How do I choose a yerba?
Baffled by the choice of yerba? Yerbamate can be mild, strong, sweet, bitter, flavoured... here is a quick guide to the main types ofyerba to help you choose. Remember you can always make your own blend by combining different types (this is common practice in South America)
This is a milder type and contains small, chopped up stems, so the infusion isn't as strong or bitter (the stems serve to ‘dilute’ the yerba), more popular in Paraguay and Argentina. The very mildest type are the Paraguayan brands which have a higher percentage of stems, and is suitableto be made with hot or cold water, or with juice (Terere). GOOD FOR BEGINNERS!!
This will brew a stronger tea and is more popular in Uruguay. It also has a more intense flavour, and if you are after a more bitter taste or a stronger pick-me-up, you would be best to choose this type.
This can be achieved by adding sugar or sweetener to the gourd, but you can also buy ready sweetened yerba for a more consistent infusion. It is still dietetic.
This is a popular choice, and many flavours are available. The most popular are lemon or orange, but there is also grapefruit, honey, citrus, herbal, mint, eucalyptus, peach, apple... even coffee! Flavoured yerba is especially nice when sweetened. GOOD FOR BEGINNERS!
These have the same taste as traditionally brewed yerba mate, but are easy to use – more convenient. They are also available in flavoured varieties. GOOD FOR BEGINNERS!
Many yerbas are available with a specialist quality. While all yerbashave the same base health benefits, some are blended specifically to augmentcertain qualities e.g. anti-acid, good for liver, lower cholesterol, organic,weight loss, regulate bowels, help you sleep, give you energy… the list is endless!
What is Yerba Mate?
Yerba Mate is a type of tea, made from dried leaves andstems from a yerbamate plant. It is slightly less potent than coffee and much gentler on the stomach.
The infusion is traditionally prepared by steeping the tea leaves in very hot water rather than boiling water like black tea or coffee. A hollow gourd (mate in Spanish or cabaça or cuia in Portuguese) made from a dried fruit casing or wood (or even horn) is normally used. It is filled nearly to the top with tea leaves, then each time water is poured in, the drinker sips through a metal straw (bombilla in Spanish, bomba or canudo in Portuguese).
It is an important, common social practice in Argentina,Uruguay, Paraguay, eastern Chile, southern Bolivia and Brazil. Drinkers in these countries usually share the mate, each taking turns to drink, with one person serving from a flask.
More recently it has become popular in the rest of the world, especially due to the many health benefits of drinking Yerba Mate. These include:
Aids Weight loss
Contains vitamins and minerals
Stimulates the body and mind
Strengthens the heart
Boosts the immune system
Lowers blood pressure
Aids memory and concentration