The Yerba Mate Latte
Need a caffeine fix but trying to stay away from coffee? Sick of Green Tea? Try making the Mate Latte!
Yerba Mate is huge in South America, with Brazil being the largest producer of the plant followed by Argentina. Drank similarly to tea, the Yerba Mate leaves and twigs are seeped in hot water, not boiling. In South America they have a special mug that they drink it out of, with a metal “straw” with holes in the bottom to prevent the tea leaves from being sucked up through. It’s a very social drink, and many people share one cup of the Mate by passing it around the group. They keep a hot thermos of water nearby to keep refilling the mug, brewing the same tea multiple times. I remember the first time I saw this in Argentina when I was working on an animal sanctuary with my friend Mackenzie. I thought it was strange that all these people were sharing the same straw for the same drink. Was it like a drug? I had no idea. When they passed it my way I took a look at it, then kindly objected. I guess it is kind of like a drug, they drink it a number of times throughout the day, and it is known to be an appetite suppressant. Mackenzie and I always wondered why no one was ever as hungry as we were!
Compared to coffee and green tea, Yerba Mate has less caffeine. Research currently is studying the different effects that Yerba Mate caffeine has on your body compared to regular caffeine, particularly that it has more of an effect on your muscle tissues. Other research is supporting Yerba Mate’s effect on fighting cancer, lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels, inhibiting atherosclerosis, lowering blood glucose and fighting diabetes, and promoting weight loss through it’s effect on satiety.
So anyways, back to the Latte. The first time I had Yerba Mate as a Latte was in Santa Monica, California at one of my favorite restaurants, Real Food Daily, about 7 years ago. Determined to make my own, this is what I came up with and I think it turned out pretty good!
What You Need:
Yerba Mate (probably can get anywhere, I buy loose leaf)
Honey or Maple Syrup (not the High Fructose Corn Syrup kind, but the real 100% kind)
Nut-based milk of your choice: I prefer Hemp Milk, but Almond, Soy, Oat, etc. are all decent choices.
1. Boil your water, then let it sit and cool for a bit. You don’t want to dump boiling water on top of the Yerba Mate.
2. Rinse your Yerba Mate quickly with some of the warm water to wash away any dirt. Then seep about a tablespoon of tea in the water for a 8-10oz cup, for about 3-6 minutes.
3. While your tea is seeping, warm about half a cup of your nut-based milk on the stove with your honey or maple syrup. Whisk it (with a hand whisk is fine) while it heats up to give it a frothy texture.
4. Mix the two together and whisk! I like to throw everything into the blender for a few seconds to really give it that Latte texture. Delicious!
1. Hussein, G.M. et al. (2011) Mate tea (llex paraguariensis) promotes satiety and body weight lowering in mice: involvement of glucagon-like peptide-1, Biol Pharm Bull, 34(12):1849-55.
2. Young-Rye, K. et al. (2012) Anti-obesity and anti-diabetic effects of Yerba mate (llex paraguariensis) in C57BL/6J mice fed a high-fat diet, Lab Anim Res, 28(1): 23–29.