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ECOTEAS Yerba Mate & Big Island Organics Gingerade Maté Posted on 12 Oct 12:35 , 0 comments

Big Island Organics Gingerade Mate Organic Yerba Mate Drink

 

Looking for ECOTEAS Yerba Mate in a bottle? Look no further! We now supply Big Island Organics with the yerba mate they use to brew their delicious Gingerade Maté caffeinated ginger lemonade.

Here are three things that make Gingerade Maté special:

  1. 100% Unsmoked Organic Yerba Mate: With their use of ECOTEAS Unsmoked Organic Yerba Mate, Big Island Organics ensures a smooth, clean taste that is free of residues and byproducts.
  2. Cold-Steeped: Big Island Organics cold-steeps their yerba mate. This creates a smoother flavor, provides for a balanced extraction of nutrients and stimulants, and protects the vital constituents of the finished beverage. 
  3. No Extracts or Concentrates: Most yerba mate beverages on the market artificially bump their caffeine contents by loading their drinks with extracts. (Big Island's caffeine content, at 50 mg, will give you a nice boost but it won't make you all spun out afterward like most energy drinks). What's more, Big Island Organics uses only whole-plant yerba mate in their drink, mixed with lemon juice, agave, and fresh-pressed ginger. You can't get more pure than the Big Island ingredient list. And with less than 70 Calories in a serving, they don't overload you with sweetness.

Gratitude to the folks at Big Island Organics. We feel honored that they've chosen to brew Gingerade Maté with our organic yerba mate. Click here to find a store where you can try one.


Why Pay More for Organic Yerba Mate? Posted on 05 Oct 13:52 , 0 comments

Organic Yerba Mate

People often ask us, "Is organic yerba mate really that much better for you? I can pop into a Latin grocery store and get a bag of conventional yerba mate for way less than what your organic yerba mate costs."

A lot of "mainstream" shoppers will buy organic milk for their kids to ensure the absence of hormones and antiobiotics. But they may balk at paying premium prices for organic yerba mate, since they figure that this leafy tea probably doesn't require a lot of pesticides or fertilizers.

It's true that yerba mate doesn't require much fertilization. It grows in a lush environment. As a consequence of this region's natural fertility, the moment you turn your back on a yerba mate grove, it is thick with weeds. There are two ways to deal with this constant weed pressure. The industrial solution is to apply heavy doses of chemical herbicides. When you buy certified organic yerba mate from us, you are ensuring that weeds are controlled without the use of agro-chemicals.  Organic yerba farmers control weeds with cover crops, organic mulch, and mechanical means, much of the weeding being done by hand with machetes. The price of our organic yerba mate reflects the higher cost of controlling weeds without using herbicidal sprays. It also reflects the costs of organic certification and fair trade practices.

Beyond the issue of what happens to herbicides once the rain washes them into the nearby rivers, or the issue of whether the workers who produce yerba mate are receiving a living wage to work in a safe environment, let's pause to think about our personal yerba mate consumption practices. If you're a regular yerba mate drinker, there's a good chance that you use a big scoop of loose yerba mate in a gourd or French press every day. You're not just having a cup of mate with a tea bag once in a while, right? Over the course of a lifetime, a little bit of residue on a lot of yerba mate starts to add up. This residue, mixed with hot water, is getting pumped through your bombilla into your mouth every day. Conventional yerba mate may not have the chemical load of a conventionally farmed apple, but you're not eating apples the way you're drinking mate.

Of course, we genuinely believe that our family farm partners grow the best organic yerba mate you can find anywhere. It is flavorful, frothy, and full of life. When you drink ECOTEAS organic yerba mate, you know exactly where your yerba mate is coming from. You know it was grown with respect for the land and the workers. And you know that it's free of smoke byproducts and herbicidal residues.

We started ECOTEAS as true believers in the organic agriculture movement. We are grateful that you, our customers, align with this vision and choose to support us. Thanks again, and enjoy our organic yerba mate!


A Quick and Easy Recipe for Iced Yerba Mate Posted on 05 Jun 10:26 , 0 comments

  1. Fill a big mug halfway with ice.
  2. Add a teaspoon of lime juice,
  3. A tablespoon of maple syrup,
  4. And two tablespoons of ECOTEAS Loose Yerba Mate.
  5. Fill the mug with good clean water, stir, and let sit ten minutes.
  6. Insert a bombilla and sip the best iced yerba mate you've ever tasted!

 


What's an "ECO" Tea? Posted on 23 May 10:14 , 0 comments

Most people know us as a yerba mate company. If so much of what we do revolves around loose yerba mate, why did we name ourselves ECOTEAS?

For years, we've wanted to provide other teas in a similar format to our loose yerba mate. If you check out our "Organic Loose Teas" and "Tea Bags" sections, you'll get an idea of our evolution. It's really simple, after all...

 

What's an "ECO" Tea?

1. Format:
    
Minimal, green packaging.
     Nothing fancy. We want to be on your shopping list, right next to bread and butter.
     Bulk quantities. "More is more."

2. Source:
     Direct relationships with farmers.
     Organic and fair trade.
     Sustainable farming and processing techniques.

3. Price:
     Fair trade is a circle.
     Everyone pays and receives a fair price.
     Affordable for all.


It's Time for Tereré! Posted on 03 Apr 13:45 , 0 comments

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

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
  • Sweetener
  • Ice
  1. First, fill your small cup with loose yerba mate.
  2. Next, insert your bombilla filter-end-down into the cup, all the way to the bottom.
  3. Now put the cup aside for a moment.
  4. Fill the pitcher with ice.
  5. Squeeze in a fresh lime or two.
  6. Fill the pitcher with fresh water.
  7. 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.

 

 


Stephen Brooks Sporting the ECOTEAS T-Shirt! Posted on 22 Mar 12:35 , 0 comments


3 Reasons to Choose Loose Yerba Mate Over Energy Drinks Posted on 20 Feb 11:43 , 0 comments

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 info@yerbamate.com. Send us a picture, send us a story, stay in touch!


Eight Reasons to Drink Rooibos Tea Posted on 07 Feb 12:05 , 0 comments

RooibosRooibos 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.

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The Lowdown on Yerba Mate Gourds Posted on 13 Jan 10:25 , 0 comments

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:

  1. Fill the gourd with loose yerba mate.
  2. Top off the gourd with hot water.
  3. Let the gourd sit for 24 hours.
  4. Empty the yerba mate into your compost and rinse the gourd.
  5. Using a small teaspoon, thoroughly scrape the soft, pulpy gourd material from the inside of the gourd. 
  6. Repeat this process a second time.
  7. 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.

  1. Allow your gourd to dry out between uses. This will help prevent mold and splitting.
  2. Never use soap on a gourd. It will taste soapy forever after.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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 Caffeine Posted on 16 Dec 09:52 , 0 comments

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. 

Nutrition!

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.

 

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