This ancient drink of health and friendship was introduced by the Guarani Indians from what is now Argentina and Paraguay. Today, Mate tea has become almost pathologically ritualized in a manner reminiscent of coffee and tea abuse in Western and Eastern countries. Among the native Guarani, on the other hand, the natural use of Mate for healthful purposes has persisted.
Our Yerba Mate comes from Southern Brazil from the state of Parana and Mato Grosso. Also known as Paraguay tea and yerba mate, mate is an herb prepared from the leaves of a South America evergreen shrub, Illex paraguayensis, a relative of the common holly. Grown below 1,000 ft., the leaves are oval and about 6 inches long. Flowers of the plant are small and white. The fruit appears in small clusters of tiny red berries growing close to the stems of the plant. Mate leaves are processed somewhat like tea leaves. The tips of the branches are cut just before the leaves reach full growth and the leaves are steamed and dried (in fired mate the leaves are dried over fires) The dried leaves are sifted and allowed to age in order to enhance the flavor of the mate. The cup characteristics are greenish and vegetative while the infusion tends toward light and yellowish. The caffeine content of mate is comparable to that of mild arabica coffee.