Yerba Mate – La Bebida Uruguaya

January 10th, 2008 Posted in food, Uruguay | No Comments » Make sure you like EcoJoes on Facebook to stay updated on green ways to save money and help the environment. Just click the "like" button below. Muchas gracias!

Welp, ever since I’ve given up coffee on a bet with my girlfriend Tiff, I’ve been drinking a lot of yerba mate. What is yerba mate, you might ask? I might answer that it is a South American drink that is popular as heck in Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina. If you’re looking to find a new drink of choice, then perhaps this is it.

Yerba Mate con BombillaWhat is Yerba Mate?

To make some yerba mate, you pack some dried-up yerba mate tree leaves in a hollowed-out gourd (a lot of Uruguayans called it a mate). Then fill it up with hot water (many Uruguayans carry a thermos of hot water for just this reason). To drink it, put your bombilla (metal straw with a strainer at the bottom) in the gourd. Watch out, ’cause the metal straw can get hot.

Benefits o’ Yerba Mate

Some people claim that yerba mate can restore hair color, give athletes a boost, and detoxify your body. I don’t know about all that, but it does have antioxidants, plus saponins, which help out your immune system. There are also some other vitamins and minerals in it. It’s healthy, plus it won’t stain your teeth like coffee. Another plus is you don’t have to wait for it to steep like normal tea, just pour it in and you’re ready.

“Green” Benefits of Yerba Mate

A lot of yerba mate is shade-grown in the Amazon rain forest, meaning it’s grown beneath the natural rain forest canopy. This is good because it provides locals with some money without them having to resort to destroying their rain forest.

El Yerba Mate MejorThe most popular brand of yerba mate in Uruguay was Canarias. I brought back two large packs of it. It’s cheaper down there than it is in the U.S. (naturally), but there may be some other, domestic brands of yerba mate if you look. Once I run out of my Canarias, I’ll see if I can find some domestic yerba mate.

Oh, also…

Yerba Mate has a celebrity who endorses it…

Look at him, he loves it