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February 2006 - A Relatively Short Note From The Desk of Dan. . .


I don't know about you, but I am ready for spring. I have been spending some time in Vancouver B.C. and it is about 30 degrees warmer than where I live. As a result of all the liquid sunshine they receive, the landscape is green, too.

Yerba mate is in the mainstream news again. On February 22, 2006, both Good Morning America and Zorba Pastor's show on NPR radio talked about yerba. As you've heard us discuss in previous newsletters, yerba mate is starting to really make its way into the North American drink scene. There are many ways to enjoy yerba these days— from traditional forms, to more modern forms like concentrates, matelattes and RTD (Ready to Drink) bottles. I had my first bottle of Guayaki's Raspberry Revolution recently, and it was fantastic— low sugar and a great flavor of yerba and Raspberry. Look for these in your local grocery stores.

My overall favorite form of yerba (besides a good ole plain cup of yerba) is our Bengal Chai matelatte. This is our signature drink at the coffee bar. We take cinnamon, cardamom cloves, allspice and ginger (we actually we add 5% more Ginger to give it a nice zing) and blend this with finely ground Aviva yerba mate. This is brewed through an espresso machine just like a coffee latte. Steam the milk (I prefer Soy), pull your shots, add vanilla flavoring, serve, and experience the bliss. If you like traditional chai, you will love our Bengal Chai. It is similar in flavor, but with a lot less sugar. Again, if your local coffee shop doesn't carry it, ask for it. Some coffee folks (as I can personally attest, being a former coffee roaster) can be very protective of their coffee offerings. So, you may have to ask twice.

Actually, my experience in the coffee environment is that yerba mate and yerba-based drinks do not compete with coffee sales. The yerba mate consumers are either tea drinkers, former coffee drinkers, or consumers that are interested in the healthy aspect of yerba or the weight loss properties associated with yerba as part of a healthy diet. Additionally, my experience in both industries tells me that the yerba mate consumers are more dedicated than coffee drinkers. I used to have people come into my retail coffee shop and tell me all the time that their doctor says they have to stop drinking coffee. What was interesting to me was this type of consumer would stop drinking coffee, but they would not switch to decaf. They would just stop drinking coffee. Take the caffeine out of coffee and there goes your loyalty. I know, I know, not you. The truth here is that most people don't care for the taste of coffee. The next time you are in a coffee shop, watch and see how many people order a shot of espresso, straight up. Then notice how many people pour ounces of cream, sugar or sweetener into their cup of coffee. You're probably going to see more of the latter happening. Some folks even load up so much on the syrups and chocolates that the result is a cup full of more calories than a Whopper burger! (Café Mocha w/ whip...400 calories) Most yerba mate drinkers start out using honey or a little sugar, but eventually get used to the earthy green herbal flavor that is unique to yerba.

2006...the Year of the Leaf... the yerba mate leaf, that is. Let's continue to spread the word and make it easier for all of us yerba enthusiasts to get our yerba. Until the weather breaks, wrap your hands around a nice warm cup of yerba mate. Then we'll break out the Mate Splash and our Cool Summer Blends!

We want to hear from you! (and we'll try to make it worth your time!) We can stand up here on our soapbox and tout the benefits of drinking Aviva yerba mate 'til we're blue in the face, and that still wouldn't have the impact on a yerba newbie like hearing about it from a fellow consumer. As a result, we're asking for you to submit a testimonial about your experience drinking Aviva yerba mate. Why do you drink Aviva over other brands? Is it the Wild Harvest (organic) aspect? Is it the pure leaf consistency (vs. sticks/stems)? Is it the variety of flavors we offer? The convenience of tea bags? Or is it perhaps our dedication to sustainable cultivating methods?

Whatever the reason(s) may be, if you could take a moment of your time to let us know, we certainly would appreciate it. To reward you for your time, we're going to choose one testimonial each month to receive a free 5lb bag of any of our blends (shipped to you at no cost, too!). By submitting a testimonial, you agree to allow us to use it for promotional material that may include website or newsletter publication. Please submit your entry to: February winner will be announced next week. You still have some time to submit an entry.

excerpts from An Herbal Tea with a Big Kick by Patricia Mack
February 15, 2006 — My Spanish vocabulary is expanding. I now proclaim: Adoro yerba mate. Translation: I love yerba mate.

I'm still on something of a yerba mate high, having sipped this potent, caffeine-laced herbal tea almost every day during my recent travels in South America. In Argentina and Uruguay, people sit on park benches or walk the city streets with thermoses of yerba mate and the distinctive gourd cup and silver straw it is sipped through.

The beverage is prized not just for its wonderful taste, but because people in parts of South America believe it has rejuvenating, nutritional and energizing effects.

I first sampled yerba mate a few days before I left for Buenos Aires at Cucharamama, a Hoboken restaurant that features South American cooking. Always curious, I couldn't resist a beverage described as something to be sipped through a silver straw.

It's deeply herbal -- reminiscent of mint but with nut-like and woody overtones. It fills your mouth with flavor and has a long finish, so sipped slowly it provides great taste long after one swallow....

Source: (2/15/2006) Patricia Mack is a food editor for The Record

February Special. . . For the month of February, you can purchase a pound of our Ginger Peach teabags at the reduced price of $25! (regularly $38) This is our most popular flavor! No promotional code is necessary. As always, free shipping on domestic internet orders over $35. Our storefront is a great place to start!

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Dan Garcia
Founder, Aviva Ltd.

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