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.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.