Meet Yerba Maté, The Amazonian Wonder Plant
Yerba maté has been called the liquid vegetable because of the numerous health benefits and antioxidant qualities. It also provides a long lasting energy boost, and satisfying taste.
We did some research to answer common questions and share some of the amazing qualities that are being discovered about Yerba Maté teas.
What is Yerba Maté?
Yerba maté is made from the leaves of the small tree that grows in South America. After the leaves are picked they are flash heated over a fire, then dried using smoke and heat, and aged for up to one year to develop the flavour.
The medicinal properties were first discovered by the Guarani people of Paraguay, and became a popular beverage across South America in the 17th century. Today it is the national beverage of Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
It is traditionally prepared in gourd and drunk through a filtering straw called a bombilla. However, it can be prepared in the same way as any loose leaf tea.
Rich in Antioxidants, Amino Acids and Vitamins
Maté has been found to contain slightly higher antioxidant levels than green tea. Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals and reduce the risk of many diseases. The antioxidants in maté have also been found to have anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering properties.
Maté also contains seven out of nine essential amino acids, and nearly all the vitamins and minerals the body needs including vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B-complex, iron, calcium, magnesium and more.
Several studies have shown promising effects of maté related to weight loss and management, and cancer prevention.
Mateine - A Unique Form of Caffeine
Yerba Maté contains mateine - which is the combination of caffeine, theobromine and theophylline. Theobromine is an alkaloid also found in cacao, which has been found to reduce blood pressure, reduce mental fatigue and improve quality of sleep.
Because of the combination of caffeine and theobromine and the other antioxidants, mateine is absorbed much slower into the body than other caffeinated beverages, and also has a totally different effect on the mind and body. While everyone responds to stimulants differently, in general people find mateine provides a more sustained energy boost without the "crash" normally associated with caffeine. Many people also find switching to maté from coffee improves their quality of sleep.
Many people, including us, also experience that maté is great for mental clarity and concentration.
Some of Our Favourite Blends
Yerba Maté is wonderful on its own. It is described as containing a number of tasting notes, including earthy, grass, woods, mint, florals, lemon, smoke, and more. It is also slightly astringent and bitter. It has a rich, complex flavour that, like coffee, can be an acquired taste. We've come to love it.
If you are trying maté for the first time, we recommend you try one of our delicious maté blends, including Sweet Ginger Maté, Lemongrass Maté, Mint Maté and Black Maté Morning. In each of these blends, the other herbs and spices balance the flavours of maté in a way that makes them easily enjoyed by everyone. They are some of our personal favourite teas!
How to Prepare Yerba Maté Tea
Maté is best prepared with water slightly below boiling (around 80 deg. C), and steeped for about 5-8 minutes.
Traditionally, when Yerba Maté is prepared in a gourd, the gourd is filled with quite a bit of tea (up to 3/4 of the gourd) and hot water is added several times. We encourage you to experiment with re-steeping your maté as well. Re-steeping the leaves allows you to enjoy different flavour profiles each time, without nearly as much caffeine after the initial steep.
We hope you enjoy and would love to hear from you about your experience with Yerba Maté!
Check out our entire Yerba Maté tea collection here.