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What Is Yerba Mate?

by Emeric Harney February 22, 2022 3 min read

What Is Yerba Mate?

Have you heard of yerba mate? If you’re from a South American country, then you most certainly have! Pronounced “yehr buh maa tay,” this is the rare herbal tea that is packed with caffeine. Commonly referred to simply as “mate,” this tea is the national drink of Argentina – they even have a National Mate Day on November 30. So popular is this beverage in Argentina, there are hot-water stations in cities where residents can refill their thermos of mate with fresh hot water, allowing them to carry their mate with them and never run out – that’s how much they love it!

Derived from the leaves and twigs of the ilex paraguariensis plant native to several South American countries, mate contains several beneficial plant nutrients. The Pasteur Institute reported in 1964 that mate contains 24 vitamins and minerals, along with 15 amino acids and antioxidants. Some of those include:

  • Xanthines. These compounds include caffeine and theobromine (also found in tea, coffee and chocolate) that act as stimulants. While a cup of yerba mate generally has less caffeine than a cup of coffee, it has more than most teas.
  • Caffeoyl derivatives. These provide antioxidants, giving yerba mate some of the same health benefits of green tea, perhaps even slightly higher amounts.
  • Saponins. While bitter, these compounds contain some anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-lowering properties.
  • Polyphenols. Another group of antioxidants, linked to a number of health benefits.

Paraguay’s Ache Guayaki tribe has sipped yerba mate from gourds for hundreds of years for its rejuvenating qualities. Yerba mate was also a popular drink among the gauchos, or cowboys, of Argentina. We suspect it was for the caffeine that helped keep them upright in the saddle on long rides rather than the potential health benefits. Although not falling out of your saddle is certainly one way to stay healthy!

This beverage is typically served in a gourd, or calabash, and drunk through a metal straw called a bombilla – it has a filter on the end to keep the leaves in the bowl and out of your mouth. It’s often served with burnt sugar, lemon juice or milk. Preparing it the traditional way in a gourd and sharing it with a friend is the reason this tea is known as the “drink of friendship” and a bonding ritual.

You can also prepare your mate using a French press or of course with an infuser or in sachets. But the bombilla sounds like more fun, don’t you think?

Discover why yerba mate is said to have the health benefits of tea, the strength of coffee and the pleasing nature of chocolate. We offer several mate blends for you to sip and savor.

Yerba Mate. A traditional mate with vegetal aromas and flavor.

Yerba Mate Mint. Our own blend of peppermint and mate.

AllNighter. Named for when you need to pull one, this tea is packed with caffeine from a blend of both yerba mate and guayusa along with a bit of liquorice for added oomph!

American Buzz. For those times when next-level doses of caffeine are required, we made this tea with three caffeinated hollies – yaupon from Texas, guayusa from Ecuador and Brazilian yerba mate. Then we added lemongrass and spearmint for an extra kick.

Focus. Also a blend of mate and guayusa, this tea from our sister company, The Hemp Division, also contains all-natural CBD along with coconut pieces and spearmint for a refreshing way to stay focused and on task – you know, so you don’t fall out of your saddle. 

Emeric Harney
Emeric Harney


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