"The delicious drink that is as energizing as coffee, nourishing as tea and comforting as chocolate."
Brewed from the dried leaves (and often, twigs, stems and flowers) of the Yerba Mate tree, Mate tea has been "the national beverage" of several South American countries for centuries... and it has now become wildly popular worldwide.
Research suggests that consumption of Yerba Mate tea may offer numerous health benefits such as:
- maintaining healthy cholesterol levels
- satiating hunger, increasing metabolism and combating obesity
- offering liver protective properties
- improving energy levels and mental alertness
- supporting heart health
Yerba mate is also rich in antioxidants and may help in the prevention of certain types of cancers.
It's energy-boosting properties may largely come from fairly high level of caffeine that Yerba Mate tea contains (on average, about double the caffiene of black tea... but less than that of coffee) – but it also contains tannin which which provide a calming effect. These tanins are largely responsibe for what some people describe as a somewhat bitter and pungent taste. (Hint, the first
How to Brew Yerba Mate
To prevent bitterness, steep Yerba Mate tea bags or loose leaf herb in hot, but not boiling water for 4-5 minutes. (Approximately 160-175 degrees is perfect.) And the longer it steeps in hot water, the more bitter it may become. Hopefully, like us, you won't even notice the bitterness after drinking yerba mate tea becomes a habit.
But, if the taste of straight-brewed hot, chilled or iced Yerba Mate tea doesn't resonate with you at first, you may try adding a little sugar or honey, a small shot of milk or cream, a squeeze of lemon or lime, or a sprig of peppermint or drop of vanilla. Or, simply try one of the flavored varieties of yerba mate tea. For other suggestions on how to make yerba mate, please check out our Yerb Mate tea recipes.
Tip: To get all the goodness out of every serving, we usually steep yerba mate 2 or 3 times before discarding.
Tip 2: Traditionally, yerba mate is steeped in a gourd and consumed through a filtered, metal straw. But outside of South America, it is most often prepared in the same way you would any other tea: steeped in a cup (kept covered to retain heat and flavor), teapot, coffee maker, French press or thermos.