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A Must-Try Ice Tea Blend to Serve at Every Summer Event

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Now, we’re no slouches but we’re constantly meeting entrepreneurs who put us to shame. Take, for example, Runa cofounder Tyler Gage, who started the gamechanging tea company with Dan MacCombie when they two were still undergrads at Brown. Now based in Brooklyn, the company makes tea blends powered by organic guayusa, a naturally sweet leaf that is native to the Amazon. Runa sources all its tea through fair, sustainable efforts that support over 2,000 producers in Ecuador. And thanks to the guayasa, their blends have more caffeine than your typical black tea, double the antioxidants of green tea, and taste ridiculously good. 

We caught up with the globetrotting Gage in between trips and got his take on the best way to enjoy tea (hint: you might have to hop a plane) and a killer recipe for a heat-beating Arnold Palmer.

You and your cofounder have both spent a lot of time in the Amazon—what is your best tip for anyone visiting the region? 
 
Wake up before sunrise. Dawn is the most magical time in the jungle - the bird calls and light breaking through the canopy are magical. Also, chew raw garlic and put lime in your water to protect your guts!
What do you love about Ecuadorian culture?
 
I love how Ecuadorians have a respect and understanding of the value of the places, traditions, and families that sculpt who we are as people. In recognizing and honoring the past and what is traditional, it doesn’t seem to be a way for them to be retroactive, but rather to use the strength of the past as the creative platform to build the future. I’ve heard Kichwa shamans say that we can’t change the future unless we bring the past into the present.
 
What’s your perfect cup of tea?
 
3 am. Still, slightly foggy air typical of the early morning in the Upper Amazon. Huge gourd full of at least one liter of strongly brewed guayusa that has been sitting on the fire all night.

Imagine you’ve tapped into your inner Willy Wonka. Describe the fantastical tea blend you’d create.

I’m from Berkeley and I’ve always wished you could create an essential oil from the smell of the East Bay. Some foggy mist of eucalyptus, oak, and endless possibility. So I would infuse guayusa leaves with this essential oil, and then add a dash of Cheshire Cat whiskers for absurdity purposes.

This summer, beat the heat with Gage’s Arnold Palmero: 

  1. Wash a clear container or large tea pitcher thoroughly with hot water and soap. 
  2. Fill the container with a generous amount of cold water. Drop in one Runa’s sweet and revitalizing blend. For best results, add one tea bag per every six ounces of water. 
  3. Place the container in direct sunlight for at least two hours. 
  4. Remove the teabags and serve iced.
  5. Ditch the sugar-packed lemonade found in traditional Arnold Palmers and instead, give your brew a zesty kick with fresh mint and a lemon wedges. 
  6. Sip and enjoy!

—Ally

Tip: Sweeten your daily mug of tea with a bit of local honey or all-natural stevia extract.

 

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