Have you heard of yerba mate yet? It’s the new kid on the block in tea-land. I first heard of it this summer while at Phoenix on Lee, where they had an iced version blended with lemonade (delicious). The nice lady at Phoenix explained that it has energy-boosting properties that are slightly different from caffeine. Upon further reading, it appears that there’s some debate as to whether the caffeine chemical is the same or different than coffee, but most agree that the energy you get from drinking the tea is distinctly different than a coffee buzz. It’s more subtle, sustained a bit longer, and there’s no fast high or accompanying low. I also notice that there’s a big difference depending on how I steep it – if it’s steeped for a long time (say 10 mins) covered so the water stays really hot, the tea is definitely stronger and thus bigger energy kick.
Yerba Mate comes from South America, and is a natural herb growing in the rain forests of Argentina (where it’s the national drink!), Chile, Peru, and Brazil, and Paraguay. Even better, it’s crazy loaded with antioxidants – up to 2x the amount in green tea! (This depends, of course, on the grade of teas and brewing method). That’s a lot of anti-oxidants! I like the flavor, too. It’s mild, slightly sweet, and less grassy than green tea. I like this brand, which is pretty widely available. It’s organic and shade-grown, which is the plant’s natural state and thus preserves the nutrient level. Enjoy!