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South American Specialty and Organic Products

Where Yerba Mate originates

Yerba mate is widely known as the source of the beverage called mate. It is traditionally consumed in central and southern regions of South America, particularly Argentina, Bolivia,  Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile. Yerba mate was initially utilized and cultivated by the Guaraní people and in southern Brazil, prior to European colonization. Yerba mate can also be found in various energy drinks on the market today.

The infusion, called mate in Spanish-speaking countries is prepared by filling a container, typically a gourd, up to three-quarters full with dry leaves (and twigs) of the mate plant, and filling it up with water at a temperature of 70-80 °°C (158-176 °F), hot but not boiling. Sugar may or may not be added; and the mate may be prepared with cold water (tereré).

The flavor of brewed mate resembles an infusion of vegetables, herbs, grass and is reminiscent of some varieties of green tea. Some consider the flavor to be very agreeable, but it is generally bitter if steeped in boiling water. Flavored mate is also sold, in which the mate leaves are blended with other herbs (such as peppermint) or citrus rind.


Yerba mate is very versatile and can be prepared a variety of ways, from a tea infuser or French press to a coffee machine, even an espresso maker.  It can be consumed hot, or cold, and served with milk and honey or iced with lemon and mint, the combinations are endless.

In Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, a toasted version of mate, known as mate cocido (Paraguay), chá mate (Brazil) or just mate, is sold in teabags and in a loose leaf form. It is often served sweetened in specialized shops or on the street, either hot or iced, pure or with fruit juice  or milk. In Argentina and southern Brazil, this is commonly consumed for breakfast or in a café for afternoon tea, often with a selection of sweet pastries (facturas).

The leaves of the rainforest mate tree naturally contain 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, abundant antioxidants. In fact, The Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific society in 1964 concluded "it is difficult to find a plant in any area of the world equal to mate in nutritional value" and that yerba mate contains "practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life."


Unlike coffee, yerba mate is not oily and acid forming, so it is less likely to cause stomach acid and jitters.