Caffiend: Organic Yerba Mate Tea

Yerba Mate, a species of holly native to South America, makes for some tasty tea. Unlike black teas, which are prepared by steeping dry tea leaves in boiling water, Yerba Mate is made by steeping leaves in hot water (not boiling).  This is because boiling Yerba Mate leaves can make the tea taste bitter. As far as caffeine content, Yerba Mate contains alkaloids called xanthines, which are from the same family as caffeine. So how much of a kick will an organic Yerba Mate give?

Organic Guayaki Yerba Mate

Looks like:
Hate to say it, but the deep yellow color of this tea resembles urine.

Smells like: Fresh cut grass.

Tastes like:  A very earthy, vegetative herbal brew with a surprisingly sweet edge, like many green teas.

Caffeine and other contents: This particular brand of Yerba Mate contains no added sugar, so there's really no sugar rush. The caffeine content is minimal -- the bottle says it contains 70 mg of "naturally occurring" caffeine per serving, but dry Yerba Mate leaves are only about 1% caffeine, so if this bottle is accurate, perhaps caffeine has been added.

Caffeine kick: None whatsoever here. We actually took a nap after drinking it and had to run to Starbucks. But the flavor of Yerba Mate isn't bad and it contains lots of anti-oxidants, so it could be a healthy alternative to carbonated energy drinks and sugary coffees.


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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea