Jason has been an online writer for over 12 years. His articles focus on everything from philosophy to delicious recipes.
The Flavor of Yerba Mate
Yerba mate, a South American herb related to the holly whose leaves are drunk much like tea, has a taste that is different from tea, even green tea. It's strong, earthy, bitter, and has a eucalyptus smell.
What does yerba mate taste like?
- Strong and pungent, especially if prepared in the traditional fashion from the gourd and straw.
- Somewhat earthy, not completely unlike green pu-erh tea.
- A slightly camphor/eucalyptus smell and taste (like Vicks).
- Bitter, but not very astringent if prepared similarly to tea.
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How long should I steep yerba mate for maximum flavor?
It also comes in tiny broken pieces of the leaf, so in hot water, it doesn't take long to steep. I typically steep a couple of teaspoons in almost-boiling water for about 30 seconds, while I usually steep tea for at least 3 minutes.
Does yerba mate have caffeine?
Yerba mate has quite a bit of caffeine—more than tea, but less than coffee—so it can be addictive (I'm speaking from personal experience...).