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Yerba Mate, Ilex Paraguariensis, is a tea (…o.k.–a “tisane” really) loaded with vitamins and minerals. With yerba mate you can experience the great benefits of an herbal health supplement–and a coffee substitute–without all of the negative side-effects.
The benefits of yerba are many: it’s lower in actual “caffeine” [sometimes called “theine,” or “mateine”–a compound in the molecular class of “xanthines”] than regular tea and its unique composition is the best way to produce stimulation without many of the health risks or side-effects people are accustomed to with coffee or espresso. Tea drinking traditions in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil have been taking advantage of these qualities for centuries. To drink yerba máte (pronounced yair-bah mAH-tay ) is to enjoy the health benefit of a tea with vitamins and antioxidants. Some drink it as a weight loss tea; others buy yerba mate for its more esoteric propiedades.
“Brewing” this green tea in a mate gourd with a straw–a drinking style originated by the native rainforest tribe: the Guarani–is the antioxidant South American equivalent to the greentea ceremony. The Guarani named this spiritual plant Caa’. Learn “what is yerba?”, it’s medicinal properties, la leyenda de yerba mate, and how to cebar (to pour and serve) a perfect mate or mate cocido (become el cebador perfecto!)–all here on our site!
You will find the best brands for matte lattes, cafes service, organic–as well as mate gourds, bombilla straws, and accessories! The Yerba Mate Tea Gourd doesn’t spend much on advertising, repackaging, “branding” and advertising agencies. We are intrepid self-promoters who like to pass the low costs and bargain prices on to you: our esteemed clientele. “Free shipping” from those other guys just about breaks even with our everyday low prices on product and shipping combined. Tell your friends about us and we’ll continue to pass savings along the old-fashioned way.
Oh… and if you’re going to spell things funny–just don’t put an accent on the “e” (é)… as in the end of the fictitious maté or yerba maté: it’s simply not done–and makes a very messy meaning out of the word. I’d rather you spelled illegitimate things like (and we’ve seen them): matte, herba mata, yerbe mate, llerba, llerva, yerba matte, matee, jerba matta or erba mati, herba matte gords or gerba mati gorde, herbe mattas ghords, herba green tea, or calebasse for matta drinking. Other legitimate ways of spelling these things are: erva mate, or hierba mate. Enjoy!
Yerba Mate Production
Yerba grows wild or is planted in among trees of the selva (sub-tropical jungle) or in commercial plantations. It is very rare to find it planted in the jungle and none of the larger companies or exporters grow it in this manner. Of the commercial plantations some are hand planted and harvested while others are planted by machine specifically for machine harvest. The best yerba comes from superior varietals of consistent character grown in the best soil.
The yerba mate in the plantation is allowed to grow to a height of around 15 feet (shorter if machine harvested) though Ilex Paraguariensis in the wild will grow to about 30 feet. In most plantations a landlord pays workers per kilo for their cutting of the crop; quick hand picking is best for the superior plant and to maintain leaf humidity (no wilting, withering, or fermentation) before treatment of the leaves. The leafy stems, which grow in one season, are cut along with the leaves–unless a stronger mix is desired (a “despalada”: literally “without sticks”). The leaf is quickly driven to the facility before wilting can occur. Traditional methods still practiced today in many large farms are for the workers to cut these branches with knives and carry them in folded white sheets upon their backs.
DRYING & STATIONING (Mellowing)
The branches with leaves are hauled to the yerba “factory” and usually thrown onto conveyor belts. These pass the yerba through a quick-scorching kiln-fired by wood (these days pine or eucalyptus). The yerba rapidly passes over high heat which causes it to lose 20% of its water and open the pores of the leaf; it then passes over a conveyor to through moderate indirect heat for up to 8 hours. These processes treat the leaf so it is essentially completely dry and will not rot, ferment, or lose nutrition during the often lengthy curing period (up to two years in most cases of fine Argentinean yerba.) The yerba is first “pre-milled” into one-cm. pieces and bagged into open weave sacks (lienso). The curing allows unsavory gasses to escape from the yerba leaf and is considered essential for superb flavor and drinkability.
There’s really nothing like the heady, sweet, leafy smell of a yerba factory flash drying their freshly harvested crop!
In the country, or in small processors, slow air-drying and storage in a cool dry place finishes the process. Many campesinos say this is the only true way to treat yerba, but it is seldom found in any commercial production. Yerba, say the Argentineans, cannot be drunk green and uncured; the Brazilians and Uruguayans say it is weak and has lost its flavor when cured for too long. You decide.
After stationing the dried yerba is run through a processor to create a uniform size of stick and leaf for the many various styles of yerba. (The most rigid control being needed for such things as tea bags or terere.) The many bags from a season are mixed to form a consistent blend and the fine powder is sifted off (from so-called superior Argentinean blends) to protect the quality. The milled yerba is then placed into packages and shipped. Often the reality is that many brands of yerba are packaged in the same facility, from the same stock of yerba, but of varying qualities. Cheaper (knock-off) brands often do not have the most consistent flavour or grind. Some North American start-up companies have furthered this concept by having the large company package “branded” yerba tea for their own label. In some cases this “branded” tea is of lower quality than the company’s own traditional brand. Each brand’s superb blend and cut of yerba is often labelled “Especial” and is sold as their “best” yerba; another side to this however is that these blends can be stronger–even too strong for some people’s tastes.
YERBA FRESHNESS DATING
Almost all of our teas come with a freshness dating stamp on the bag itself, from the production source. This date is stamped not only to meet export requirements, but also to show an ideal date by which to consume the yerbamate. Yerbamate is consumed years after it is processed and packaged, without reporting any noticeable changes in taste and freshness. It is very common in South America to consume yerbamate which is several years old. As always, we stand behind our products and their freshness with our full guarantee.
This remarkable tea is known as an appetite suppressant, physical rejuvenator, mood raiser and stimulant, stress reliever, fine muscle relaxant, diuretic, and is also said to heighten sexual stamina, mental concentration, and stabilize breathing rhythm, help as a coffee substitute, and to quicken the process of physical recovery. Some of this no doubt has to do with the great array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and polyphenols which yerba mate contains….
100 grams of Cruz de Malta brand yerba contains approximately:
Source: “Cruz De Malta”, Empresa Mate L. Mendes
100 grams of Playadito brand yerba contains approximately:
Source: “Playadito”, Cooperativa Liebig
The tea contains roughly 1% available caffeine (mateine) in the dry, ground tea–when extracted with warm to hot water; the available percentage rises from 2 to 5% when extracted with boiling water: which we, of course, do not recommend [see “Serving Mate”.]
For more information, plant descriptions, photos of the yerba mate plant, herbal studies, psychoactive components of yerba mate and their descriptions, as well as other general infomation, please visit our Yerba Mate Information links page.
COMPREHENSIVE NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION
Results obtained using 100g of product and 1000ml of 70-degree Celsius water.
[This information comes from the companies themselves and is not independent research of the “Yerba Mate Tea Gourd”.]
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