What you need to know: Yerba mate leaves are traditionally brewed into a tea and enjoyed for their unique nutritional profile and natural source of caffeine. Originating in the subtropics of South America, yerba mate contains 24 important vitamins and minerals – such as vitamin A, B, C and E, calcium, iron, potassium and zinc – and an array of amino acids, as well as antioxidants. Yerba mate’s high antioxidant content, which includes carotenes, flavonols and polyphenols, makes it an important food for disease prevention, in addition to helping ease the signs of aging.
Why you should try it: Unlike other sources of caffeine, yerba mate is both relaxing and stimulating. It is a favorite coffee alternative because it does not cause jitters, anxiety or irritability, but is found to increase attention, focus, mood and concentration. Containing theophylline and theobromine, yerba mate is said to have the strength of caffeine and the health benefits of tea, as well as the euphoric effects of chocolate. In addition, research has shown that it is an appetite suppressant, can help lower the risk for diabetes, and can reduce cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Let’s get together: Yerba mate has quite a distinct flavor, one that resembles an infusion of herbs and grass. Due to its strong taste, we find it takes some getting used to, much like your very first cup of coffee or bottle of kombucha. Our remedy to ease the earthiness and to balance out the bitterness, is to make our favorite: yerba mate lattes. We simply steam up Pressed Juicery’s Vanilla Almond, and pour it over a freshly brewed cup of Guayaki’s Yerba Mate and add a dash of cinnamon and clove. We then enjoy it like the South American locals by drinking it straight out of the traditional mate gourd. “Yerba” means herb, and “Mate” is derived from the word “Mati,” which is the name for gourd. So literally, yerba mate means “herb cup.” It is believed that the act of drinking yerba out of the gourd helps one to receive the healing properties of the yerba, while also maintaining its history as being a symbol for friendship and community.