Friday, December 10, 2010

How I Make, Yerba Mate

mate latte
I have a tendency to go on and on about this relatively new to me drink. It's called Yerba Mate. It's a drink mostly found in South America, preferred 6 to 1 over coffee, and is grown in the sub-tropical rainforests of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. It is traditionally drank out of gourds using a bombilla (straw) that has a sort of filter to separate the leaves and stems from the tea. I make mine in a more westernized way using a French Press and adding sweetener and milk. I originally found out about Yerba Mate from this Boho Girl, Denise.
I buy mine from my local health food store, but you can also find it here. This particular company, Guayaki partners with farming communities in South American Atlantic Rainforests to provide an organic and fair trade produced product. They focus on aiding the reforestation of this area while helping create a renewable income for the local communities. Not only do I get to enjoy a delicious drink but I also get to support a company that seems to be responsible for and respectful of the environment it's surrounded by.
For those of you less interested in the company and more interested in the health benefits of the tea, there are quite a few. There are 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids, and many antioxidants (higher amount than found in green teas) found in the leaves of the tree. It contains a naturally occurring caffeine, but it is not oily or acid forming so it's less likely than coffee to cause jitters or an upset stomach. I have never had a problem with either of those since I've been drinking it.
Basically it's good for you, it's tasty and I thought I'd share how I make my mate. I use the organic loose leaf mate. I recently read that the roasted version is much softer and sweeter in taste, which I may have to investigate soon. It's not hard to make, there's nothing tricky or fancy about it. If it seems intimidating just think of it as regular tea. You can steep it in all milk for a exceptionally rich and smooth taste, you can buy it in pre-made bags and steep it in hot water like with all other teas, you can add different types of milk and sugar or you can drink it "black". Whatever your little heart desires. This is how I like to make mine on a regular basis.
I heat up 2 cups of water, either on the stove or in the microwave. Either will get the job done. I make 2 cups because that's what happens to fit in my travel mug. 
Then I steep the leaves in a French Press with the 2 cups of water. I use a tablespoon of mate per cup of water. Before I realized I was using a 2 tablespoon scoop I accidentally used 4 tablespoons for 2 cups of water and was buzzing around the office all day. So I'd stick to the 1-1 ratio. 1 cup of water for every tablespoon of mate. 
I let the tea steep while I walk around and finish getting ready, anywhere between about 3-5 minutes. Then I heat up 1/2 -ish a cup of milk. I like to use the Trader Joe's brand Almond Milk because I've found it's the creamiest, foamiest, and I don't eat/drink dairy. You can of course use any type of milk you like in any quantity you like. I heat mine in the microwave or on the stove depending on my level of rush.
Then it's assemble time. I alternate between using honey (I try to use local honey as often as possible) and agave nectar. I like both so it's nice to switch back and forth.
And I just sweeten to taste, maybe a 1/2 to a full tablespoon's worth of sweet.
Heated and frothy milk goes over the honey and get a little stir.
Steeped mate gets poured in next. (note: it's really hard to pour and take a picture at the same time, there was some spillage)
And that's my drink. It might seem intimidating or fancy schmancy if you've never tried it but it's very easy to make. Nothing you can't do if you've ever made coffee or tea before. It might be nice to switch it up once in a while. If you're a coffee-holic maybe it's something you'd want to try on the weekends when you can dial down on the caffeine intake but still need something warm and creamy to wake up with. I find a mug of this is also an excellent hand warmer in the mornings. Let me know if any of you take the mate plunge!  (...angels singing)
*All Yerba Mate statistics/health/nutritional information from Guayaki website.
On a completely unrelated note...
I was contacted by a shopping website called LuLu*s earlier this week. They were kind enough to offer me an exclusive coupon code to share with anyone who hangs around here. Through Monday, December 13th you can get 15% off with the code MORGANANDLUA at check out. It's case sensitive so make sure you hit the caps lock. Beyond your run of the mill selection this mother-daughter started company offers some vintage and vegan items. I know this sounds like quite the commercial, but really it's a company where you can find reasonable prices and they're offering a discount just in time to shop for family, friends, and holiday parties. So happy shopping!
I'll be spending some time with the lovely Kim this weekend in Philly. I'm sure we'll be tweeting all about it if you want the play by play. Other than that enjoy your weekends!!



Anonymous said...

YAYY!!!!!!!!!! your coming!!!! I CANT FREAKIN WAIT! And, i demand u make me one of these when we come visit you at the beachies :)))

come here sooner. thanks. xo, Kim

veronika, tick tock vintage. said...

i'm a major coffee fanatic, but i'm definitely going to have to try this.

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely going to try this over the holidays sometime. I am a major coffee drinker (black) but am pleased to see it contains caffeine and that one can drink it black.

Anonymous said...

this looks really good as a coffee alternative. thanks and i'll definitely be trying it! i was also wondering...what do you do for a living?

archives said...

be careful with the agave nectar! i know its popular now, but its actually higher in fructose than high fructose corn syrup! there are lots of articles on how its not as good as its been marketed, but for examples, here's one:

honey and salt said...

mmm. I love mate. I'll have to make it this way.

amberly said...

I am SO HAPPY you posted on how you did this! When I first started reading your blog, I thought this was the most interesting thing and always wanted to try it but it seemed so foreign. GREAT tutorial! Why don't more people do this?! :) I love the photo of you looking out at Lua. You are so beautiful and your spirit shines, even from the back of you, if that makes sense :) I love your work, Morgan! You inspire me so.

Angela Joy said...

Wow, never heard of it! but I need to try it!

Anonymous said...

I am a coffee addict. Is basically made google matte and buy it for life! Haha I've been looking for a switch for so long. Specially something more energetic. It's my first time on your blog and I am an official follower! Love it so much. The photography and your way of writing definitely works! lol


Previously Owned

Anonymous said...

This made me* damn typos! haha

sartoriography said...

I lvoe Yerba Matte! My former boss at the health food store where I worked got me addicted to it. I was my favorite hot tea for a long time. And it's perfect for cold Chicago mornings when I'm pretending to do work and instead dreaming about traveling or reading a novel. :)

Your photos are gorgeous. I'm going to go make a cup of tea!

Anonymous said...

Il semble que vous soyez un expert dans ce domaine, vos remarques sont tres interessantes, merci.

- Daniel

The Corner Girl said...

Loved you post! I am SUCH a fan of Guayaki Yerba Mate! I have so many bads of loose yerba mate I don't know what to do with it!
I still need to find the perfect french press though! I have always used tea strainers in the past but they leak a bit.

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