Yerba mate is a type of tea made from the leaves and stems of the holly plant ilex paraguariensis and is native to South America. Sometimes known as “drink of the gods” or “drink of friendship,” mate was first discovered and prepared by the indigenous Guarani people. Mate’s etymology derives from both Spanish and Quechua, an indigenous South American language - yerba is derived from the Spanish word for herb, while mate comes from a Quechua word meaning cup or gourd.
After European colonization, mate consumption and production became popular among the colonizers, particularly Jesuit missionaries and other foreign settlers. Mate is extremely popular in South America, where it is the official drink of Argentina, and is also widely consumed in Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile and Brazil. It is also very popular in Syria, the world’s leading importer of mate, as well as Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.
Mate Health Benefits
Mate is high in caffeine, containing almost as much as coffee per cup. However, the caffeine present in mate, sometimes called matteine, often has a slightly different effect than the sort of caffeine found in coffee or in tea made from the camellia sinensis plant. Mate is said to contribute to focus, clarity, and alertness, without the negative effects typically associated with excess caffeine intake, making it a great alternative for those looking for a stimulant with fewer adverse side effects. Mate is also rich in antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals, and is known for promoting good digestion and heart health.
How to Prepare Mate
Mate is traditionally prepared in a hollow gourd by adding leaves and hot, but not boiling water to the gourd to steep. The tea is then consumed through a filtered straw known as a bombilla. In many South American countries, mate is drunk among a group of friends by drinking and refilling the same gourd as it is passed from person to person. Mate can also be prepared in the same way as other teas and tisanes, by steeping the leaves in an infuser or filter in a mug or pot.
Our traditional Yerba Mate is a great option for those looking to try mate on its own, with no added ingredients. Our Nutty Mocha Mate is a rich, delicious blend of mate with chocolate and hazelnut, sure to appeal to those with a sweet tooth, while our Lively Lemony Mate is an uplifting, citrus-forward brew that’s sure to start the day off on a great note!