Social Question

jca's avatar

Did you ever drink Yerba Mate?

Asked by jca (36043points) February 2nd, 2015

Pronounced “yerba mah-tay.”

A friend of mine who is Argentinian told me about this drink that is popular there. It’s like very dusty tea, and can be brewed from bags or loose. There’s a whole social ritual for the people who drink it, sitting in a circle, sharing the metal straw, etc. They call it simply “mate.”

I just looked at Yerba Mate blogs (yes, as you know there are blogs for everything) and they say it causes a euphoria.

Have you ever had Mate?

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19 Answers

ibstubro's avatar

Yerba Mate has the ‘strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate’ all in one beverage. Of the six commonly used stimulants in the world: coffee, tea, kola nut, cocoa and guarana, yerba mate triumphs as the most balanced, delivering both energy and nutrition.

I’ve never heard of it before, which is odd, because it sounds perfect for the American market. I’d seek out an on-line source so I could try it, but I have a sensitivity to caffeine.

Example stores are Whole Foods, Krogers, Fred Meyers, Safeway, Vons, Walgreens, as well as deli’s and liquor stores

jca's avatar

I hear that Middle Eastern stores and Hispanic stores have it, as well. I have to try the little sample I got first to see if it tastes ok. It smells kind of earthy.

snowberry's avatar

Yes. Ick. I never got as far as the “euphoria” stage.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I’ve never understood the appeal of drinks that are not fully liquid. I can’t stand the dustiness of mate, and I am mildly freaked out by bubble tea. I wouldn’t be able to get past this to enjoy mate’s other attributes.

ibstubro's avatar

I bought a bottle of Aloe Vera drink, @dappled_leaves, that was actually shredded Aloe Vera in juice thick enough to keep the shreds evenly suspended. I took one drink and it nearly came back up. At least I reuse the thick, sturdy, square bottle.

ibstubro's avatar

Has anyone bought this at a chain? Trader Joe’s or (as suggested) Whole Foods?

sahID's avatar

Stash Tea’s product line includes guayusa, an Ecuadorian tea, combined with yerba mate and ginsing. It is quite delicious iced with an understated earthiness that I find quite enjoyable.

While some stores might carry it, the best place to find it is through their website, stashtea.com.

Strauss's avatar

Most blends available in the US markets, but I have found an online source that carries it without other teas or herbs in the blend.

wildpotato's avatar

Yes. I used to live near a cafe that specialized in mate, and the store I work at now carries it. I enjoy the taste, but it’s got too much caffeine for me (nowadays I can’t even handle coffee, and mate is stronger than coffee) and I can’t partake anymore. Never noticed a sense of euphoria, nor did I know there is supposed to be one.

jca's avatar

I see what they use to drink it, which is like a metal straw with a strainer type of vessel on the end of it. From what I understand, the leaves sit in the bottom of the cup or gourd and the straw is nestled in the leaves. The first person to drink from the straw may get a bunch of leaves in their mouth. As the cup is passed to the people in the circle, they each drink from the same straw but they don’t move it. If they were to move it, they’d disturb the leaves and probably never be invited back.

I made some yesterday. I didn’t like it. Then I put a packet of sweetener in it and I still didn’t like it. I had a few sips of it but I ended up throwing it out.

I hear it’s an acquired taste. From what I’ve read in various blogs, there are different types of mate (different brands) which probably means the different tastes are as varied as different brands of tea are. Also, people were writing about different concoctions with tea, ginger, honey, etc. which is probably fun, trying variations.

ibstubro's avatar

Was yours instant, @jca? I’m pretty sure I read that someone (once it was strained or reconstituted) dressed it just like coffee with cream and sugar. Maybe a bit of hot chocolate for a mocha?

Not sure what form yours is, or how much you have to experiment through.

jca's avatar

It was given to me by someone else, @ibstubro. I put it in this little strainer thing that was like a tea ball, but made of plastic. It was like leaves and dust. Not very good tasting. I’m not sure if it’s something I’ll pursue, as far as trying to attain a taste that’s satisfactory.

Strauss's avatar

Yerba mate is traditionally served in a Bombilla. The herb is usually more powdered than most teas or herbs we see here in the US, so using a regular tea strainer or infuser might result in more of the particles floating in the tea.

jca's avatar

@Yetanotheruser: I believe the thing I used to make mine is specifically for Yerba Mate. I described it as being like a tea ball just because that was the closest thing I could think of to compare it to, however the thing I used had a fine strainer like what you’d use to strain orange juice or something.

Strauss's avatar

@jca Sounds like you have a bombilla, which is like a tea ball infuser, only in reverse. The proper way to use it is to place the yerba in the cup, pour in the hot water, and after steeping for a few minutes, place the strainer part of the bombilla into the beverage, and it will strain most of the small particles out of the liquid as you suck the straw end.

ibstubro's avatar

I think I might try opening a tea bag, dumping out the tea, then try steeping the Yerba Mate in the bag, @jca. At least that would give you an idea if you find the product palatable in any way.

Strauss's avatar

Or you can put it in your own tea bag!

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ibstubro's avatar

I drank a cool canned drink labeled “Yerba Mate”, and I was not impressed.

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