Welcome! We are Conor and Fionn, two friends since school, and the people behind Nú Infusions – Ireland’s first guayusa tea company. We often get asked how and why we started this business, so we thought we’d share a bit of our story below!
The idea for Nú Infusions started in May of 2018, when Conor got a call from an Ecuadorian friend of his called Martin, a former housemate from Conor’s days studying in Lisbon. Martin was always an enthusiastic guy, but this day he was really singing the praises of a new kind of tea he had discovered. It was called guayusa - or "gyasa" as we first called it! Martin told us how indigenous communities in Ecuador had been drinking this tea for centuries, as a way to start their day and keep them energised while at work, similar to how and why we drink coffee. He mentioned how guayusa had the same caffeine levels as coffee, but that it was a slower-release caffeine that didn’t give you the jittery side effects or the dreaded coffee crash. We were both immediately intrigued, because we knew those jittery side effects and that crash feeling a bit too well, and had never been a fan of them, but we still needed caffeine to get us through long days in the office.
We still had no idea how to pronounce the name of this tea, but we knew we wanted to try it, so we asked Martin to kindly send some to Dublin. We can still remember brewing up the first cup and feeling that unique kind of energy – that smoother lift, without any anxiety but with a more clear-headed and happier feeling, and without any midday crash! Most of all we loved the naturally smooth taste, and how it blended so well with other kinds of tea, like mint or cocoa.
We were housemates at the time so getting up to brew a pot of guayusa before heading off to work quickly became our morning ritual. The more we drank it, the more we liked it, and the more we started to read about it. And we saw how it was about more than just health benefits. We were excited to see that the international guayusa industry was just beginning, and that it was helping to set new standards in environmental and social sustainability - for example paying guayusa farmers 15% above the Fairtrade price, and demonstrating more natural and less destructive forms of rainforest agriculture. The idea of playing some part in helping to shape this young and growing industry was exciting. Conor had worked on a lot of sustainable development projects before, and this seemed like a great opportunity to combine this experience with his interest in setting up a business.
We started brewing up cups of guayusa for our friends, family, and colleagues, and we were really encouraged by the response - people wanted to know where they could get some more! We spent months going to every café and tea shop in Dublin, but not a single person we spoke to had even heard of it yet! This wasn’t so surprising, as it had only just become popular in the US, and was only starting to make its way to Europe, after passing the novel foods regulation in early 2018. But although guayusa wasn’t known yet, we knew that we loved the product, loved its story, and we loved helping other people to discover it. So the idea of setting up the first company to bring guayusa to the Irish market started to make more and more sense, and little by little it started to become more than just an idea!
Getting a business up and running has been a new experience for us, but we've loved the challenge. We wanted to create a product to be really proud of, so we gave it the time we needed to find the right suppliers, decide on the blends, create a brand that reflected the product, and 101 other little details we won't bore you with! Things finally felt ready for launch in December of 2019, and we’ve been delighted with the feedback so far. It’s been great to see so many people having the same enthusiasm about guayusa that we have, and to see it being stocked by more and more cafes and retailers around Ireland. We've many more plans towards our mission to make guayusa a household name in Ireland, and for more and more people to be reaching for a cuppa Nú for their daily "guayusa break"!
We'd love to hear from you, so feel free to reach out to us through social media or at firstname.lastname@example.org!