Historically, guayusa was most commonly consumed as a tea. “The leaves are picked, dried, and brewed to make an herbal tea, and is often used as a coffee alternative,” Nieves says. Today, you may find it as an ingredient in some natural energy drinks, or sold as a caffeinated tea (such as Runa). It’s also available to purchase in powder form.
Gorin says that indeginous families in Ecuador would often wake up as early as 3am to sit around a fire and drink guayusa tea from gourds until the sunrise.
As for the taste? If you’ve ever tried yerba mate, it’s a similar flavor, but significantly less bitter. It can even offer a slightly fruity taste profile.