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April 2006 - A Short Note From The Desk of Dan. . .


Aviva exhibited at the World Tea Expo last month, and I must say that it was a success. We are still following up on leads both here in North America and internationally. The general feeling is that tea is warming its way into the hectic lifestyles of the North American Consumer.

One thing I noticed at the show was the international tea professionals were present. These countries have been drinking tea in a big way for thousands of years. Compared to them, we are infants just learning to crawl. With that said, opportunity is knocking at the door to bring new customers to the market, and most importantly to educate them.

This fact is good for both tea companies and for Aviva yerba mate. In this vast world of tea, one point stands out and that is quality. Where the tea is grown, how it is grown, and how it is picked and processed all make a difference in the end product.

Our Idaho warehouse is getting a first hand experience on what our producers have to do to provide us with the high quality of Premium Wild Harvest Aviva yerba mate. When we were making arrangements to receive our last 20' container from the ranch, I asked if they could send me some whole leaf yerba mate, dried but unprocessed. I was expecting a few kilos but they sent me about 400 kilos. What is happening now is we are getting low on our inventory so we are having to mill the large leaves and pick the sticks and stems out by hand. Wow, this is no easy task. In order to provide our customers with our big leaf product with limited sticks, stems and minimal powder, the undesirables have to be manually removed.

Aviva Yerba Mate
A Leading Competitor

Enlarged images of these pics can be found at

This process is just one way that makes our yerba mate unique and helps us stand apart from all of the other yerba mate companies out there. I am including a picture of 5 employees at the ranch grinding and picking out the sticks and stems. Yes, this is very labor intensive and very costly, but I like to look at it this way. Yes it is very expensive, but it provides us with the ability to offer our customers a unique experience when it comes to enjoying yerba mate. Most importantly, our unique process is providing jobs to local people who really need them in the countryside of Paraguay where unemployment can hover above 80%.

Aviva's Hand Processing at the Ranch

The other side of this coin is we understand that more new people are coming to the marketplace of yerba mate every day. They may be intimidated by the different offerings and the different price ranges from companies here in the US and from companies selling from South America. For some time we have been sending for samples from producers in Argentina and Southern Brazil. Our goal was to provide our customers not only with the highest quality product from Paraguay, but also the highest quality product from other yerba mate producing regions.

We had two main criteria— quality leaf cut and certified organic. We have built our business on having high standards for our products as well as our customer service. Our customers have found that we have delivered on both of these missions. I am happy to say that we have sourced what we feel is some of the highest quality and best tasting yerba mate coming out of Argentina. We are currently taking orders for this product; however, any orders containing the Argentine organic yerba won't ship until the first week in May. The Aviva Argentine Organic is priced considerably lower than the Wild Harvest Aviva yerba mate. For those of you who want to taste the difference between Wild Harvest and farm grown yerba, this would be a good opportunity to do so.

Aviva Wild Harvest (1lb)
Aviva Argentine Organic (1lb)

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. traditional sticks/stems)? Is it the variety of flavors we offer? The convenience of tea bags? Or is it perhaps our dedication to sustainable cultivation 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: April winner will be announced next week. You still have some time to submit an entry.

excerpt from Steeped in tradition by Stephanie Czekalinski
April 21, 2006 — Actors including Matt Dillon, Madonna, Viggo Mortensen and Alicia Silverstone and the success of the Che Guevara biopic The Motorcycle Diaries have raised the profile of yerba mate, a green tealike beverage first enjoyed by the Guarani, natives of Argentina and Paraguay, and later popularized by Argentine gauchos. Now extremely popular in Latin America, its day has come in central Ohio, too. The buzz has grabbed the attention of mainstream businesses such as Cup Oí Joe, Giant Eagle, Trader Joeís and Whole Foods, which now are stocking the product in their continued efforts to attract and keep Latino customers.

It keeps enthusiasts such as Argentinian native Johanna Kennedy sipping. "You wake up with mate, and you go to bed with mate," the Groveport resident said.

In whatever form, itís a popular item, said David Wright, associate grocery-team leader for the Whole Foods on W. Dublin-Granville Road.

"People who know about it are basically obsessed (with it). Theyíve got to have it," he said. "They say that they donít drink it because it tastes good. They drink it for the qualities."

Yerba mate is strongly connected to the Argentine national identity. "Thereís one mate in every house," Kennedy said. "If you come to my house, Iím going to serve you mate, even if I donít know you. Thatís the custom."

Argentine yerba mate and tea exporters have seen an increase in demand for the product. The Argentine national food authority Senasa reported in February that tea and yerba mate exports grew to $32.9 million last year, up 14 percent compared with 2004.

Source: (4/21/2006)

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Dan Garcia
Founder, Aviva Ltd.

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