yerba mate

What Is Yerba Mate?

Yerba mate (ilex paraguariensis) is a traditional South American drink that was first consumed by the Native Guaraní people dating back to Pre-Columbian Paraguay, Argentina, and neighboring countries. It was considered the “drink of the gods” because of its traditional and cultural importance, as well as the boost that mate gives you when drank. Although the Guaraní people had trouble domesticating this valuable herb, fast forward a couple of centuries and the Jesuits domesticated and began to export yerba mate. Fast forward a couple more centuries and we see mass production, exportation and consumption of yerba mate all across the globe (primarily Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, Bolivia, Syria).

Some Of The Benefits Of Yerba Mate

Yerba mate is one of the most powerful herbs on the planet, and its benefits range all across the spectrum.

Yerba mate contains very high amounts of antioxidants and nutrients, more than that of tea and most other herbs on the market. Yerba mate may contain seven out of nine amino acids, in addition to many other vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive. There are also other components of yerba mate that can help boost your immune system.

Yerba mate can also boost energy and mental focus. People who drink yerba mate claim that one of the biggest benefits about it is that it increases alertness like coffee but without the jittery side effects.

It can also increase physical performance. Many athletes including Leo Messi, Luis Suarez, Paul Pogba, and Antoine Griezmann among others drink yerba mate both for leisure and before physical activity

Yerba mate may also boost your immune system to help prevent infections from bacteria, parasites and fungi.

It is also a herb that can help lose weight and belly fat. Studies show it can decrease the number of fat cells and reduce the amount of fat they hold.

Yerba mate has been proven to lower blood sugar levels and helps lower the risk of diabetes, as well as other blood sugar-related health conditions.

Process From Stem To Consumption

The process is one that requires several steps.

1. The yerba mate plant is planted and cultivated carefully for about 5 years until the plant is fully grown. The most mature leaves are carefully hand-picked in order to go through processing and reach the next step.
 
2. Sapeco – Also known as the pre-drying step, is the process by which the yerba mate leaves are heat shocked (450-600 °C) by exposure to a direct flame for about 20 sec. This is done post-harvest in order to dehydrate the leaves and to inactivate oxidating enzymes, such as peroxidase and polifenoloxidase, which is essential to the yerba’s signature taste and color. In this step, after heat shocking the leaves they must go through initial fractionation. The leaves of yerba mate continue to consume oxygen and sugar even after being harvested. Therefore, in order to avoid this, the fractionation process must be initiated at most, 24 hours after the harvest.
 
3. Drying- After the pre-drying in the “sapecador” the leaves are transferred to an oven (90-110°C) where they dry for an additional 6-8 hours. This is done in order to remove any residual humidity giving the proper dry and crisp consistency to the leaves.
 
4. Canchada – Yerba mate after drying and going through a pre-milling (grinding) process is referred to as yerba mate canchada. This is done in a machine called a “cancheador”. The yerba mate after this is left to age in order to acquire the best possible smell, taste, and color.
 
5. Screening- The yerba mate after the aging process is “screened” or sifted in order to separate the leaves from any remaining sticks (stems) to achieve ideal consistency.
 
6. Packaging – The mate is finally ready to be packaged and shipped out for consumption.

 

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