The days are getting longer and warmer. As I work up a sweat in the garden, or play outside with my family in the lingering dusk, I start to get excited for tereré.
Tereré (say tay-ray-ray) is an iced yerba mate tea from Paraguay. It's refreshing, invigorating, and delicious. Best of all, unlike regular iced tea which takes hours to make, you can make tereré in a minute.
Here's the gear you need:
- A pitcher or wide-mouthed thermos
- A bombilla
- A small glass or metal cup
And here are the ingredients:
- Loose yerba mate
- A fresh lime or lemon
- First, fill your small cup with loose yerba mate.
- Next, insert your bombilla filter-end-down into the cup, all the way to the bottom.
- Now put the cup aside for a moment.
- Fill the pitcher with ice.
- Squeeze in a fresh lime or two.
- Fill the pitcher with fresh water.
- Finally, stir in some of your favorite sweetener to taste.
That's it! Easy peasy. Pour little sips from the pitcher into the cup, then sip until it gurgles. Pass it around in a circle with your friends, just like hot mate.
(In case you're wondering, you don't need hot water to extract caffeine or nutrition from the herb. The cold water will slowly extract yerba mate's goodness with repeated pours.)
Do you have your own favorite tereré recipe? Like to use soda water for a bit of fizz? Like to use orange juice, crushed raspberries, or pear juice instead of lime? Let us know in the comments thread below.
Yerba mate has been showing up in a lot of energy drinks lately. These pre-brewed products offer many of the benefits of yerba mate in an easy-to-drink format. But as for me, I'm going to stick with loose yerba mate. Here are three of my main reasons why:
1. Whole Herb Goodness
In addition to a ton of sugar, a lot of yerba mate drinks have artificially high caffeine contents as the result of added extracts. Loose yerba mate naturally contains a whole galaxy of phytonutrients working in concert with caffeine to provide a uniquely balanced stimulation. Extra caffeine may add a layer of jazz to these drinks, but it's easy to get spun on them. Why not brew your own loose yerba mate exactly how you like it? Loose yerba mate is more authentic, more versatile, and more tasty. It isn't pasteurized and it has no added acidifiers. Loose yerba mate is fresh, good, and real.
2. The Price is Nice
Our five pound bag of leaf/stem yerba mate is currently on sale for $36. Breaking that down, our five pound bag of loose yerba mate provides 375 six-gram servings at ten cents per serving. Compare that to what you currently pay for bottles of pre-brewed yerba mate. Now multiply the difference by 365 days in a year. Brew your own loose yerba mate at home, and spend the money you save on someone you love. :)
3. Give the Earth a Break
Nobody's perfect. We all have carbon footprints that are bigger than we'd like them to be. But in our 21st century climate reality, it's difficult to justify trucking our daily beverages around the country. This is an easy thing you can do to make a difference. Why not let clouds carry water to the place where you live? We'll send you the loose yerba mate. From the perspective of shipping weight alone (not counting the environmental costs of glass or aluminum manufacture, printing, brewing, and bottling), loose yerba mate is 75 times more efficient than bottled yerba mate.
What else do you love about loose yerba mate? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send us a picture, send us a story, stay in touch!
Rooibos is pronounced ROY-BOSS. The word means "Red Bush" in Afrikaans. Many people still don't know about this excellent herbal tea. Rooibos comes from the fermented leaves of a shrub that only grows in one South African mountain range and nowhere else on Earth.
1. Rooibos is Delicious
Forget everything you know about bland, watery herbal teas. Rooibos has depth, color, and a robust aroma.
2. Rooibos Contains No Caffeine
I'm convinced that if more people knew about rooibos, sales of decaf coffee would plummet. This naturally caffeine-free herb won't stain your teeth or give you bad breath. Unlike decaf, rooibos is neither oily, acidic, nor diuretic. It is safe for kids as well as adults. My five year old daughter likes rooibos better than hot cocoa.
3. Rooibos is a Potent Antioxidant
Rooibos rivals green tea in its antioxidant capacity.
4. Rooibos Does Not Inhibit Iron Absorption
Unlike green and black tea, rooibos doesn't interfere with your body's iron absorption.
5. Rooibos Calms Nerves
While rooibos is not a sedative (it won't make you sleepy), it does soothe the nerves. Sipping a cup of this fragrant tea may help smooth the rough edges of your day.
6. Rooibos Soothes the Belly
Rooibos is traditionally used in its native South Africa as a remedy for colicky babies. It works on adult tummies too.
7. Rooibos is Great for Your Skin
Rooibos tea is loaded with alpha-hydroxy acid, which has been shown to soften skin and diminish wrinkles when used topically. A pot of strong rooibos tea will make a great addition to your next restorative bath.
8. Rooibos is Easy to Brew
While the most potent and flavorful rooibos is produced by simmering loose rooibos for an extended time, you can also make a delicious cup of rooibos by dropping a tea bag into a mug of boiling water and waiting ten minutes. Try adding a bit of sweetener and creamer.
SHOP FOR ROOIBOS
The yerba mate gourd is a striking balance of contrasts. The warm, round gourd nearly overflows with froth. The metal straw juts out, inviting you to share.
Yerba mate is a versatile herb. You can brew it a thousand ways. But for me, the yerba mate gourd is the beginning and end of all things yerba.
Yes, the yerba mate gourd requires attention and skill. But if you are open to its magic, the gourd can be a great teacher. It can help you slow down and connect.
Here are some tips to help you on your way:
Prepare Your Yerba Mate Gourd for Use
Before you enjoy your yerba mate gourd for the first time, it is essential that you cure it. This 48 hour process prepares the gourd for daily use. Our fire gourds come with instruction cards inside, so this information is also available to anyone you may wish to send a gift pack to:
- Fill the gourd with loose yerba mate.
- Top off the gourd with hot water.
- Let the gourd sit for 24 hours.
- Empty the yerba mate into your compost and rinse the gourd.
- Using a small teaspoon, thoroughly scrape the soft, pulpy gourd material from the inside of the gourd.
- Repeat this process a second time.
- Now your gourd is ready for use!
Enjoy and Share Your Yerba Mate Gourd!
It is traditional to share a yerba mate gourd with a circle of friends and family. If you are drinking one all by yourself, I'd really suggest you take it slow and eat a little snack too, or drink some water along the way. This is a strong brew!
You will need a thermos, some loose yerba mate, a tea straw, and a gourd. It’s easy if you take it slow...
- First, fill a thermos with hot (but not boiling) water.
- Next, fill your gourd about ⅔ with loose yerba mate.
- Tap the yerba mate to one side of the gourd to create a “little mountain” and a “little valley” inside.
- Moisten the “little valley” with cool water. Just a splash. Don’t flood the “little mountain.”
- Gently insert the filter tip of the tea straw into the “little valley.”
- Pour hot water into the “little valley” about halfway up the gourd, still keeping the tip of the “little mountain” dry.
- Sip this first pour right away. Make sure the tea straw is flowing well. Make sure the water is the right temperature. Drink until there is no more water left in the gourd.
- Now you are ready to pour sips for the friends and family in your yerba mate circle. Each person receives a half-full gourd. They sip right away, drinking all of the liquid until the straw gurgles. Then they pass the gourd back to the pourer for refilling.
- Traditionally, only one person does all the pouring for the group. This person is called the “cebador.” She will keep pouring for each person in turn until the hot water runs out or the herb runs out of flavor, then replace as needed.
Please avoid touching the straw! Stirring makes all the herb steep at once, and it can also make the straw clog. One of the cebador’s most difficult jobs is to gracefully discourage newcomers to the yerba mate circle from touching the straw.
Take Care of Your Yerba Mate Gourd
Remember that your gourd was once a living plant. It is not made of plastic, and it will not last forever. This is a good thing. However, there are steps you can take to increase your gourd's longevity.
- Allow your gourd to dry out between uses. This will help prevent mold and splitting.
- Never use soap on a gourd. It will taste soapy forever after.
- Yerba mate naturally oxidizes to a deep, inky green-black color. The inner walls of your gourd will soon stain this color. Don't worry, this is not mold.
- If you live in a humid climate, and your gourd never seems to dry out, try popping it into the toaster oven every once in a while, on its lowest setting, for twenty minutes or so. This ought to do the trick!
Please visit our Yerba Mate Gear page to shop for a great selection of yerba mate gourds and tea straws (aka bombillas).
Yerba mate contains caffeine, but not as much as you may think. To most of us, the caffeine in yerba mate feels better than other caffeines. Here's why:
A Balanced Medley of Caffeines
The caffeines in coffee, green tea, and chocolate are subtly different from each other on a molecular level. The "caffeines" in each plant interact with the body in unique ways. Coffee opens your eyes. Green tea brightens your mind. Chocolate gives you that warm body high. Yerba mate naturally contains all three of these "caffeines," so it does all three at once.
Yerba mate's naturally-occurring B vitamins relax smooth muscles, cutting down on jitters. Yerba mate's naturally-occurring minerals support nervous system function and help maintain electrolyte balance. When you're asking your body and mind to perform at a higher level by giving it caffeine, it is both wise and kind to support that caffeine with nutrition. Your body will appreciate the courtesy.
Summing it Up
There are 10 mg of caffeine in every gram of ECOTEAS Yerba Mate. Gram for gram, that's about as much caffeine as green tea, about half the caffeine of black tea, and about one-fourth the caffeine of coffee. But if you're like me, you brew your yerba mate stronger than tea or coffee. I use three heaping tablespoons of yerba mate in my big round mug every morning, which makes a hearty and satisfying beverage that rivals coffee's caffeine content without the systemic depletion, bad breath, upset stomach, and edginess that I experience with coffee.
Here's a very important distinction, though: I am talking about the actual dried leaves and stems of the yerba mate plant here. When you drink a prepared beverage or energy shot that contains yerba mate, they may contain extracts that artificially elevate the caffeine content out of balance with the other phytonutrients that yerba mate naturally provides. If you've gotten way too spun out by drinking a can or bottle of yerba mate, and are therefore leery of this plant, I'd urge you to brew yourself a cup of real yerba mate with the dried herb before you make up your mind.
SHOP FOR YERBA MATE
Sharing traditional yerba mate is a magical way to strengthen community and invigorate your day. It doesn't have to be intimidating. The people of South America have been enjoying yerba mate this way for millenia.
1. A lot of yerba mate goes into a gourd. There's plenty to pass around. Share a mate with a small group of friends and family.
2. Take your time, but don't take anyone else's. There is a slow, steady rhythm to traditional yerba mate service. Give, receive, replenish, repeat. Give, receive, replenish, repeat.
3. Hold the mate like a perfectly ripe tomato just plucked from the vine. Revel in its warmth and gentle roundness. There's no need to touch the straw.
4. Music sounds better through great speakers. Walking feels better in a great pair of shoes. Use great water for great yerba mate.
5. Learn the sound of your teapot's voice. Water, just before it boils, trembles. It will tell you when it's ready for yerba mate. Hot but never boiling.
6. A splash of cool water is traditionally added to the dry yerba mate before the first hot water is added. This softens the herb and gets it ready for steeping.
7. There's a wonderful paradox about yerba mate: Small pours are more generous. They make the flavor of the yerba mate last longer. A small pour says, "Come. Sit with me. It's been too long."
Go here for the step-by-step yerba mate preparation instructions.
It's a rainy afternoon in the middle of spring.
You can't seem to stay awake.
If you drink a cup of coffee, you'll be up all night.
You need something gentle yet potent.
You need Holy Mate!
1. Holy Mate! is Delicious - Holy Mate! is a blend of our signature ECOTEAS unsmoked yerba mate with tulsi and a pinch of peppermint. Holy Mate! is deeply satisfying yet light on its feet.
2. Holy Mate! Works - Holy Mate! will give you the energy boost you're looking for. Gram for gram, Holy Mate! has about as much caffeine as green tea. But unlike green tea, you can brew it "yerba mate strong."
3. Holy Mate Reduces Adrenal Fatigue - Many people mistakenly think of tulsi as a sedative. Tulsi will not make you sleepy. Tulsi reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Chronic excess cortisol can contribute to many maladies, from hypertension and heart disease to obesity and suppressed immunity. By reducing cortisol, tulsi opens the window for your body's natural energy to return. Tulsi is a great herb to blend with yerba mate's balanced medley of stimulation, nutrition, and antioxidants!
I'm particularly fond of Holy Mate! in the doldrums after lunch, or when I go out dancing.
It's also great when I didn't get enough sleep the night before, or when I'm coming down with something.
Don't tell my business partners I told you this, but Holy Mate! is the world's best hangover tea.
Holy Mate! picks me up without letting me down afterward.
Here's where you can get yourself some Holy Mate! today.
1. Yerba Mate Raises Metabolism
Yerba mate is what's known as a "thermogenic" herb. "Thermogenic" means that it actually induces your body to burn calories.
2. Yerba Mate Suppresses Appetite
Yerba mate is a natural way to cut your cravings for sugar. Avoiding or reducing sugar consumption may be the healthiest thing you ever do!
3. Yerba Mate Provides Abundant Energy
Yerba mate contains a balanced medley of the caffeines found in coffee, green tea, and chocolate. If you are looking for a boost that won't over-tax your adrenals, yerba mate is the natural choice.
4. Yerba Mate Aids Digestion
Yerba mate has laxative properties to aid elimination and reduce bloating.
Yerba Mate + Cinnamon + Cacao
Feeling snoozy with the sudden loss of daylight? Missing those warm days by the riverside? Here's a little something to warm your bones. Use a heaping tablespoon of raw cacao powder and a dash of cinnamon. Sprinkle them onto the loose yerba mate in your French press, or add them right to your mug if you're using a bombilla. Cacao and Yerba Mate go together like a happy old couple that's still in love.
Yerba Mate + Tulsi + Peppermint
Holy Mate! We liked this combo so much that we made it into a product. The tulsi supports your adrenals and strengthens your immune system. The peppermint adds a refreshing brightness. Drink it after lunch, after a night of dancing, or anytime you need a balanced boost.
Yerba Mate + Hibiscus + Lemongrass
Uh Oh. Starting to feel a little beleaguered? You're not sick yet, but you can feel it coming on. You need some bioavailable vitamin C and you need it fast. Don't take a handful of pills from that bottle in the back of your cupboard. Just brew some lemongrass and hibiscus into your morning yerba mate. Brew it strong and dark as red wine in moonlight.
Yerba Mate + Lemon + Ginger
It happens to everyone once in a while. You've been working hard, getting things done. You left the window open last night because you love the cricket song. Now your throat is dry and scratchy. Your limbs ache. You can't quite seem to get warm. Dice a pinkie-sized chunk of fresh ginger into a pot of boiling water. Squeeze in a whole, fresh lemon. Use this water to brew your mate. Put on some slippers and your favorite fluffy hat. Take the morning off.
Incidentally, here's a great deal on some great yerba mate...