Where Does Yerba Mate Come From? Posted on 12 Mar 08:34

Where Does Yerba Mate Come From?

Yerba mate comes from the South American countries of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Yerba mate’s natural range includes an oval-shaped area that overlaps the northern tip of Argentina, southwestern Brazil, and southeastern Paraguay. At the geographical heart of this region where the three countries meet is the famous Falls of Iguazú, truly one of the great wonders of the natural world.

Iguazu Falls in the heart of yerba mate country

Yerba mate tea is made from the dried leaves of a small tree in the holly family, Ilex paraguariensis, that grows in a specific type of forest found in these countries called the Interior Atlantic Forest, or Matto Grosso. The Interior Atlantic Forest has a climate similar to the US state of Florida. There is a warm humid summer with frequent thundershowers and a cool winter with rare frosts at higher elevations. 

The natural range of the yerba mate tree

Home to jaguars, toucans, and myriad tree species, the Interior Atlantic Forest is under threat from logging, cattle grazing, and plantation-style agriculture. Yerba mate is adapted to the understory of the forest and can be grown in the shade of a thriving canopy. Organic yerba mate production encourages sustainable livelihoods for the people who inhabit these lands. 

Jaguar in the Yerba Mate lands

The first people to enjoy yerba mate’s many benefits were the native Guarani (pronounced Wah-ra-nee). The Guarani developed a unique method of preparing the tea in pre-colonial times. They filled a hollow gourd with dried yerba mate and water and sipped the resulting infusion from a filter-tipped bamboo straw. Other herbs were commonly added for their medicinal benefits and flavors. Spanish missionaries took up the practice of drinking yerba mate as the locals did and popularized it throughout the region. In modern times yerba mate is consumed on a daily basis by people of diverse backgrounds across South America and beyond. 

Sharing yerba mate

ECOTEAS organic yerba mate comes from a four-generation family farm in the province of Misiones in northern Argentina. Our farm-partners have developed a unique 100% smoke-free process to dry their yerba mate, resulting in a smooth clean taste free of smoke byproducts. 

Our mission is to share organic yerba mate with the world. We’d be happy to send you a free sample if you’d like to try our unsmoked yerba mate.