Tea 101: What is Yerba Mate Tea?

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So what’s South America’s secret to staying energized? Two words: yerba mate. Pronounced “YER-ba MAH-tay”, this tasty, smooth-drinking herb made from the dried leaves of the rainforest holly plant is treasured among countries like Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. It’s also a medicinal and cultural drink of ancient origins, first introduced to Europeans when the Guarani Indians of South America shared it with Spanish explorers. Yerba mate tea later became known as a “drink of friendship” and has been a central part of South American social gatherings and daily life ever since.

If you’re looking to try something new and exciting, then we think you’re gonna have a blast exploring our amazing assortment of yerba mate teas (which also includes similar energizing herbs like guayusa and yaupon). Taste your way through traditional caffeinated infusions, hydrating iced teas, latte-ready pick-me-ups and fruity focus-boosting blends. And since maté is a social drink, why not order a few samples you’re psyched to try and invite your besties to share in the discovery? Looks like you’ve got some exploring to do…

Benefits of yerba mate

Maté is often described as having the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate all in one beverage. Talk about a triple threat, right? But the thing that makes this antioxidant-rich caffeinated infusion truly special is the balanced energy boost it provides – gentle, clean and most importantly, free of jitters. It’s a quality shared by similar super herbs like yaupon and guayusa, both of which are sipped for the sustained energy boost. Revered as one of South America’s super-leaves, guayusa is said to have many powers, one of which is its ability to keep you awake and alert.

How much caffeine is in yerba mate?

Contrary to popular belief, yerba mate tea contains low amounts of caffeine. So why do we say it gives you energy? Because maté also contains other naturally energizing compounds, which is why you get a boost of energy without the jitters of a highly caffeinated beverage. According to maté enthusiasts, one cup is enough to help them stay alert and on their game for hours. You know what that means… It’s the perfect study buddy to sip on while cramming for an exam and makes a great little afternoon pick-me-up. And since yerba mate not as strong as coffee, it’s less likely to cause stomach acid. Now that’s what we call a win-win.

What does yerba mate tea taste like?

Yerba mate has a distinct, yet pleasant taste that you won’t find in a crisp green tea or a rich black tea. It’s got a signature smoky and toasty flavour, plus a hint of earthy sweetness, a little bit of bitterness and an oh-so smooth finish we can’t get enough of.

So how does maté get its deliciously unique flavour? The leaves are harvested and then flash heated over wood fires or in large dryers. This process – aka “blanching” – is different from how we treat tea leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant, which are withered then air dried at lower temperatures. After blanching, the maté leaves are dried for 8-24 hours. This slow but crucial step brings out all the different flavour characteristics in the tea. Then before they’re ready for steeping, the dried leaves are sometimes aged in cement or cedar chambers, usually for 2-3 months but sometimes for up to 12 months! Once this meticulous process is over, the dried leaves are ground or broken up and ready to enjoy.

Find the infusion that’s right for you

FRUITY

Just Beet It

We squeezed all the sweetness of beetroot into this energizing blend of maté, apple, goji and blackberries. Hot or iced, it’s pretty hard to beet.

Organic Queen of Tarts

One cup of this tangy, hibiscus-packed blend and you’ll feel happy, invigorated – like you’re walking on air. So, is it true love? Maybe… but the energizing burst of guayusa doesn’t hurt either.

Electric Lemonade

With lemon, berries and yerba mate, this tangy, energizing tea is like lemonade with a grown-up twist. Plug in, drink up and get super-charged!

SWEET

Jumpy Monkey

With four types of coffee beans, carob, white chocolate and chicory, this rich and nutty yerba mate is a seriously exotic way to get energized. You’re definitely gonna want to try this one as a latte.

SPICY

The Buzz

Need an extra boost? This energizing blend of ginger, matcha, maté, guarana and citrus will have you buzzing in no time.

OTHER ENERGIZING HERBS

Our maté category also includes other deliciously energizing herbs with similar properties, one of which is harvested right here in North America.

Organic Guayusa

We are seriously passionate about guayusa around here. Not only does it pack an incredible burst of energy, it’s also deliciously smooth, grassy and lightly sweet.

Yaupon

Sustainably harvested in Texas, this smooth and invigorating shrub is the only naturally caffeinated plant native to North America. Try it on ice for your next afternoon pick-me-up.

How to make yerba mate tea perfectly

Making the perfect cup of yerba mate tea is easier than you think. Since maté is already a naturally bitter tea, we recommend keeping the steeping time to 3-5 minutes in near-boiling 95oC/200oF water to get that perfect balance in flavour minus the tacky taste you often associate with oversteeped tea.

Another little known fact about yerba mate? It can be steeped just like any loose leaf tea. You can use an infuser, a teabag or even a French press if you want to class it up.

How to drink maté

There are many ways you can enjoy a cup of maté. If you’re looking for an authentic experience, then sipping it from a gourd through a metal straw called a bombilla is sure to make you feel like one of the gauchos. It also tastes just as delicious sipped out of your fave mug. You can have it hot or iced, served with milk and honey, or even iced with a spritz of lemon and mint. The combinations are endless and are guaranteed to be totally delicious.

Feeling adventurous? Browse our collection of maté teas here.

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