I’d like to thank the bacteria that has attacked my body for finally getting me off the coffee. Somehow when you can barely swallow and your head feels like an elephant is sitting on it, coffee loses its appeal and tea becomes your best friend.

Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself a tea junkie for so many reasons, health benefits, joy of drinking, etc., but lately I’ve just been wanting my coffee in the morning. Not this week, though. So, I’ve been going through my teas each day and picking out the variety that suits my mood. Normally it’s something with a bit of richness, nuttiness, creaminess… somewhere along the line of chai… but most certainly not fruity in the morning.

Today’s choice: Mint to be Mate from Infusion Tea in Orlando.

I love this tea. They describe it as Roasted Yerba Mate accompanies chocolate and hazelnuts, finished with Zesty spearmint.

Flavor-wise, it’s exactly what I like in the morning. It has a sweetness (but I think, despite the description, it’s still vegan and there’s no actual chocolate, although I may need to check on that… ) and a nuttiness that tastes yummy, and the spearmint that warms me up. It’s a delightful combination that reminds me of the happiness of eating an Andes chocolate candy – you know, the ones with the green center… but the warm tea just makes it that much happier!

And, it has the mate in it to boot!

But, I’ll admit, I always get a little nervous drinking mate. I can drink multiple cups of coffee with no problem (although people around me may disagree) but sometimes I get a little nervous drinking mate. So, this morning I started doing a little research on mate.

FOR THE WAKE UP FACTOR: The amount of caffeine in yerba mate varies from about 20 to 150 mg per cup. Coffee contains about 100 mg of caffeine per cup.
FOR THE JITTER FACTOR: Because it’s so high in other nutritional factors, you’re less likely to get the jitters that often go along with a cup of joe.
What makes it special: Yerba mate comes from the Ilex paraguariensis tree native to South America. It is said to have a myriad of health benefits including: stimulating the immune system, lowering your risk of cancer due to its high level of antioxidants, relieves allergies through its stimulation of the adrenal system, increases mental clarity and even can help with bad breath!
According to Guayake, the company that sells a ton of yerba mate: Yerba mate contains caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine, well-known stimulants also found in tea, coffee and chocolate.  The caffeine content varies between that of green tea and coffee.  Unlike tea, yerba mate has a low tannin content so it can be strong like coffee with out becoming extremely bitter.  Unlike coffee, yerba mate is not oily and acid forming, so it is less likely to cause stomach acid and jitters.
The leaves of the rainforest mate tree naturally contain 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, abundant antioxidants. In fact, The Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific society in 1964 concluded “it is difficult to find a plant in any area of the world equal to mate in nutritional value” and that yerba mate contains “practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life.”
So, when it comes to Yerba Mate, I say, “Barista, bring me another cup!” … or maybe I’ll just go make my own. 🙂