Yerba Mate: Get to know the one of a kind beverage

Hanna Kasho

What is Yerba Mate?

                                                              photo by: Przemek Malak

Among the top 10 worldwide most consumed beverages, Yerba Mate also holds a spot. Not only because it tastes very unique, but because of its unique way of preparation, health benefits, and natural components such as caffeine.

Yerba Mate is a South American beverage with its origins from Argentina, Paraguay, Uraguay, and Southern Brazil where it's prepared in different ways, and even is acknowledged with different names unique for each country.

Now let's find out what makes Yerba Mate outstanding and unique among other beverages?

Yerba Mate origins - First discovered by the indigenous, Guarani people in Paraguay and Southern Brazil, this beverage was appreciated as a ‘gift from the gods’. Used within different purposes, from refreshing to medical, Yerba Mate gave a lot throughout these years and that’s why every day raises its value. Its health benefits were appreciated especially by the Argentine cowboys - Gauchos, who needed extra energy for their long harvest days. It was also practiced back in the days by the Gauchos, to share one gourd with brewed Yerba Mate while sitting in circles.

How this beverage grows - Yerba Mate is produced from the leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis tree. After harvesting the leaves and sometimes stems dried and then for the production process. The best quality Yerba Mate is shade-grown within the rich rainforest ‘’roof’’, away from sun rays. With this, Yerba Mate leaves keep their nutrients and flavor. This beverage is grown across South America.

How this beverage tastes and how it is prepared - The flavor of Yerba Mate varies depending on many factors including its growing regions, production process, and the way of preparation. In general, its taste is described as earthy, bittersweet, and very natural (vegetal). It can be prepared in many different ways, and also combined with herbs, sweeteners, etc., although it is recommended to be prepared in its traditional way, without making any combinations.

Now let’s have a look into Yerba Mate origins and its culture in each...

Yerba Mate brewing process, among other things, is what varies in different cultures (countries). In Brazil, people call their Yerba Mate - “chimarrão”, which has a more mild and smoother taste compared to other countries. In Uruguay, it’s usual to see people walking on the main streets with their “thermo” that they are refilling from the often hot water stations whenever they want to brew a new Yerba Mate. In Paraguay, people are consuming Yerba Mate but in a cold version that they call “Tereré”. In Argentina, people usually combine Yerba Mate with their breakfast or as an afternoon coffee replacement. 

There are many more answers to the question ‘why this beverage outstands the others’ but you can experience that once you try this one of a kind beverage!

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