Yerba mate– indigenous South Americans call it the ‘drink of the gods’.
And how much of it is true is for you to try and see because this beverage has a complex taste.
Having originated in the culturally rich regions of South America, yerba mate has become a worldwide sensation because of its multiple benefits.
Many favor the beverage because it stimulates the nervous system.
What does yerba mate taste like, and what are the best ways to serve it? Let’s take a step closer to discovering this ethnic treat.
What is Yerba Mate?
Yerba Mate is the name of a shrub that belongs to the holly genus.
It bears red fruits that bloom into white flowers.
The more common reference to yerba mate is the beverage made by steeping dried yerba mate leaves in hot water.
It is a staple drink in South America, particularly in the southern regions.
Since the plant itself contains caffeine, mate is considered a caffeine beverage.
Locals even make it a ritual to drink yerba mate every day as their source of caffeine fix.
And if you think about it, yerba mate is a much healthier caffeine alternative to coffee.
Like coffee, yerba mate can instantly make you refreshed and energized.
Today, Yerba mate is popularly consumed worldwide and exported from South America to other countries.
Because of its caffeine content, many companies market yerba mate as an energy drink.
What Does Yerba Mate Taste Like?
Everyone who’s tasted yerba mate can say that it tastes like vegetables, and they either love or hate the flavor.
But what sort of vegetable does it taste like?
Yerba mate tastes herby, earthy, and astringent and has an almost bitter aftertaste.
Its aroma might remind you of a slight eucalyptus flavor too.
Simply put, the beverage doesn’t taste too pleasant, at least for a first impression.
But if you give it another try, you’ll surely love the complexity of its taste profile.
Yerba mate isn’t quite what you’d expect, and your palate might need time to appreciate its taste.
But with time, you will learn to relish its taste and consider it your go-to drink.
Compared to other green teas, yerba mate has a slightly sweeter and bolder flavor.
It is distinctly herbal and lacks the usual mildness that most green teas have.
Sometimes you’ll find that yerba mate doesn’t always taste the same.
And this is because the growing conditions of the plant affect its flavor.
Those grown in sunny areas taste sweeter and have higher caffeine content, so you’ll get a good energy boost when you consume them.
Meanwhile, if yerba mate is sourced from shady areas, it will taste more earthy and have lesser caffeine.
Since not all manufacturers describe the source on their packaging, you only have to wait and see how yours tastes.
But you can always go for organically grown ones; they have a richer flavor.
Nonetheless, you can be confident that yerba mate has exceptional health benefits you’ll not want to miss.
How to Use and Serve Yerba Mate?
There are plenty of ways to make yerba mate fun and delicious.
If you are out of ideas, consider these cooking methods:
- Yerba mate tea: This is the most traditional yet most loved yerba mate recipe. And if you wish to enjoy it as the locals do, you might want to grab a cured gourd bottle and a bombilla. Add some cold water before you pour in hot water to prevent the nutrients from evaporating.
- Iced latte: Replace the coffee in your regular latte with yerba mate for an ethnic, herbal twist. You can give it a richer flavor by adding a dash of cinnamon. To make this more exciting, add crushed nuts to the final product. .
- Cold-brewed tea: Brewing the yerba leaves for 12 hours is one of the best ways to enjoy its authentic taste without relying on heat. You only need to mix some leaves in a jar of cold water and put it in the fridge. And mix some honey before serving the cold tea to make it palatable.
1 to 3 tablespoons of yerba mate is perfect for any recipe.
And if you’re steeping the leaves, 10 minutes is the most you should steep as the drink might turn too bitter.
Yerba mate is an ethnic beverage prominent in South American cultures.
Whether you consume the drink as a ritual or enjoy it as a form of exploring cultures, nothing can alter the fact that it has the combined taste of herbal and green tea.
The beverage is traditionally drunk in a gourd bottle and contains many essential nutrients that your body needs.
While its taste may not impress many at first, your palate can quickly adapt to it if you try the drink a few times.
Once you’re through the process of appreciating the drink for its unique and complex flavor, you’ll find that there are many ways to relish it, hot or cold.