Yerba Mate

I had a stint with coffee when I was in college.  One of my room mates made a pot every morning and a few of them ( I lived with 5 other girls, think about that one for a moment) would all drink it in the morning.  I think it was a combination of the horribly processed, yet delicious creamer that they poured into it and the inciting way it smelled that got me to try coffee.  I drank giant mugs of it every morning and then in the afternoon, I would drink a diet Pepsi.  One day, I woke up thinking that I felt so refreshed that I didn’t need coffee and I felt tired, sluggish and really cranky in the afternoon.  And, so I was addicted to coffee.

I decided that I didn’t want to be one of those people that needed coffee to start their day.  Another catalyst for my decision to cut coffee out is that it felt very dehydrating to my body.  I got rid the coffee and the diet Pepsi, cold turkey.  Let me tell you, caffeine head aches are no joke.  I have experienced very painful tension headaches/migraines my whole life and these caffeine headaches were comparable to my normal headaches.  It took nearly a month for me to stop having withdrawal headaches.

I occasionally enjoy coffee, but now I am an avid tea drinker.  I think tea tastes way better than coffee and it doesn’t have all the unpleasant side effects that coffee gives me.  Getting up early for school almost requires caffeine to be drunk, and my favorite way to get my morning jolt is yerba mate.

This is what my morning ritual looks like, minus the cookie.  Not that eating cookies for breakfast is bad.  I make mine in a French press with one tablespoon of loose yerba mate tea to 6-8 ounces of water.  I sweeten mine with a wee bit of honey and a splash of either almond or soy milk.  (If I was at home, I could froth the milk before adding it.  I miss you and your milk frother, Mom and Dad!)

Yerba mate has three stimulants, caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine, all stimulants found in coffee, tea and chocolate.  It has very little oil it, like coffee, and doesn’t form acid, which means it won’t give you the coffee jitters or cause excess stomach acid.  It also has very little tannins, which means it doesn’t get as bitter.  I wouldn’t recommend steeping your yerba mate for extended periods of time, but it will never get bitter like coffee can.  We’ve all had that cup of coffee that brewed for way too long and tastes terrible-that’s the tannins coming out.  Yerba mate also contains minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.

The only draw back that I find with yerba mate is that if you’re not used to drinking it, then you might find the taste a little weird.  It takes some getting used to, but over time, I have grown to love it’s unique taste.  The bf says it tastes like cigarettes, which I can’t say for sure because I’ve never smoked one.  I highly doubt it though; yerba mate does not smell as foul as cigarettes do, so I would like to assume that it doesn’t taste like it either.  It’s very earthy, and slightly grassy and smells smokey when you inhale the scent of the dry leaves.

Give it a try for an interesting alternative to coffee.  Be well & happy eating!

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2 thoughts on “Yerba Mate

    • I have been thinking about getting those, but usually I’m in such a hurry before school that I throw into a travel mug and go! I have been eying the gourds for a while though…

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