A few years ago, I found myself spending a lot of time hanging out with a Bolivian family. Those guys were amazing.
One of the things I picked up from them was yerba mate, an amazing herbal tea that’s apparently pretty traditional in some parts of South America, and I collected a couple of the traditional-type gourds and bombillas (think metal Slurpee straw with a strainer on the bottom) for drinking it.
The taste of yerba mate is quite different from any other kind of herbal or other tea. It’s not “flavored” flavored — you know, like fruit-flavored teas or spice-flavored teas. It has its own unique flavor — earthy, woody, grassy, even mushroomy.
It’s a bit of an acquired taste, but so satisfying. I quickly developed a strong affinity for the taste. I hadn’t had yerba mate in a long time, but I saw a box in the store today and decided to pick some up. It’s even better than I remembered.
Yerba mate contains some caffeine naturally, more than occurs in tea but less than occurs in coffee. But mate also contains 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids and a buttload of antioxidants. As a result, it’s held to possess powerful health benefits by those who drink it daily. Brew it with hot water (not boiling water, which will make the preparation bitter).
I recommend buying the Guayaki brand yerba mate bags — they’re especially convenient for the single person to use and enjoy. It’s not expensive at all, and the taste will brighten your day.