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October 2005 - A Short Note From The Desk of Dan. . .


The one thing about change is one isn't completely sure if it works until he tries it. This summer, we introduced our new tea box. If you have been a customer of ours for a while, then you notice the difference. For new customers, we used to have a company in California pack 25 tea bags in a sealed zip lock baggie-type bag and pack them in a traditional paper coffee style package.

The jury is in and it seems that this change was successful. Since this introduction, our sales of tea boxes have increased in the grocery store sector as well as our specialty coffee and tea sectors. Our new tea box design is a first in the industry. A vertical box that is printed in three languages, on three panels— English, French and Spanish. This gives us the ability to reach out to our friends north and south of our border. In Canada, it is the law that products sold in Canada must be in English and French. We chose Spanish because a majority of people are of Hispanic dissent in the Western hemisphere and that is my heritage as well.

At Aviva, we are always thinking of ways on how we can improve what we do. From sourcing the best raw ingredients, to finding the latest scientific yerba mate information and passing it on to our customers, to changing our packaging to increase freshness and ease of use.

In August we received our first tea packing machine. This machine takes bulk yerba, packages it in two gram, non-bleach filter tea bags, and then applies an outer sealed sleeve. To watch this machine work is a thing of beauty and also a little scary. It makes two tea bags a minute and you have several moving parts moving at a time. It never ceases to amaze me how engineers come up with this stuff.

This change finalizes the quality control aspect of our company from the yerba mate tree to the customer. Because the yerba mate category is relatively new in North America, the basic consumer is left with a question mark over his head. Most people think herbal mate is a generic name. They may feel that herbal mate is herbal mate. Like any agricultural product, the quality of the end product is dependent on where and how it is grown. Most herbal mate that comes out of South America is purchased through cooperatives. Aviva has one source, our partner's 20,000-acre ranch in Paraguay. This assures our customers that when they purchase Aviva brand of yerba mate they are not only receiving 100% organically grown Wild Harvest yerba mate, but that it is the only thing they are receiving. Cooperatives are paid by the kilo, so they include the sticks, stems and the fine powder. We also pay by the kilo but only for leaf cut. So you can rest assured that when you buy a bag of our yerba mate we have gone through the arduous steps of removing as much of the sticks/stems and powder as possible. Even though yerba mate is an herb and technically not tea, we feel the same standards should apply. In the tea world the leaf is king. If sticks and stems are present in tea, it tells you one thing— low quality. So when you open that new tea bag, you can have confidence that your yerba has been handled with utmost care from the grower to our warehouse and now our new tea bagger. We're applying exceptional quality control from beginning of the process all the way to your cup.

Another reason for the introduction of our new tea box, tea sleeve and tea machine is that up to this point we did not have the proper packaging to go after any regional or national distribution. Being able to produce our own packaging under our roof gives us the ability to increase the distribution of our product. We are actively pursuing distribution across the country. With that said, if you would like to see Aviva in your local store, we are reintroducing our Aviva yerba mate finders program. On our home page, there is a link in the upper left that says, "Earn 5 pounds free". Follow this link and it will give you instructions on how you can help us garner distribution and, in turn, we will award your efforts.

Winter is upon us and so is the holiday season. As I always say "Give the gift that is not only in good taste but also tastes good." I know what I am going to give this year. Our sample packs and 1/2lb bags make great stocking stuffers!

Until next time, keep the water hot and the yerba mate plentiful....

October Special. . . This special is for all of you who enjoy the convenience of steeping your yerba with a tea bag. For the month of October you can purchase ANY of our tea bag blends at a discount! This offer,however, is only good for our 1lb bulk items. Take care and keep that yerba flowing. Our storefront is a great place to start!

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Dan Garcia
Founder, Aviva Ltd.

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