Do you know that fall feeling? The leaves have been slowly falling from the trees and piling up in a gentle reminder that fall is right around the corner and it’s time to whip out your school supplies and sweaters. Although we love a sweet iced tea on the patio, there’s nothing like celebrating the harvest season with a hot cup of tea.
If you’re heading back to school you might be preparing to trade in your morning tea for an uber-caffeinated latte to make it through that 8:00 am lecture. Not so fast! We have the perfect drink to keep your energy up and most importantly, avoid that unpleasant afternoon crash.
The Energizing Benefits of Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate is a natural energy drink. This traditional South American drink is high in caffeine but doesn’t leave you shaking with the jitters. Basically, yerba mate is better for you than coffee. Unlike coffee, yerba mate provides a smooth increase in energy that enhances mental clarity, alertness, and concentration. It has been called “the drink of the gods” by indigenous South Americans and you may just start calling it “the exam-saving elixir”.
If we were to sum up the benefits of this traditional beverage in an all-encompassing list, yerba mate is known to provide the following:
- Boosts energy
- Enhances memory, alertness, and mental clarity
- Contains vitamins and minerals
- Aids digestion
- Boosts the immune system
- Enhances blood flow
The Origins of Yerba Mate
Yerba mate is a made from the dried leaves of an evergreen holly, Ilex paraguariensis, a native plant of South America. The drink has become an important part of South American social events and the gourd that the drink is served in represents bonding and community cohesion.
Yerba Mate is the national drink of Argentina and Yerba Mate sales rake in 500 million dollars every single year! Clearly, this drink has major cultural importance. It’s surprising that a drink with this kind of hype has not made its way to the masses in North America.
How to Enjoy Yerba Mate
You don’t have to drink yerba mate the customary way to enjoy all of the health benefits but if you want to pay homage to the rich history of this beverage, try it in the classic gourd. The authentic experience involves drinking yerba mate from a gourd (calabash) with a silver straw (bombilla).
How to Cure the Gourd
For pure Yerba Mate (with no additives like sugar), fill the gourd with fresh yerba mate and add boiling water. Let stand for a day. Rinse the gourd and remove loose tissue with a spoon. Please do not remove the stem in the center of the gourd. Doing so will cause the gourd to leak. Repeat for two or three days.
For “sweet” mate, wet the gourd with boiling water, add two or three teaspoons of sugar and a small piece of burning coal. Cover the gourd mouth and shake vigorously to burn (caramelize) the sugar on the sides of the gourd. Empty the gourd and proceed as instructed above.
Cleaning the Gourd
The gourd should be hand washed only using hot or boiling water and no soap or detergent. Do not put the gourd in the dishwasher. Keep the gourd dry between uses, placing a paper towel or napkin in the gourd after use will help absorb excess moisture.
You will need the following: