My Tea Break

Rediscovering Tea around the world

Yerba Mate


Tea arrived in Brazil in 1812 and it was planted for the first time in the Bothanic Garden of Rio de Janeiro ordered by D. João VI, King of Portugal and Prince of Brazil. Tea plantations in Brazil have a relatively low altitude and therefore the Tea is less flavourful. Because of the lack of flavour, it is mainly used for blending. Tea blending is the process of mixing Teas from different origins and characteristics to create a well balanced flavour.

Yerba Mate Plant

However,  there is a traditional infusion that you can only find in South America. Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) is a small tree native to the subtropical Atlantic forests of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. Mate is brewed from the dried leaves of Yerba Mate plant.

Mate, introduced to the world by the Guarani indians,  used to be sipped from a cup using a metal or wood straw called bombilla. Nowadays, people drink it as a normal loose leaf Tea,  a flavoured ice Tea or in Tea bags. More than a drink, Mate became a cultural phenomenon through South America.  In Uruguay and Argentina is very common to see people carrying around a thermos of Mate and drinking Mate is a reason for gathering with friends. Friends usually convene to “matear” several times a week.

Yerba Mate Bombilla

Yerba Mate is known for having the “strength of coffee, the health benefits of Tea, and the euphoria of chocolate” all in one beverage. Seems like a good combination to me!

Happy Tea Break.



4 thoughts on “Yerba Mate

  1. I do think there is something chocolate / cocoa-like about Yerba Mate. Especially the roasted mate seems to more closely resemble hot chocolate than it does tea, even though it is prepared more similarly to tea. It’s even naturally somewhat sweet!

    That said, I don’t think it’s by any means a perfect drink. I find it to be more relaxing than tea or coffee, but I still prefer drinking tea (or rarely coffee) when I need to focus on a mentally-demanding task.

  2. I traveled in Argentina in 2005 and got hooked on Yerba Mate. I was always big on coffee but there’s something about the mate taste and preparation that really turned me on. I drink it daily now and even started a website dedicated to the yerba mate benefits:

    • Dear Sivenso, thanks for you comment and feedback. Great idea on the website… It´s good to share the benefits of such a drink.
      Keep us posted if you have any suggestions on content for the blog.

  3. Pingback: Conan O’Brian tastes Yerba Mate | My Tea Break