Ditch your morning coffee for this natural energy drink
Yerba mate (Yer-BAH-ma-TEH). Sounding like something straight out of a health shop in Nimbin, yerba mate has been a cultural phenomenon in South America for centuries. Consumed en masse by Argentinians, Uruguayans and people living in Brazil, the dried leaves of a special type of evergreen holly are typically consumed as a tea or tea blend. Yerba mate is giving coffee addicts, who are after a reliable energy boost but would like to give a pass on jittery hands and sleepless nights, an alternative. Trusting hundreds of generations of South American drinkers – who consume more than 5kg of yerba mate per capita – yerba mate is said to provide a clear head, enhanced memory, creativity and alertness. Clinically proven is the impressive number of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants the mate drink is touted to contain, however, as every good thing in life has its bad sides, there are whispers about possible long-term side effects attributed to the drinking of very hot beverages. So like with any hot drink, the recommendation is to not prepare the drink at a scalding temperature.
Yet, the mate drink is more than just a coffee substitute. Deeply rooted in the South American culture up to this day, drinking yerba mate is a social event, which occupies a similar position as drinking coffee throughout the rest of the world. Traditionally, a clay pot, the gourd, is given from one person to another, each person sipping a few mouthfuls of yerba mate through a bombisha, a filter straw. There are many different ways to brew a good “mate”, like there are many ways to brew your favourite cup of English Breakfast Tea.
Next time you’re well past your socially acceptable number of espressi, brew yourself a cup of yerba mate – if this is your cup of tea, that is.
How to make it
In order to make a traditional mate, fill your gourd about 2/3 with mate, pop your palm on top to seal and shake well. Turn it back around and try to keep the yerba mate sloped at a 45-degree angle inside the teapot. Next, fill the gourd with some cold water, making sure you only wet the tea from one side before you add hot water. It’s important not to mix the water with the herbs like you would when brewing a regular tea – it’s much more about moistening the yerba mate and sucking the infused water out of the mix. Add some milk or honey if you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, some blends go particularly well with a dash of almond milk. For all Chai tea fans – yerba mate makes for a mean Chai Latte.
by Sarah Michalska
Sarah Michalska reviewed Bombisha Yerba Mate, Abundance Tea Blend, valued at $17.95/150gr.