Mate vs Coffee | Why Yerba Mate Is My Drug Of Choice
We all know caffeine makes the world go round. Around the world students, athletes, the corporate workforce, and stay-at-home moms (like me) rely on some caffeine to get them through the day.
The caffeine found in both mate and coffee works as a stimulant by activating the central nervous system. There are many different plants that naturally contain caffeine such as green tea, black tea, and coffee beans. Outside of these natural sources people also commonly consume it through sodas, energy drinks, prescription, and non-prescription drugs. However, all these forms of caffeine are not equal.
So today I’m going over some of the history, pros, and cons of two popular caffeinated drinks… yerba mate vs coffee, to help clear up some differences and help you choose what’s right for you.
Mate vs Coffee | Why Yerba Mate Is My Drug Of Choice
Does Yerba Mate Contain Caffeine?
Coffee contains on average 95 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per cup. whereas Yerba Mate contains caffeine at around 85 milligrams per cup. So, slightly less caffeine than coffee. It’s a small difference that might or might not really matter to some people. However, there’s a lot more than just the caffeine content that separates these two drinks.
Coffee was first discovered in ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau. Over the centuries it’s been on a journey that’s brought these beans across the entire globe. By the 17th-century coffee’s popularity was quickly spreading across Europe. Coffee houses were becoming centers of activity and coffee became the preferred morning beverage. People became more productive as their days started out more focused, alert, and full of energy. Coffee is still working the same way today.
- Provides a temporary energy boost that enhances brain and muscle function.
- Regular black coffee is low in calories and contains antioxidants and other nutrients including magnesium, potassium, riboflavin (vitamin B-2), and niacin (vitamin B-3).
- Coffee may help fight against many diseases including type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and lowers the risk of liver cancer.
- More accessible worldwide wide the Yerba Mate.
- Highly acidic. Coffee’s high acid levels can cause or greatly irritate ulcers, IBS, acid reflux, and heartburn.
- Coffee drinkers can experience “jitters” rapid heart rate, agitation, and restlessness. Especially after several cups of coffee.
- Feelings of anxiety, especially in people who are already prone to
- Energy crash. People who drink coffee, oftentimes experience a sharp decrease in energy after a few hours of drinking it.
What Is Yerba Mate?
Yerba mate is a traditional South American herbal tea. This tea is made from the leaves and twigs of the Ilex paraguariensis plant, a species of the holly tree. It grows in regions of South America such as Argentina. Archeologists have found yerba mate leaves at ancient burial sites that date back over 1000 years. Yerba mate had a crucial role in rituals for many indigenous people. In some of which, they would consume yerba mate. It was also used for its physical enhancing properties.
How To Drink Yerba Mate
Traditionally you serve yerba mate in a small gourd (or mate cup) with a metal straw. The straw has a filter at its lower end to strain out all of the leaf fragments.
You can purchase yerba mate pre-bottled, in tea bags, or loose leaf as well as drink it hot or cold.
What Yerba Mate Tastes Like?
Yerba mate can best be described as vegetal, earthy, herbaceous, and bittersweet. The yerba mate plant produces a drink that tastes really similar to green tea, but stronger. You can expect it be sort-of bitter and strong, just like some people like their coffee. If you’re a big fan of tea already, you’re sure to love it. If you’ve only ever been a coffee drinker, it might take you some to get used to the taste.
Yerba Mate Nutrition Facts
- Calories: 15
- Protein: 0.5 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 3 grams
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Sugar: 0.0 grams
- Source of nutritional facts
- Temporarily enhances brain and muscle function. Most regular drinkers report increased alertness without the jittery side effects.
- Very high in antioxidants and nutrients, even higher than the amounts found in green tea.
- Lowers blood sugar levels and risk of heart disease.
- Studies show that yerba mate may reduce appetite and boost the metabolism. As well as increase the amount of stored fat that’s burned for energy. This makes mate, particularly unsweetened mate, an ideal drink for weight loss.
- Appears to be adaptogenic, with high saponin (restorative compounds) and chlorogenic acid content.
- Studies show that drinking very hot water (boiled water) yerba mate and smoking over a long period of time may increase your risk of upper respiratory and digestive tract cancers.
- Consumption of yerba mate in large amounts may agitate individuals that are hypersensitive to caffeine.
Is Yerba Mate Good For You?
The high acidity, caffeine-induced anxiety, and energy crash make coffee drinking a no-go for me. I’ve been starting my daily morning routine by drinking yerba mate for about 12 years now. Either bottled or made at home with loose leaves in my french press. I’ve never even thought of making a switch. The health benefits of yerba mate are just too good. And honestly, I really love the taste as well.
Because caffeine is a stimulating drug, suddenly quitting can leave you with some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. In fact, after just a few hours of missing your usual caffeine dose, withdrawal symptoms can start to set in. The withdrawal effects of mate vs coffee are pretty much the same. They include headaches, irritation, lack of concentration, muscle pain, and stiffness, constipation, and depression.
If you’re looking to make the switch to more natural products, This is a good place to start. Swapping out your daily Starbucks for a Yerba Mate Tea will help cut sugar and calories. Not to mention the money you can save. But maybe best of all, you can keep them stocked in your refrigerator, which makes them super convenient.
Enjoy but sip wisely!