What is Maté?

Overview

Maté is derived from a South American herb grown primarily in the subtropical rainforests of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. South Americans have sipped the energy-boosting brew for centuries, and over the years its popularity has spread to various points around the globe. Maté is cultivated from the leaves and young twigs of the maté tree. It is dried, shredded and aged for a year in cedar containers before becoming yerba maté.

Maté is considered to be a mild alternative to coffee, with more caffeine than most teas but without the unwanted jitters and other side effects of coffee. It is available in both full-leaf loose form and in tea bags, and can be enjoyed on its own or with a splash of steamed milk for a tasty yerba maté latte.

History

The Guaraní Indians of the Paraná River in South America have consumed yerba maté for centuries, praising it for its healing properties. Not only was maté an important part of the Guaraní people’s history from a medicinal perspective, but from a social and community perspective, too. Traditionally, maté was consumed by partaking in a special ritual. During this ritual, participants would brew the tea and then pour it into a hollowed-out gourd. Then, they would pass the gourd in a circle, as each person sipped through a filtered straw. They would also use this special time to talk and socialize with their family, friends, and neighbors.

Spanish explorers were the first Europeans to sample maté tea, when they traveled to Paraguay searching for precious metals in the late 1500’s. The explorers enlisted the help of the local Guaraní people in their quest for gold and silver, and were amazed at how the Indian workers remained so unwearied. Noticing that the maté tea seemed to be the source of the Guaraní Indians’ energy, it was not long before the Spanish were partaking in the beverage themselves. While they may not have found success with their search for precious metals, they had discovered an equally valuable commodity– Yerba Maté, or as the Guaraní Indians called it, “the drink of the gods.”

Soon, everyone from Argentine gauchos of the Pampean plains to the effete oligarchy of South America were imbibing in the drink. Maté tea’s influence spread to Europe too, where it quickly became all the rage.

Mate-Latte

Caffeine Content

Maté has been said to contain the caffeine effects of coffee, the health effects of tea, and the euphoria effects of chocolate. Although considered an herbal tea, yerba maté contains approximately the same amount of caffeine as coffee, though the energy effect is thought to be more sustainable than coffee. The energy boost provided by yerba maté is a gentle, balanced wakefulness, without the jitters and sleeplessness that can sometimes be caused by coffee.

Health Benefits

The Guaraní people of South America have long regarded yerba maté as a drink associated with health, vitality, and long life. Traditionally, it has been used as a stimulant, digestive aid, and tonic for depression and pain.

Maté contains several vitamins, including B-complex, A, C, and E. It is also packed with healing antioxidants, and minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, and magnesium.

Recent studies have found that maté can be effective in treating chronic fatigue syndrome. It has also been linked to heart health, and has been used as a treatment for irregular heartbeats and low blood pressure. Thanks to its stimulant effects, many people use maté as both a weight loss and digestive aid. It can also be effective at treating depression, headaches, and general malaise.*

Steeping is Easy

  • Fill the kettle with fresh, filtered water and heat to a rolling boil.
  • If using a tea bag, steep tea for 3-5 minutes. If using full-leaf tea, use one teaspoon of leave leaves and steep for 5-7 minutes. For either method, use 6 oz heated water per cup.
  • Enjoy Sip by Sip.

Recipes

Its rich and unique flavor profile makes yerba maté an excellent add-in for a variety of food and drink recipes. Brewed maté tea can be mixed into coconut water for a refreshing and energizing pick-me-up, or stirred into lemonade for a unique twist on the bright, summery beverage. It can also be used in a variety of cocktails, mocktails, spritzers and coolers.

Maté also works well as an ingredient in some baked goods, such as muffins or cookies. For a chocolatey twist, try The Republic of Tea’s Organic Double Dark Chocolate Maté Super Tea Booster. This combination of finely ground cocoa powder and roasted maté can be added to smoothies, yogurt, milk and more, supplying a nice dose of antioxidants and a low-calorie energy boost.

Videos

Learn more about The Republic of Tea’s Maté Latte All Night Samba tea in this video clip. Our All Night Samba Herb Tea will happily engage your senses with its deep, sweet, chocolatey infusion that is rich in character and flavor. This tea features an exotic blend of cocoa and Brazilian maté, with a small amount of natural caffeine. Rooibos, cactus flowers and almonds add depth to this deep rich brew. Also available in full-leaf loose.

We invite you to browse The Republic of Tea’s full section of maté teas and indulge in the flavorful, healthful “drink of the gods.”