You need something new to pry your eyes open in the morning -- coffee just isn't cutting it anymore. What about leaves from the Ilex paraguariensis tree, brewed and served over ice? Yerba mate proponents claim the tea will give you the caffeine buzz of coffee without the inevitable crash. One cup of mate has half the caffeine of coffee, so you can tell your doctor you really are cutting back on your stimulant fix. The tea also has a high percentage of an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid, which may be good for your heart health. Mate is easy to brew either in a traditional gourd or in a French press. Serve the tea over ice for a refreshing, chilly beverage.
Fill a mate gourd approximately half way full with loose tea leaves. Place your hand over the opening of the gourd and shake it vigorously -- up and down, then to the side -- to bring the stems and larger leaves to the surface. The bigger particles will create a natural filter. Give the gourd a final shake to bring the tea onto one side of the container.
Cup the gourd in your hand to keep the tea leaves on the side. Place a bombilla or metal straw on top of the leaves. Pour a few tablespoons of cold water down the outside of the straw to moisten the leaves. Pour hot water down the straw to fill the gourd almost to the top.
Place the gourd into the refrigerator for several hours to steep and chill. Pour the tea through a strainer into a pitcher. After several hours of brewing, the mate will be quite strong. Dilute the tea with cold water and ice cubes. Stir in sugar and milk to sweeten the iced tea to taste.
Pour 1 tablespoon of loose mate per 8 ounces of water into the bowl of the French press. Moisten the leaves with a few tablespoons of cold water.
Pour warm water over the leaves to fill the French press. The temperature of the water should ideally be 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the top on the press and allow the tea to steep for up to 10 minutes.
Depress the plunger to force the tea leaves to the bottom of the press. Pour the mate into a pitcher and refrigerate for several hours. Serve the tea over ice.
- Some research suggests that excessive yerba mate consumption may increase your risk of cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic. Consult your physician before consuming any herbal supplements, including mate.
Carolyn Robbins began writing in 2006. Her work appears on various websites and covers various topics including neuroscience, physiology, nutrition and fitness. Robbins graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology and theology from Saint Vincent College.