The simple answer: Most people say it has an earthy taste, it is generally bitter, with a light body, and none of the characteristic acidity found in coffee. It is high in caffeine content (matteine) and healthy vitamins & minerals. It is a stimulating tea that gives the drinker a stable energy boost; the stimulating effects have no ‘crash’ associated with them, like how coffee withdrawal is frequently described, and it lacks all of the jittery side effects of caffeine.
How to make Yerba Mate taste better (or worse if you love the traditional flavor & taste).
There are many ways to improve the taste of Mate. If you love the positive benefits Mate but don’t enjoy the taste, try the following:
Iced Yerba Mate Tea Brazil
- Drink Yerba Mate Iced Tea – The #1 choice drink for tea lovers. Everyone on the beaches of Brazil you can find street vendors selling delicious iced yerba mate. It is flavorful, sweet, easy to make, and very refreshing on a cold day.
- When drinking tea bags – add sugar after you steep the tea. This practice is very common in brazil. Sweet foods are an intrinsic part of Brazilian culture, and so is Mate. It’s not uncommon in brazil for you to be served your tea in a cup filled with many tea spoons of added sugar. The sugar reduces the bitterness and masks many of the herbal flavors.
- Purchase flavor infused yerba mate. One popular brand that makes many Yerba Mate tea bags that have added flavor is Mate Leao. They have lemon, lime, orange and more flavored tea options.
- Add a lemon twist. Squeeze a lemon, lime, or another citric fruit after your mate tea bag has steeped. Many people enjoy this flavor & acidity.
- Mix half a cup of lemon soda and half a cup brewed Yerba Mate.
- Add honey or vanilla extract.
The complete answer – Yerba Mate Taste & Flavor: When friends discover that I write a blog on Yerba Mate, one of the first questions they ask me is what does Yerba mate taste like? If you’ve never tried this nutrient rich South American tea, then it’s an honest question. However, even for daily Yerba Mate drinkers it can hard to pin down exactly what the taste is. Many factors can affect the taste, including: how you brew the tea, how you prepare the tea, the growing method of the plant, which ingredients you’ve added & more factors.
Often people say that the tastes is earthy, I’ve even heard it described as “what I would imagine hay or grass to taste like”! It is strong tasting, and especially strong when drank in the traditional method with a gourd and bombilla (tea cup and straw). The tea is bitter and has a bitter after taste. However, it is very light and not in any way creamy or dense. It is also is not acidic like coffee – which is one of the most commonly referred to positives that people mention when they drink Yerba (prounounced herva or herba) Mate for the first time.
The most polarizing area of topic surrounding the flavors of Yerba Mate is the bitterness & the herbal and earthy flavors. Mate lovers will laud these tastes and mention them as positive aspects. Saying that the taste is natural, full, refreshing, & soothing. The traditionalists do not add any ingredients to their tea, preferring to steep their tea in a gourd and drink it through a metal straw, or bombilla. While western cultures, younger generations, and occasional drinkers will often make creative variations on the traditional drink. Adding it into their cocktails, adding sugar, honey, vanilla, or many more different zests to boost the flavor prole. Now it is common even common to see energy drinks, energy shots & more commercial alternates to the traditional brew. Either way whichever method you use to prepare your Yerba Mate tea, everyone can agree that its taste is completely unique.