Yerba Mate – Move over tea and coffee…
If you haven’t tried Yerba Mate yet, then you are missing out on a very delectable and refreshing drink. Yerba Mate is a centuries old tea-like drink from South America. It’s popularity among North American and European herbal drink connoisseurs has been growing rapidly in the past few years.
Many die hard tea and coffee drinkers have been turning to Yerba Mate as their drink of choice for it’s many health benefits, smooth flavor and energy boost without caffeine induced jitters. Yerba Mate can be enjoyed hot or iced, loose leafed, in tea-like bags or via an infuser in a cup. Any way you take it, you are sure to enjoy it’s earthy flavor, smooth aftertaste and gentle energy boost!
Yerba Mate, an accepted “miracle drink”
Those of us who have been into Yerba Mate for a while have known of the wonderful health effects that it can have, from providing a gentle energy boost to calming the nerves and filing the body with powerful anti-oxidants. Well, now it is official, or so Dr. Oz indicates on his extremely popular medical health show. Yerba Mate is one o Dr. Oz’s miracle drinks that provides “good hydration” and “gives you energy”. Take a look at the video clip in which Dr. Oz describes Yerba Mate: Dr. Oz Yerba Mate video clip.
This article is dedicated to reviewing various Yerba Mate blends and brands. Unlike other review sites, I will only publish reviews of products that I have actually tried or someone that I know personally has tried. Either way, the reviews represent personal opinions of the product and you are welcome to take them at face value…or not.
If you are interested in purchasing some of the blends, brands or accessories reviewed here, simply click on the picture or one of the links to be taken straight to the yerbe mate store front. I have made several orders through this store over the past year and I have been very pleased with the prices, packaging and promptness of the company. Thanks and enjoy the reviews!
Organic Yerba Mate has finally become mainstream with the new Elegante mix that blends stevia, almond oil and a hint of mint. As one of the tastiest organic Yerba Mate blends available, Elegante has made organic actually taste good. This mix has been finely sifted and cleaned for a stem and dust free experience.
This Yerba Mate is one of the richer blends, so you might want to start out with a little less on your first cup or two. Because there is little dust with this blend, it works very well in a french press.
If you are new to Yerba Mate and you are looking for a smooth, traditional blend, then Rosamonte might be just the product for you.
This was the first traditional blend that I tried and I must say that it is quite nice. It has a bit of an earthy, grass-ish, hay-type flavor and is not too strong. Other folks say that they can taste a slight smoke essence, but I never noticed that.
I usually mix 1 rounded teaspoon into a coffee cup of hot water. I then swish it around with my bombilla and let it steep and cool off for a few minutes. This mate goes very well with dark chocolate and would be a perfect companion on a cold winter evening. I have never tried it iced, but I imagine that it would still be pretty good.
If you like fruit flavored herbal or black teas, then get ready for a treat. the Salante strawberry blend contains organic yerba matte, strawberry, carob, cocoa nubs and stevia. This blend is simply exquisite in flavor and richness.
Salante strawberry blend is lightly sweetened by stevia leaf. It is not sweet like a sugared-up coffee or tea, rather, it has a very light sweetness to it… A sweetness that is not over-powering and you actually have to think about it to really notice it because it is so subtle. Stevia is not a sugar based sweetener, so it has no glycemic effect (sugar rush and then crash). Additionally, stevia does not get bitter like some of the other popular sugar substitutes when exposed to heat which makes it a perfect companion to this blend.
Overall, this is a very enjoyable blend and has a lot to offer from a flavor perspective. It is great for early morning paper reading, watching the sunrise or any time you need a pleasant pick-me-up during the day.
In addition to the bulk, loose-leaf strawberry mate, you can also order this flavor in a pre-packaged tea-bag. several of my work friends actually prefer the teabag to the loose leaf blend because they can just drop it into a cup of hot water and let it brew. With the tea bag, you don’t need to filter the mate.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of the package to show you. You can order Mint Madness here.
Once again, Salante has come through with an incredible blend of flavored yerba mate. This time, the flavor is mint and what a treat it is. The Salante Mint Madness blend is an incredible mixture of mate, carob, stevia, peppermint and spearmint. If you appreciate a fine peppermint tea, then you will absolutely love Mint Madness. This blend is packaged in the same sealed manner as the Salante Strawberry blend, so maintaining freshness is not an issue.
This flavored mate is every bit as enjoyable as the Salante strawberry mate and is suitable for an early morning ‘on-the-job’ type of refreshment. One of the most surprising and pleasant aspects of this blend is it’s amazing smoothness.
The mint flavor is strong enough that it overshadows the traditional ‘grassy’ flavor of the mate. In my opinion, the blend of peppermint and spearmint presents the predominant flavor and the mate takes on a more subtle essence which provides a rich foundation to the drink. Overall, this is a fantastic flavored mate and should be on the shelf of every yerba mate aficionado.
The Cremoso Acai berry blend is quite good…after some getting used to. In my humble opinion, it does not even come close to the richness of flavor found in the Salante Strawberry blend, but it is good in it’s own way. Upon first opening the acai berry blend I expected a fruity, berry scent and I was taken back by the smokiness of the blend… The smoky scent seemed strong at first and I am not sure why. This first impression was difficult to get past, and in subsequent tastings I do not notice the smokiness quite as much.
My first experience with this blend was not positive. The smoky flavor seemed to be overpowering everything else so I dumped it down the drain and rinsed my mouth out. A few days later, I tried it again, and this time it did not seem overly “smoky”. I don’t know how to account for this… maybe it was just a “smoky” day outside. 🙂
Over the last month, I have grown to enjoy the Cremoso Acai Berry blend. I typically make a cup of this in the afternoon when I am in the mood for a strong, flavored mate. If you like a fruity mate with smoky overtones, then this would be a good one to go with.
While the Cremoso brand of Acai Berry may not be what you are looking for, you might really enjoy the Salante Acai Berry Yerba Mate!
This was the first Cremoso brand product that I purchased and I must say that I was quite disappointed upon my first cup. I had hoped for a strong vanilla flavor, but what I found was a very light vanilla essence. It was not strong enough for me to even call this blend “flavored”.
Some of my co-workers really like this blend, but for me the vanilla is not strong enough. If you are looking for a very lightly flavored vanilla mate, then this is definitely for you. If you like a stronger flavor, then take a look at the Salante Vanilla blend.
My family, as well as my brothers like this brand because it is a ‘mild’ mate, and is usually a good choice for those that have anxiety or nervousness. It is also usually one of the less expensive brands.
This brand is from Argentina and seems to be one of the most popular ones. Most stores that carry mate usually carry this one.
Itapua La Potente
Wow, what a blend! Full of flavor and loaded with anti-oxidants and other good things. Itapua is making a statement with this Mate! This blend is made with 15% Catabua bark which is known by the Tupi people to relieve pain, improve memory and bring anxiety under control.
This blend uses 85% certified organic Yerba Mate and 15% Catabua bark.
Cachamate has done it again with a wonderful, super healthy mix of Yerba Mate, pennyroyal, mint and boldo. This excellent and lightly flavored mate is sure to please from a taste and health perspective. We really enjoyed this blend for it’s light mintyness.
Cachamate is a traditional Yerba Mate blend with lots of lightly flavored blends based on herbs, much like herbal tea. some of the herbs in their blends include Chamomile, Fennel, Coriander, peperina, Lemon Verbena, Marine Algae, Mint, Pennyroyal and Linden Tea.
Campesino mint with boldo is a nice break from the the average Yerba Mate blend. With strong mint flavors and the power of boldo to moderate the stronger Yerba Mate flavor, this blend is sure to please.
Boldo is an herb grown in Chile and frequently added to Yerba Mate to smooth out the naturally strong Yerba Mate flavor. Boldo is often used as a supplement to reduce the effects of a hangover and upset stomach.
[review by “kriegmiester”]
This is one of my favorite Yerba Mate brands, it is very strong however, but has a great taste. It is considered a highly traditional mate and comes from Argentina. This mate is not a fine powder and will contain both leaves and stems. [review by “kriegmiester”]
Nobleza Gaucha has several varieties of traditional mate: Blue contains stems and leaves; Red with no stems or leaves and Green which has been aged for 24 months. The Green is said to be quite good, but also the strongest flavor out of all the varieties.
The best brands of flavored Yerbe Mate
Out of all the Yerbe Mate I have tried, I believe that the two best brands are Salante and Cremoso. Of the two, I find Salante to deliver a more powerful and rich flavor, while Cremoso has a more earthy, smoky hint.
To view all of the available Cremoso products, click here.
To view all of the Salante products, click here.
Instant Yerba Mate
Instant Yerba Mate is coming on the scene in a major way. One of the most fun things about the new instant Yerba Mate blends is that all you need to do to prepare it is mix in some water and poof! Yerba Mate! No leaves, no dust, just tasty Mate!
Here are a few of the Instant Yerba Mate blends that are coming into prominence…
Instant Amanda Yerba Mate has been around the block a few times and is a good choice for a bulk instant yerba mate.
As with any instant Yerba Mate, it is easy to mix and will dissolve into hot or cold water. One of the things I like ab out this instant mate is that it is very easy to get the desired flavor by simply adding more (or less) of the mix. Granted, that is true of any instant Yerba Mate or instant coffee, but this was the first I found and it was a pleasant experience.
Mahtay Instant Yerba Mate is some powerful stuff and a good base mate too. This instant mate is perfect on a backpacking trip or in an emergency kit, because it is so concentrated it does not require much space.
As a base mate, it accepts flavors such as the flavored liquid Stevia mixtures. Some of my favorite Stevia flavors to mix with this concentrated Mahtay are peppermint, vanilla and strawberry. Just a few drops of the flavored Stevia ought to do the trick for an 8oz. glass of Mahtay mix.
If you are looking for the perfect table top or bookshelf instant yerba mate, then this just might be it. This mix contains both Yerba Mate and sweetener.
It’s a bit sweet for my taste, but some folks might really like it. Because it is so sweet, it can easily be added to milk, coconut milk, almond milk or soy milk. I prefer these types of mixes in coconut milk because of the added creaminess. This one reminds me of a chai late.
Drinking Yerbe Mate? Use the Bombilla…
So, you have shopped around for a great flavored or traditional mate…but have you considered how will you drink it? Traditionally, mate is placed in a cup in loose leaf form. Let me tell you from experience, you do not want to drink any of the loose leaf mate as it tastes bitter and makes a mess in your mouth. The bombilla is simply a straw with a filter ball on the bottom. There are a number of different styles of bombilla’s on the market.
The “Ultimate Bombilla”
This is the best bombilla I have tried. It has a great filter and a heavy brass weight on the filter ball so that it stays on the bottom of the cup. The straw is made of plastic and both the straw and the brass weight can be removed for cleaning.
In addition to being a great filter for yerbe mate, this filter straw works perfectly for coffee and loose leaf tea. I am an avid backpacker and in the past I would pack a small lexan or glass french press. Now that I have used this bombilla, I will be leaving my french press at home and only taking the bombilla with me. This will remove not only the bulkiness and weight of the french press, but it will also remove the chance of breaking the french press…
There are several colors of straws that you can order. Red, green, blue, yellow and brown are typically available. The ultimate bombilla can be ordered here for around $3.00!
Some advice on the art of mate…
Enjoying Mate via the traditional gourd & bombilla
[advice from the “kriegmiester”]
FYI for those that want to do the traditional mate method with a gourd and bombilla:
Fill your gourd about 3/4 full with the yerba leaves, then add warm/cold water over the top and let this soak in real good. The soaking not only expands the leaves, keeping your bombilla from getting clogged, but also keeps the yerba from getting burned/scalded by the hot water.
Now, take your bombilla, placing your thumb over the top (which keeps the matte from going into the bombilla) and slide the bombilla down one side of the gourd and pull back (like a shovel). This action will create a pocket, pushing the yerba to the other side. You are trying to move all the mate to one side of the gourd so you are only using half of it.
Now pour in the hot water into the hole you just made and enjoy. Once the potency is gone, remove the bombilla and slide it into the other side, pushing the yerba to the other side, now you have fresh mate with only half the work!
Drinking Mate in the 21st century…
If you are not into the traditional gourd approach, you can also place the loose mate into a coffee cup and use your bombilla. Another approach that works quite well is to simply use a French Press. A french press is typically used to brew loose coffee grounds and it works perfectly for making a great mate!
[more advice from the “kriegmiester”]
Ever tried Yerba Mate cold? It is a good alternative on a hot summer day, but it is nasty if not done correctly (if you have ever let your water get cold/warm you know what I am talking about).
The traditional way would be to get a metal gord or something similar to hold the cold in, but any cup will work. Add some Yerba leaves and cover with a little cold water to soak into the leaves, then add a bunch of ice. The next step is the key, simply add some type of juice instead of water! I have used orange juice, that works well and tastes great, but try any of your favorite juices and see how they work.
The ice will keep it chilled and the juice mixed with the mate leaves will give you a unique flavor. (Another alternative would be to create an ice tea by placing some mate teabags in a cup with a little boiling water, let it steep and then poor the mixture into a larger container with more water and ice, add lemon and whale, you have a good iced mate!)
A very nice addition to any hot or cool drink is a little bit of sweetener. Unfortunately, the typical sweeteners have a number of drawbacks. Sugar has a lot of calories and a glycemic effect and the safety of several other non-sugar sweeteners has been called into question recently. Additionally, many of the most popular sugar free sweeteners that are popular on the market today are not suitable for hot drinks as they turn bitter in the presence of heat.
Stevia on the other hand is a completely natural extract from the plant Stevia rebaudian which is said to be approximately 300 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia is sometimes called sweet-leaf or sugarleaf. Stevia leaves are themselves sweet, even when dried. This means that in addition to commercially processed powders and concentrated liquid extracts, you can also use raw stevia leaf as a sweetener under the right conditions. You can order dried, organic stevia leaf here.
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