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What Does Yerba Mate Taste Like?

Yerba mate comes as bunch of very small pieces, much like fannings in low-quality tea. The bits are varying colors of green, tan and brown.

Yerba mate comes as bunch of very small pieces, much like fannings in low-quality tea. The bits are varying colors of green, tan and brown.

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.

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 the 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).