When I tell people I don’t drink coffee I’m usually met with horrified gasps followed by lots of concerned questions – “but how do you function?” and the succinct, “but why?” are by far the most popular. And, I won’t lie it’s been tough. I don’t drink coffee because one, it doesn’t “agree with me” (she says rather vaguely) and two, I don’t like the taste. Believe me I’ve tried to like it and be one of those coffee drinking people but alas it’s just not for me. There have also been days when I’ve been so sleep deprived that I’ve forced myself to drink coffee if only to feel the tiniest bit better but the throbbing headache that follows 30 minute later just isn’t wasn’t worth it. But, before you tut at me and say something condescending like; “ag shame, poor poppet” you must know that I’ve found something oh-so-fabulous to fill the so-called “coffee-less gaping hole in my life”. Yerba Mate tea has almost the same amount of caffeine as your beloved coffee AND unlike coffee, it’s got loads of other health benefits to boot. Here’s why I’m quickly becoming addicted to this natural energy drink and why you should try it too (trust me, you’ll love it!)

So what is this new miracle drink? Yerba mate (pronounced “mah-tay”) is made from the leaves of a South American holly tree and the drink is made by steeping ground twigs and leaves from the Yerba Mate plant, in hot water. As I said, the high-energy drink contains a high amount of caffeine but it also contains loads of nutrients and other good stuff including antioxidants, amino acids, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals. The unique tea is also known for being an effective nervous system stimulant and helps improve mental energy, clarity, and focus. What’s more, it’s great for diabetics and is said to help improve insulin sensitivity. Basically it’s like coffee but without any of the negative effects – unlike coffee, Yerba Mate induces better sleep and isn’t addictive.

Yerba Mate

Traditionally Yerba Mate is enjoyed out of a wooden gourd (more specifically a hollowed out calabash) and sipped through a hollowed out straw, or bombilla, which has a filter at the base to stop any stems or leaves from going up the straw. If drinking from a drinking bowl or gourd-like vessel you can simply fill the gourd with tea until it is 2/3 full and then add hot water. The gourd can be refilled at least 20 times so you’ll get lots of use out of just one serving. Of course, you can also enjoy it in a mug using a loose leaf tea strainer. I usually steep mine with a strainer at home but I have used the straw before and it does make life a lot easier when drinking this tea… and drinking out of a straw is fun! Yerba Mate is green and has a slightly earthy, bitter taste and while that might not sound appealing it is beyond delicious. The first time I drank this tea I couldn’t believe the buzz I got from it! I also tried it blended with some rooibos tea leaves – a stunning combination – and loved how versatile it is.

You can buy Yerba Mate from Wellness Warehouse or you can order a Yerba Mate kit, complete with straw and gourd, online from Yerba Mate South Africa. Click here to buy now.