ECO TEAS Herbal Loose Leaf Tea Yerba Mate - Traditional Cut Whole Plant 454g
Yerba mate provides 25mg of caffeine per 2g tea bag in 1 cup (240ml) of water. For comparison, the average cup of coffee has 135mg of caffeine. The average cup of black tea contains 50mg. Green tea has 30mg.
Not all 'caffeines' are the same, however. What we refer to as 'caffeine' is really a group of substances known to chemists as Xanthine Alkaloids. The caffeine in coffee is very physical and quick to take effect. Theophylline is the 'caffeine' found in green tea. It tends to be very mental. Theobromine is the 'caffeine' found in chocolate. It tends to be very slow-releasing.
Yerba mate actually contains a mixture of these three xanthine alkaloids. It also provides minerals to support nervous system function, and B-vitamins to relax muscles. For these reasons, it produces a balanced, long-lasting physical and mental stimulation.
At one point, South American chemists were so intrigued by the qualitative difference between yerba mate stimulation and coffee stimulation that they invented a phantom molecule called mateine to explain it. They claimed that mateine was a unique molecule in the xanthine alkaloid family. We now know this is not the case, though we still sometimes refer to mateine as the holistic effect of drinking yerba mate.
Yerba mate receives a lot of press as a diet and weight-loss tea. While nothing can replace a healthy diet, regular exercise, and a great attitude, yerba mate can certainly give you a boost:
- Yerba Mate raises metabolism.
- Yerba Mate regulates appetite, encouraging a healthy diet.
- Yerba Mate aids digestion.
- Yerba Mate is thermogenic. "Thermogenic" means that it actually induces the body to burn calories.
- Yerba Mate provides antioxidants, minerals, amino acids, and B vitamins to support a healthy lifestyle.
Yerba Mate is often touted as "the nutritious stimulant." Below is a chart that shows the nutritional value of a mug of yerba mate tea.
| Serving Size
|| 6g of loose yerba mate in 1 cup (240ml) water
Yerba Mate Antioxidants
When brewed as directed, this tea provides an ORAC value of 10,000 ÂµmolTE/240ml, which is five times stronger than a typical cup of green tea.
Yerba Mate & PAH
A lot of yerba mate is dried with smoke. In general, smoked foods often contain high levels of carcinogenic substances known as PAH's (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons). To be on the safe side, you may want to drink unsmoked yerba mate.
Yerba Mate pH
A cup of mate cocido brewed at medium strength yields a pH of around 5.5. Be aware that variations in brewing method and water quality will inevitably cause variation. For best results, use filtered pH-neutral water and don't steep longer than five minutes.
Yerba Mate & Fluoride
If you are concerned about the high fluoride content in green tea, yerba mate might be a good alternative. Yerba mate has a lot less fluoride than green tea. 1 cup of EcoTeas yerba mate with one 2g tea bag yields 0.021mg of fluoride, which is only one-fifth the fluoride content of the average cup of green tea brewed at similar strength.
The Preparation of Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate Traditional-Style
Traditional-style yerba mate is a strong, invigorating brew. It is best shared with a small group of friends or family. The person who prepares and serves the mate is called the cebador (say-ba-door). Traditionally, the cebador is the only person who pours the water, passes the gourd around, and maintains the freshness of the herb.
To be a good Cebador:
- Fill a thermos with hot boiled water 80°C (never boiling!).
- Fill a mate vessel 2/3 with loose yerba mate
- Tap the herb to one side of the gourd to create a pit.
- Pour cool water into the pit.
- Insert a bombilla into the pit.
- Pour a small sip of hot water from the thermos into the pit, right over the bombilla's head.
- Test this "first pour" to make sure that the temperature is right- not too hot or cold - and that the bombilla is flowing well.
- Do not flood the gourd. The top of the herb should stay dry as you pour water into the pit.
- Pass the gourd to one person at a time, allowing each participant to sip until the bombilla gurgles.
- Maintain a slow, steady rhythm and a fixed order so that each participant receives enough mate.
- Discourage people from stirring the mate with the bombilla, as this often leads to clogging.
- Refresh the herb when it runs out of flavor.
- Maintain a steady supply of hot water.
Yerba Mate Cocido
'Mate Cocido' is the Spanish term for yerba mate brewed like any other tea or coffee. You can use tea bags, a tea ball, a strainer, a French press, or a coffee maker. Use the same proportions you would for coffee or other tea. Here are some helpful tips to make a great cup of mate:
- Always moisten the herb with cool water first to protect the flavor and nutrients.
- Steep in 80°C water. NEVER USE BOILING WATER!
- Steep five minutes max.
- To make a stronger cup of mate, use more herb. Don't brew longer than five minutes. Tea quality diminishes with over-steeping.
Yerba Mate Gringo-Style
This is our playful term for a style of drinking yerba mate that is getting popular in North America. You could say it's a cross between Mate Cocido and Traditional Style.
- Place the desired amount of loose yerba mate into a big mug.
- Add a bit of cool water and let it soak into the herb.
- Place a bombilla in the mug.
- Fill the mug with hot (80°C) water and enjoy.
- You can refill the mug a couple of times over the course of your morning. If the brew gets weak, add a touch more loose yerba.
Yerba Mate 'Terere'
Enjoy iced yerba mate with a bombilla! Terere is a refreshing summer treat. It is more popular than hot mate in tropical South America.
- Fill a pitcher with water and ice.
- Add organic agave syrup, maple syrup, or unrefined cane sugar to taste.
- Squeeze a fresh organic lime or two into the pitcher. (Organic bottled lemonade or limeade can be used instead.)
- Fill a small glass or metal cup with yerba mate. (We don't recommend using gourds for terere, because the lime and sugar flavors willl taint the gourd thereafter.)
- Insert a bombilla into the yerba.
- Pour sips of ice-cold, sweet, limey water right over the bombilla's head.
- Share, Sip, and Refresh!
Yerba Mate Espresso
Brew yerba mate with an espresso machine. It's easy and tasty!
- Thoroughly clean your espresso machine's portofilter to remove coffee oils.
- Pour 2 tablespoons of loose yerba mate into a small cup.
- Add enough cool water to make a loose "paste."
- Spoon this yerba mate "paste" into the espresso machine's portofilter and pack it in lightly.
- Make a shot of green espresso for use in "mate lattes," "green granitas," etc.
Yerba Mate Blending Options
According to traditional Guarani herb-lore, yerba mate acts as a catalyst to enhance the properties of other herbs. Many blends are available on the market. You can also acquire your own herbs and experiment. The bombilla is a great tool for trying out your own unique concoctions.
You can even grow your own herbs and/or learn to wildcraft. No matter where you live, there's probably a variety of tasty and healing herbs within a short stroll from your home. Wildcrafting is a great opportunity to get to know your local flora. When we wander the hills above our home in southern Oregon, we blend our yerba with manzanita berries, Douglas fir needles, sagebrush, myrtlewood, or wild mint. Consult an expert if you are unsure of a plant's identity or use. You can frequently go on organized wildcrafting hikes through your local outdoor store or college outdoor club.
In addition to wildcrafting, here's a few of the more common herbs and flavors you can get at any natural food store or grow in your backyard. Toss them into your French press, or sprinkle them atop the loose yerba in your mate gourd:
- Diced fresh ginger root
- Dried orange peel
- Lemongrass/lemon verbena
- Rose hips
- Indian chai spices
- Stevia leaf
- Licorice root
- Green tea
Our Yerba Mate Source
EcoTeas Organic Yerba Mate comes from a family farm in the state of Misiones in northeastern Argentina. This region is famous for producing the highest quality yerba mate. Here the sun, rain, and soil are perfectly suited to this vibrant plant.
Our organic family farm produces outstanding yerba mate. While most yerba mate is dried with the use of smoke, our farmers' smoke-free drying process creates a clean, smooth yerba mate.
After drying, our yerba mate is aged for a minimum of nine months to allow the flavor and naturally-ocurring acids in the leaves to mellow. Finally, we sift our yerba mate during milling to remove stems and powder, creating a pure leaf yerba mate of exceptional quality and potency.
Our family farmers are committed to ecological farming. Their traditional methods leave dense corridors of native forest intact. Many of these wildlife-rich lands have never seen a machete, and they never will.
We have partnered with our farmers to begin an ambitious project in sustainable agriculture. First, we are helping the local subsistence farmers who live nearby to get certified as organic. Not only will this protect our farm's watershed, it will preserve these farmers' traditions and help them achieve environmentally-sound livelihoods. Next, we're replanting pasturelands with native species to create habitats where wildlife and yerba mate can coexist. Together with you, our North American customers, we are creating long-term solutions that honor the people, plants, and wildlife that call the rainforest home.