Yerba mate is a traditional South American drink made from the leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis plant. Renowned for its distinctive flavor and potential health benefits, it has gained global popularity.
In our quest to identify the best yerba mate, we’ve rigorously tested dozens of brands, exploring various forms, processing methods, flavor intensities, and price points.
Here are the best yerba mate on the market:
The 7 Best Yerba Mate
There are dozens of different yerba mate brands, each offering unique products. Smoked and unsmoked, loose-leaf and tea bags, strong and mild – the selection is extensive.
To simplify the selection process for you, we’ve tested numerous products and selected the best ones in different categories.
1. U.S. Wellness Naturals Yerba Mate Tea – Best Yerba Mate Overall
U.S. Wellness Naturals Yerba Mate Tea is a 100% certified organic, loose-leaf tea. Hailing from the Brazilian Rain Forest, this tea is packaged as a robust 16-ounce product, ensuring weeks or months of refreshing sips. The product’s appearance is notably green, indicative of its super-green nature, a signature of the best yerba mate. This tea has a high caffeine content but also presents theobromine and theophylline, making it a stimulating yet balanced beverage.
The flavor of U.S. Wellness Naturals Yerba Mate Tea is unique and pleasant, with an undertone akin to freshly cut grass balanced by an earthly note. Unlike many yerba mate variants, it offers a mild bitterness, maintaining the authentic mate experience while ending on a subtly sweet note. Its aroma mirrors its taste, being both inviting and invigorating.
This yerba mate is free from dust, stems, additives, pesticides, and herbicides. It is packed in a bag made with BPA-free multi-layer polymer and Kraft surface, allowing it to preserve its freshness. In keeping with U.S. Wellness Naturals’ commitment to quality, the product is packed in a Department Of Agriculture certified facility in Ohio.
- Certified 100% organic
- Offers a high caffeine content without the associated jitters
- No dust or stems are present in the packaging
- Comes in a large 16-ounce package, providing plenty of servings
- Resealable, BPA-free bag ensures freshness
- Grown in the traditional environment of the Brazilian Rain Forest
- Subtle and balanced flavor profile
- The larger grind requires a longer steeping time
- Mild bitterness might not appeal to everyone
- Specific taste, akin to cut grass, might not be to everyone’s liking
- Slightly more expensive compared to other yerba mate teas
- The high caffeine content may not suit those sensitive to caffeine
- The product does not come with brewing instructions
2. Rosamonte Special Selection Yerba Mate Tea – Runner-up
Rosamonte Special Selection Yerba Mate Tea is a loose-leaf tea variant sourced directly from Argentina. Weighing around 2.2 lbs or 1 kilo, this bag can provide many servings. The product contains dried, crumbled leaves and stems with powdered leaf dust. The drink has a distinctive green-amber hue and a slightly bitter taste, similar to hay or green tea. A smoky hint helps mellow out the bitterness, giving the tea a unique flavor. While the packaging is written in Spanish, reflecting its Argentinian roots, it is worth noting that the product is gluten-free. It’s worth mentioning that the packaging is non-resealable, so transferring the yerba mate to an airtight canister or a zip-lock bag upon opening is advisable to preserve freshness.
- Yields a substantial number of servings due to the generous weight.
- Provides a distinct, slightly bitter flavor with a smoky aftertaste.
- Certified as gluten-free.
- Offers an authentic yerba mate experience with its blend of leaves, stems, and powdered leaf dust.
- Originates from Argentina, lending to its authenticity.
- Comparatively well-priced for the quality provided.
- Can yield a considerable energy boost.
- The packaging is not resealable, necessitating transfer to another container after opening.
- Contains powdered leaf dust, which might not be preferred by all.
- The expiration date is not indicated on the packaging.
- Has a strong, slightly bitter taste that may not appeal to everyone, particularly those new to yerba mate.
- Preparing the tea can be messy due to the powdered leaf dust.
- The packaging language is Spanish, which may pose a comprehension issue for non-Spanish speakers.
3. ECOTEAS Unsmoked Yerba Mate Tea Bags – Best Yerba Mate Tea Bags
ECOTEAS Unsmoked Yerba Mate Tea Bags contains 100 unwrapped organic yerba mate tea bags, amounting to a total weight of 8.8 oz. The yerba mate leaves in these tea bags are USDA Organic, derived from ECOTEAS’ family farm using a smoke-free drying process. This contributes to the tea’s unsmoked flavor that’s different from many other yerba mate varieties.
As the best yerba mate tea bags, they offer an earthy taste, having a balance of robust and fruity notes. The bitterness is manageable, making it suitable even for those accustomed to milder teas. The product is convenient for traveling or as a midday pick-me-up at work. Despite its high caffeine content, it’s noted for its low-acid and jitter-free energy effects. ECOTEAS also puts emphasis on sustainability, evidenced by their minimal packaging waste and certifications such as Fair Trade, Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, and Kosher.
- Provides a lasting energy boost without jitters.
- Convenient for travel and on-the-go consumption.
- Produced using a smoke-free drying process, enhancing its unique flavor.
- Complies with Fair Trade, Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, and Kosher standards.
- Tea bags can be reused with minimal loss of flavor.
- The robust, earthy flavor may not appeal to everyone.
- Some users may find the need to rinse the tea bags before use, adding an extra step in preparation.
- Some consumers may feel the tea lacks flavor without added sweeteners.
- Some may find the cost higher than other yerba mate tea options.
- Some consumers may express concern over the use of bleached tea bags.
4. Canarias Yerba Mate – Strongest Yerba Mate
Canarias Yerba Mate is an acclaimed brand hailing from Uruguay. With its 2.2lb bag size, Canarias offers a finely-ground, twig-free variety of mate leaves, which carry a robust, earthy flavor profile. Noted as one of the strongest yerba mate versions, its taste may challenge those unfamiliar with its hearty bitterness. However, this robustness can be a strong selling point for those drawn to its herbal and toasty character. Canarias Yerba Mate is a bitter yet invigorating alternative to conventional teas and coffees. This particular blend is also claimed to be a weight loss aid. But remember, its strong taste can be too intense for some, and overconsumption may lead to agitation. Despite being packaged in user-friendly bags, the fine consistency of the leaves may cause some difficulty in filtration and potential mess.
- Originates from a respected brand.
- Offers a unique and robust flavor profile.
- The 2.2lb bag size ensures plenty of servings.
- Yerba mate leaves are finely ground, excluding any twigs.
- May assist in weight loss.
- Encourages an experience of traditional South American culture.
- The strong, bitter taste may not appeal to everyone.
- Fine grind can lead to challenges in filtration and potential spillage.
- Higher cost compared to other yerba mate brands.
- The strong flavor profile can lead to inadvertent overconsumption.
- Fine ground consistency may be off-putting for those used to coarser teas.
- Some people may experience stomach discomfort after consumption.
5. Playadito Yerba Mate – Best Yerba Mate for Beginners
The Playadito Yerba Mate, a traditional infusion from Corrientes, Argentina, offers a distinct experience for tea enthusiasts, especially those looking for the best yerba mate for beginners. This product leans more towards a stronger, bitter taste but is also noted for its subtle sweetness and herbal tones. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, appealing to those who seek a health-boosting beverage. Housed in sturdy, resealable packaging, the tea’s freshness and aroma are designed to last longer. This yerba mate is also versatile. While traditionally consumed hot from a mate gourd, it also lends itself well to cold brewing, latte preparations, or French press. It may take some getting used to, but it’s a unique, healthy, and flavorful option that could become a part of your daily routine.
- Very smooth flavor with little bitterness.
- Not overly strong compared to other brands.
- It’s considered an ideal yerba mate for beginners.
- The presence of chopped stems may be unappealing for some users.
6. BALIBETOV Organic Yerba Mate Tea – Best Unsmoked Yerba Mate
The BALIBETOV Organic Yerba Mate Tea is a premium quality, 100% organic, naturally gluten-free, and vegan beverage. This USDA-certified product, weighing 2.2 lbs or 1 kg, comes in the form of loose leaves that can be brewed into a hot or cold drink, offering naturally derived flavors to sip and enjoy. The unsmoked yerba mate features a unique soft blend and hails from Brazil, cultivated with a meticulous care characteristic of artisanal production. Known as one of the best unsmoked yerba mate teas, the rich source of vitamins and minerals is designed to boost energy, fight stress and support immune function. Despite its impressive flavor profile, the taste of this yerba mate tea is not astringent but delightful, even when brewed with near-boiling water. The aroma complements the taste, creating a refreshing experience for the consumer. Its greenish appearance, with a mix of leaves, stems, and larger pieces, underlines the natural nature of the tea. The tea can be infused in multiple ways to fit different lifestyles, proving that yerba mate can be versatile.
- 100% organic, vegan, and naturally gluten-free.
- Provides an energy boost and supports immune function.
- Can be brewed in various ways, hot or cold.
- Rich and complex flavor profile.
- Large quantity for a reasonable price.
- Little dust or debris.
- Packaging is non-resealable, making it less convenient for maintaining freshness.
- No brewing instructions are provided on the packaging.
- Some may find it too powdery.
7. Guayaki Organic Yerba Mate Orange Exuberance – Best Canned Yerba Mate
The Guayaki Organic Yerba Mate Orange Exuberance is a ready-to-drink beverage packed in a 15.5-ounce can and comes in a pack of twelve. This yerba mate drink, recognized as one of the best canned yerba mate beverages, provides an energizing experience with its organic and fair trade ingredients. It has a unique flavor mix of orange, tangerine, and lime that offers a refreshing alternative to regular energy drinks. Each can is powered with 150mg of caffeine derived from organic yerba mate extract. The brand, Guayaki, stakes a claim for sustainability, ensuring every purchase contributes to what they call Market Driven Regeneration to benefit the planet. With USDA Organic and Vegan certifications, this product aims to deliver a satisfying, clean energy boost without the typical jittery effects of caffeine. Despite its distinct taste, the orange exuberance may not suit everyone’s palate, making it a specific yet intriguing choice in the realm of yerba mate drinks.
- Gives a smooth energy boost.
- No jitters or shaky effects were noted.
- Contains organic and fair-trade ingredients.
- Convenient, ready-to-drink canned packaging.
- Unique flavor profile combining orange, tangerine, and lime.
- Contains a significant amount of sugar (27 grams per can).
- The specific flavor might not appeal to everyone.
How We Selected the Best Yerba Mate
Our selection process was thorough, covering all aspects from form to price.
Yerba mate is available in several forms – loose-leaf, tea bags, and canned drinks. The loose-leaf offers the most authentic experience, allowing you to appreciate the full flavor profile. Tea bags provide convenience, whereas canned drinks are great for on-the-go enjoyment. The best loose-leaf yerba mate offers an unrivaled depth of flavor, while the best yerba mate drink encapsulates the essence of the leaf in a convenient package.
Yerba mate can be processed in two primary ways: smoked and unsmoked. Smoked yerba mate undergoes a traditional drying process over a wood fire, infusing it with a distinctive smoky flavor. Unsmoked yerba mate, on the other hand, is dried with warm air, preserving the natural, earthy taste of the leaves.
Yerba mate can range from mild to strong in flavor. For beginners, starting with a milder option is often best. The best-tasting yerba mate balances flavor and intensity, neither overwhelming the palate nor fading into insignificance.
Price plays a crucial role in choosing the best yerba mate brand. While some brands seem expensive, the cost per cup often turns out to be surprisingly affordable, especially with loose-leaf options. Premium brands offer a superior flavor experience, justifying their higher price tag.
Tips for Choosing the Best Yerba Mate
Choosing the best yerba mate involves a few key considerations to ensure you get the right match for your palate and lifestyle. Here are some detailed tips to guide your selection:
Identify your Preferred Form
Yerba mate is available in different forms, such as loose-leaf, tea bags, and canned drinks. Loose leaf yerba mate provides a traditional and immersive brewing experience, often preferred by connoisseurs for its fuller flavor and aroma. Tea bags offer convenience and simplicity, ideal for quick preparation or for those new to yerba mate. Canned drinks, already brewed and ready to drink, are perfect for on-the-go situations.
Decide Between Smoked and Unsmoked
Smoked yerba mate is dried over a wood fire, which infuses it with a unique smoky flavor. This is a more traditional processing method and results in a robust, hearty brew. Unsmoked yerba mate is dried with warm air, preserving the leaf’s natural flavor. This results in a milder, more earthy taste, which might suit those with sensitive palates or those who prefer a less intense flavor.
Some yerba mate drinkers may be concerned about the health implications of smoked yerba mate. In moderation, smoked yerba mate is not considered harmful to health. However, consuming large amounts over an extended period may expose you to potentially harmful levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These compounds are present in many smoked foods and are associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer. As with all foods and drinks, it’s best to enjoy smoked yerba mate in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.
Consider Flavor Intensity
Yerba mate comes in a variety of flavor intensities, from mild to strong. If you’re a beginner, start with a milder variety and gradually work your way up to stronger options. Pay attention to descriptions and reviews about flavor when choosing.
Think about Price
While the initial cost of a yerba mate package might seem high, it’s crucial to calculate the price per cup. Although pricey upfront, some premium options can be economical in the long run, especially if they offer superior flavor and quality.
In addition, consider your budget and how much you’re willing to spend on your yerba mate experience.
Choose Organic When Possible
Opt for organic yerba mate brands if you prioritize natural and sustainable farming practices. These products are grown without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, which is better for the environment and potentially healthier for you.
One of the best ways to determine the quality of a yerba mate brand is to read reviews from other customers. Look for consistent praise or criticism about flavor, aroma, freshness, and overall quality.
While we’ve tested dozens of brands to find the best yerba mate tea, new products continue to emerge. This list will be updated as we discover and review these newcomers.
Remember, the best yerba mate for us may not be the best for you. Experiment with different brands and flavors to find your perfect cup.
Is It Ok to Drink Yerba Mate Every Day?
Yes, drinking yerba mate daily is generally considered safe, but moderation is key due to its caffeine content.
Does Yerba Mate Give You a Buzz?
Yes, yerba mate contains caffeine, which can provide a gentle buzz similar to coffee but without the jittery effects.
Is Yerba Mate Healthier Than Coffee?
Yerba mate and coffee have different health benefits. Yerba mate is rich in antioxidants and nutrients and can boost energy and mental focus.
What Does Yerba Mate Taste Like?
Yerba mate has a unique taste often described as earthy, herbal, and somewhat grassy, with a mildly bitter finish.
How to Make Yerba Mate?
To make yerba mate:
- Fill a gourd or cup with loose-leaf yerba mate.
- Pour hot (not boiling) water over the leaves and let it steep for a few minutes.
- Sip it through a bombilla, a traditional metal straw with a filter at the end.
Note that brewing instructions vary by brand, so checking the packaging is always best.
What Are the Benefits of Yerba Mate?
The health benefits of yerba mate include boosted energy, improved mental focus, and rich antioxidant content that may help prevent diseases.
What Are the Downsides of Yerba Mate?
Potential downsides include sleep disturbances and increased heart rate due to its caffeine content. Excessive consumption may also lead to stomach upset.
How Much Caffeine Is in Yerba Mate?
Yerba mate typically contains 30-50 milligrams of caffeine per cup, less than coffee but more than most teas.
Where Does Yerba Mate Come From?
Yerba mate is native to the subtropical highlands of South America, specifically Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, and Southern Brazil.