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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YERBA MATE TEA

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YERBA MATE TEA

The nutritional South American tea, Yerba Mate (yer-ba mah-tay) is an earthy brew of leaves and leaf extracts from the yerba mate tree. Its delicate branches spring dark emerald leaves elongated much like holly, and once brewed yerba mate becomes an energy-boosting drink, served hot or cold.  

Now made popular as a ready-to-drink (RTD) iced health beverage trending around the world, yerba mate is, for all purposes, a healthy energy drink with real ingredients and full-bodied taste.  

Often shortened to "mate," this clean energy drink has a similar caffeine level to coffee and greater antioxidant count than green or black tea. Mate is one of the only plants on earth containing natural caffeine, plus fat-burning lipids, essential minerals, and 'hepatoprotective' detoxifying properties. (We'll explain in a second...)   

Once culturally niche, yerba mate is projected to be a $170 million-dollar industry by 2024, according to new projections from June 2019.   

No surprise. Its benefits are unbelievable, its effect energizing, and the distinct bitter flavor is peaking in popularity among both young and old consumers embracing the way "real" tastes.   

Leading RTD brands make the time-intensive brewing and serving of yerba mate as easy as buying a can from the cooler. Dedicated brands are also ensuring their mate is made with USDA-certified organic ingredients, mixed with new and refreshing tropical flavors, all to support the world's passionate doers and makers.

Here's everything you need to know about this South American energy tea:

 

Head-to-Toe Benefits  

People catch on to mate after hearing that the tea can deliver long-lasting energy without jitters or impending crash. Since mate is an alkaline-based drink, it also doesn't deliver acidity (in fact, counteracting it), which can make coffee rough on the stomach. Mate literally curbs digestive wonkiness.  

After the initial sip, mate gets to work in your body like a superhero set on saving Gotham. (Not that your body is dark and dank, but you get the point.) First, it delivers a bounty of caffeine...  

 

  • Clean Energy: A can of yerba mate should have a similar caffeine mg count to a cup of coffee. That means mild, but effective and uplifting energy. Unlike chemical-laden energy drinks, mate delivers a sustained vitality buzz. Its caffeine properties make mate a drink enjoyed in the morning, during a mid-day slump, or before a big project. The sensation of mate's natural caffeine is one of alertness and stimulation, as opposed to nervous jitters... the latter of which is the absolute worst part of other caffeine-based products. Just imagine that same energy without the coffee sweats.  
  • Fat-Burning: Ahh, the hyphenated magic word of the modern age. As a culture, we're obsessed with "fat-burning" solutions that would melt our bellies and get us in beach-body shape. Yerba mate isn't building its reputation around weight loss because the goal of the drink is to promote all-over health. (And we like some fat... fat is good.) Lab-based research shows mate can improve lipid parameters in humans and animals, modulating weight-influencing genes to "more normal levels." This cool process influences weight maintenance. RTD mate drinks that promote such natural properties would only work when made with low-sugar and low-carbohydrates. So, check the labels.   
  • Cell Development: Minerals are hardly talked about when it comes to health benefits but need to be. They're essential to our metabolisms and cell development. Mate naturally has iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and chromium. Go ahead and Google these... or trust us in saying these minerals are fundamental to your health and mate has you covered. Yes, mate also has vitamins (see: A, C, E, and more).  
  • Detoxing: We're going to use another big word, and that's hepatoprotective. Celebrity nutritionist and yerba mate fanatic Keri Glassman says mate is hepatoprotective, in that the drink protects the cells in your liver so this detoxing-organ can chug along at max speed. Mate helps this pre-programmed detox system in our bodies while also halting oxidative stress, thanks to its high antioxidant levels.   
  • Circulation and Heart Health: Glassman endorses mate because it increases healthy circulation in the body. How? Vaso relaxation, which dilates the blood vessels. Red wine does a similar thing, but mate is non-alcoholic so you can drink it at work without shame.   

Mate is commonly added to health supplements because of its high biological activity and concentration of active compounds. But the easiest method of capturing these benefits remains: just drink the stuff.   

 

Real Earthy Taste  

When someone says "acquired taste," it usually means 'disgusting but I'm trying to be nice.' Yerba mate is called "acquired" but a more accurate description is that the tea tastes "real."   

Brewed and mixed incorrectly, mate can taste like watered-down dirt, tobacco, grass, or bitter coffee. But brewed correctly...   

The natural toasted quality of mate lays an earthy and bold base complemented best by a little cane sugar and natural flavors. Since mate is a tea, tropical and juicy essence like mango, lemon, and mint pair best and references the plant's rainforest roots.   

You don't want your mate to "taste sweet." The spike in RTD yerba mate sales is driven by more people desiring a drink that doesn't mask complexity with sugar. Subtle flavors can elevate the accessibility and experience of drinking yerba mate, but don't judge a can on your first sip. Mate drinkers love the iced tea for its palate depth.  

 

History: Mate as Money & Medicine  

Much like other functional beverages on a comeback kick (i.e. relaxation tea, kombucha, coconut water), yerba mate has been enjoyed for centuries before us.   

Guaraní natives living in the rainforests of South America not only drank mate leaves but used them as currency. (Make it mate rain.) Culturally, sharing a gourd of yerba mate symbolized an agreement to be friends  

The Paraguayan Mestizo people have one of the longest traditions of drinking yerba mate, using the plant in folk medicine.  

Mate's history is so ingrained in South American identity that it's the national drink of Paraguay, Argentina, and Uruguay. The plant's cultivation is also housed in South America, producing the finest yerba mate on the planet.   

Spanning global markets and meeting rising demand from the US, mate is still somewhat of a health currency.  

 

Today: Mate as Mind Power  

Today people drink yerba mate to spike brain power and lift energy.   

The reason mate is so enjoyed is because its clean energy promotes what experts call "Deep Work."   

Deep Work is focusing on a task or project without external distractions and with a clear and sharpened mind. It's the ability to do creative or highly-focused, high-yield work without being hyperactive, overwhelmed, or jittery.  

Successful minds like Arianna Huffington promote deep work- others call it getting into "the flow." We all know the feeling of being immersed in a task, whether research, creation, or strategy, and your productivity is on high-drive.   

Being natural and nutritional, mate is a route to deep work (if you put away your cell phone). Managing your attention by pairing yerba mate with deep work can give you a competitive edge, creatively and within a business.   

Get into the habit of doing deep work by scheduling your mate break to coincide. Remove distractions, crack open your yerba mate, and dive deep. After being in the flow, it's easy to see the benefits of heightened and focused problem solving, and want to do more.   

 

Old School Mate Prep v. RTD  

Coffee is easy to prepare. Tea, easy. Traditional mate preparation, on the other hand, is a ceremony of time, temperature, and steeping.   

Start with mate tea powder and have your gourd (the cup), bombilla (metal straw with a strainer at one end), water, and heating/cooling instruments on hand.   

Start with dried loose leaves that have already been processed *yerba mate is never consumed as a raw product* and pack them into the bottom of the gourd. Pour either hot or cold water over the leaves multiple times (about half-way full), followed by water of the opposite temperature to the top. Let it steep a couple of minutes. Place your bombilla straw filter-down and sip the tea. Once the liquid is gone, you can refill with hot and cold water for another drink without replacing the leaves.   

Unless you're a mate maniac, you can get a consistent, high-quality mate experience from RTD cans, which tend to taste more appealing and be easier to drink on-the-go.   

Set out to blaze a new healthy habit and try yerba mate, like, now.