What is Mate?
It’s a black tea that originated in South America and has been adopted in the U.S. in recent decades.
Like any other tea, you can drink it loose or buy it by the bag and most health food stores (or Latin Markets) carry it nowadays. It’s reasonably priced and easy to prepare.
The catch with loose mate is that it takes practice getting used to preparing it in a mate gourd. You can find them online or pick one up if you plan to travel to South America in the near future. A good one will last for years and you’ll enjoy sipping from it while relaxing at home.
Energy Boost without the Jitters
Mate is quite strong compared to other teas so it will give you a good energy boost, similar to coffee. However, it’s not as acidic and won’t leave you feeling jittery. Just make sure you don’t steep it too long. Mate tea bags aren’t as strong as the loose tea so if you’re sensitive to caffeine, that will probably be your best bet.
How to Drink Mate in a Gourd
If you plan to drink mate in a traditional gourd, you’ll want to invest in a thermos to keep your water hot so you can add it in small amount to your gourd throughout the morning or afternoon. For tips on how to prepare mate in a gourd, YouTube has some great tutorials in both English & Spanish. I’d recommend carving out a “hole” in one corner of the gourd to pour the water; the video I posted is in Spanish but you’ll get the visual so you can see what I’m talking about. Also, the first few sips will be strong so you may want to discard those. Some people add herbs, mint or stevia to their mate leaves to taste.
If you’re not sure which mate to buy, here are a few recommendations. You’ll get the best deal if you buy from your local Latin market, but if you don’t have one nearby, online is always an option. Keep in mind that some people prefer their loose tea without stems (sin palos).
Enjoy and be well,