it was a little too much for my system to handle.
As I've said before in this blog, my experience with most Archer Farms products have been good ones. Another case in point is their Dragon Well Green Tea. Much like a mediocre first date, it neither impresses nor disappointments allowing for an acceptable, civilized time that may or may not be related to friends.
Sold in state-of-the-art, pyramid style tea bags both the smell and flavor of this tea tends towards the light side. Going down smooth and without much bitterness, the tea is mellow and slightly smokey. Not as full bodied or deep as a higher quality Dragon Well, the experience is good but not great. While it is certainly more complex than the average generic bagged green tea, it fails to really enforce some of the claims found on the packaging. As far as being "delicately tinged with sweetness" as the box suggests, I could distinguish no such subtlety. This tea is fairly straightforward from start to finish, tending to lack in any delicate tinges advertised or otherwise.
For convenience and price the Archer Farms Dragon Well tea is not a bad deal. It may not suit a true connoisseur but for those looking to go beyond generic bagged green tea it makes an excellent first choice.