Yerba Mate Tea: The Invigorating Alternative to Coffee


If you’ve ever found yourself searching for a coffee alternative that doesn’t skimp on the perks, yerba mate tea might just be the beverage you’re looking for. Known for its robust flavour and revitalizing effects, yerba mate has become a favourite for many who want to kickstart their mornings without the usual cup of joe.

Tea and me

I recently switched to Yerba mate and haven’t looked back since. It’s simple to prepare and can be enjoyed just like tea, making it an incredibly easy addition to any morning routine.

What is Yerba Mate?

Yerba mate is more than just a tea—it’s a cultural icon in many parts of South America. It comes from the dried leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis plant, which grows in the wild regions of countries like Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. This plant is part of the holly family, and it thrives in the subtropical forests of these areas.

The leaves of the plant are harvested, dried, and often aged to develop a deeper flavour before being ground up and sold as yerba mate tea. The taste of yerba mate is distinct and robust, described by some as a blend of green tea, coffee, and somewhat earthy tones. It’s a flavour that might take a little getting used to, but many find it addictive once they grow accustomed to it.

In its traditional form, yerba mate is typically drunk from a hollowed-out gourd and sipped through a metal straw called a bombilla that filters out the leaf fragments. Drinking mate this way is not just about enjoying a beverage; it’s a communal ritual that reflects a sense of connection and shared experience among friends and family.

This unique drink is not only appreciated for its bold taste but also for the invigorating effects that can help kickstart your day. Unlike the sometimes harsh buzz of coffee, the stimulation from yerba mate is gentler, offering a smooth and sustained energy lift that can last for several hours. Whether you’re preparing for a busy day or just enjoying a moment of relaxation, yerba mate tea provides a perfect backdrop.

Preparation: Simplicity Itself

One of the great things about yerba mate is how easy it is to prepare. If you’re new to this drink, here’s how I do it: Just take some yerba mate leaves and add them to hot water. Let it brew for about five minutes, and voilà, it’s ready to sip.

Preparing mate

There’s no complex machinery or special techniques needed, making it a straightforward alternative for those used to brewing a morning cup of tea or coffee.

Health Benefits Galore

Yerba mate tea is a powerhouse of nutritional benefits that can play a vital role in a healthy lifestyle. It’s packed with antioxidants, substances that fight off the damaging effects of free radicals in the body, offering even more of these beneficial compounds than green tea. This makes yerba mate a great choice for those looking to boost their immune system and enhance overall health.

What’s more, yerba mate contains a variety of vitamins and minerals that contribute to its health-boosting properties. It’s rich in vitamin C, which is essential for immune health, vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, and several B vitamins that enhance energy. Minerals found in yerba mate include magnesium, which helps manage nerve function and maintain heart rhythm, and zinc, which aids in metabolism and immune function.

Yerba mate has been linked to improved digestion due to its ability to increase the production of bile and other gastric acids that help break down food. This can make your digestive system more efficient and help relieve digestive disorders. Additionally, its diuretic properties can help keep your urinary and digestive tract clean, which aids in overall toxin removal.

For those looking to maintain a healthy weight or even shed a few pounds, yerba mate can be a beneficial addition to the diet. Studies, such as those published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics and Obesity, and research aggregated on PubMed, suggest that yerba mate can increase fat oxidation and energy expenditure, which may aid in weight loss and management. This effect is thought to stem from the beverage’s ability to not only boost metabolism but also affect satiety hormones, which can help control appetite. However, it’s important to note that results can vary based on individual factors and lifestyle choices.

Lastly, yerba mate is renowned for its effects on mental focus and energy. It contains a trio of stimulants: caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline, which work together to provide a balanced and enduring boost of energy. This combination helps improve concentration and mental energy without the crash that often follows coffee consumption. Whether you need to stay alert for study sessions or long workdays, yerba mate can help you remain sharp and focused.

With all these benefits, it’s no wonder that yerba mate has become a popular choice for health-conscious individuals around the world. Whether you’re looking for physical stamina, mental clarity, or overall wellness, yerba mate offers a natural, nutritious solution.

A Cultural Staple

In countries like Argentina and Uruguay, yerba mate is a part of the national identity and a symbol of hospitality. Traditionally enjoyed from a hollowed-out calabash gourd, which serves as both a cup and a communal bond, the act of sharing a mate from this gourd, passed from person to person, is deeply symbolic, representing trust and community.

This communal drinking ritual transcends mere social drinking. It is a form of social interaction that strengthens relationships and builds connections. In these cultures, offering yerba mate tea is a gesture of welcome and friendship, often seen in gatherings at parks, during work breaks, or at family events. The etiquette surrounding mate drinking is also significant; for instance, the person who prepares and serves the mate (the cebador) takes on the role of caretaker, ensuring each participant enjoys a properly steeped infusion.

This practice highlights the unique cultural significance of yerba mate beyond its taste and health benefits, embodying the values of sharing and community.

Versatility in Drinking

Beyond the traditional preparation, yerba mate tea is incredibly versatile. You can enjoy it hot or cold, sweetened, or flavoured with herbs and spices. During hotter days, a chilled mate, known as tereré, can be especially refreshing. Some even blend it with fruit juices or use it as a base for innovative cocktail recipes, proving that yerba mate can be as flexible as any other tea or coffee.

Yerba mate tea


Since replacing my morning coffee with yerba mate tea, I’ve noticed a remarkable shift not only in my energy levels but also in my overall beverage preferences. The robust, yet smooth flavour of yerba mate has gradually won over my taste buds, to the point where my usual coffee intake has noticeably decreased.

These days, I find myself enjoying maybe one or two cups of coffee at most, as yerba mate has become my go-to morning drink. It offers a simpler, healthier, and just as satisfying alternative, which is easy to incorporate into any daily routine. Whether you’re looking to reduce your coffee consumption or simply eager to try something new, yerba mate provides a flavorful and energizing experience.

Give it a try — it might just be the perfect way to start your day and switch up your routine with something a bit different yet equally delightful.

Where to Buy Yerba Mate Tea?

If you’re keen to try yerba mate tea for yourself, finding high-quality leaves is key to experiencing its full flavour and benefits. I buy my yerba mate from iHerb. They offer a great selection of high-quality yerba mate products that are perfect for those new to this energizing beverage.

Yerba mate tea - loose herb tea

Also, read 11 Best Herbal Teas For Your Health | Benefits & Dangers


About the Author

<a href="" target="_self">Inga K</a>

Inga K

Inga became vegan in March 2018. After a series of documentaries that hit hard, she and her husband switched to a plant-based diet within a week and vegan soon after.Inga has a UK Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Diet and Nutrition. is a blog for anyone who strives for a healthy and happy life. We share 100% plant-based (and often healthy and oil-free) recipes and give you the best tips on finding vegan local food whilst travelling and living a plant-based lifestyle focusing on good health and spiritual wellbeing.

We like to consume food, products and services that don’t harm our bodies, animals, or the planet. Use as little as possible and recycle everything.

Each individual’s dietary needs are unique. Please seek advice from a professional nutritionist or your doctor.

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