What is Maté Tea?
Maté Tea is a traditional South American caffeine-rich infused herbal drink. It is made from the steeped leaves and twigs of an indigenous plant. Herbal Yerba mate tea contains roughly as much caffeine as coffee, about 80 milligrams per cup.
History of Maté Tea:
The drink itself dates back to the pre-Columbian era when the local Guaraní people in Paraguay discovered and started to aggressively cultivate the Ilex paraguariensis plant (a member of the holly family), dry the leaves and twigs, and infuse them in hot water—mainly as a wellness beverage. Once the Spanish colonized Paraguay in the 17th century, they too began drinking it, and it became the country's chief export. Other South American countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Chile grew the crop as well, and even after the arrival of coffee and other kinds of tea in South America, yerba mate remained one of the most popular drinks in the area.
Benefits of Maté Tea:
- Rich in antioxidants and nutrients
- Can boost energy and improve mental focus
- May enhance physical performance
- May protect against infections
- May help you lose weight and belly fat
- Lowers blood sugar levels
- May lower your risk of heart disease
Yerba mate is unlikely to cause harm to healthy adults who drink it occasionally.
However, those who drink it regularly may be at increased risk of several conditions, like cancer, caffeine-related side effects and medication interactions.
Taste of Maté Tea:
Maté tea’s taste is strong, bitter, and vegetal. It has a very distinctive taste that, like coffee, can require an adjustment period.
How to enjoy Maté Tea:
Yerba mate is traditionally served in a container called a gourd, also known as a calabash.
It’s commonly sipped through a metal straw that has a filter on its lower end to strain out the leaf fragments.
To prepare mate, fill the bottom third of the calabash with dried or toasted mate leaves prior to adding hot water.
If you do not own a calabash, you can prepare it in a French press.
The tea is often served with burnt sugar, lemon juice, or milk and can be topped off with hot water several times before using new leaves to make a new batch.
Although traditionally consumed hot, Yerba mate may also be served cold, especially in hot climates.