Yerba Mate: The Superior Coffee Substitute?

In a fast-paced world where time seems to slip through our fingers like grains of sand, finding that perfect boost of energy to power through the day is necessary.

For most people, coffee offers that perfect energy boost. However, it comes with annoying jitters and deadly crashes. That’s why at Teapro HQ, we often swap our morning coffee for a cup of Yerba Mate – a popular beverage from South America.

Whilst Yerba Mate is increasingly gaining recognition in Europe for its unique taste, its revitalising effect and many potential health benefits, a lot of people are still in the dark about what it is and how it compares to coffee.

So let us address all your questions in this short and hopefully useful Q&A session!

1. Yerba Mate: A Summary

Q: What is Yerba Mate?

A: Yerba Mate is a traditional South American herbal tea. It has a long history of cultural significance, especially in countries like Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay, where Yerba Mate rituals are an integral part of social gatherings. 

Known as the drinks of the god, Yerba Mate is more than just a drink – it’s a cultural icon with intricate making process and brewing techniques. If you’re new to the game, here is All You Need To Know About Yerba Mate!

2. Yerba Mate vs. Coffee: 
A Comparison

To compare Yerba Mate with Coffee, it is truly hard to decide which one is a better fit for everyone as it depends on individuals’ predilection. Thus, we will break it down to smaller sections of caffeine, health benefits and brewing to help you weigh the pros and cons of each beverage!

Caffeine Level and Type

Q: Is There Caffeine in Yerba Mate?

A: Yes! Like any other tea types, Yerba Mate does contain caffeine. However, its content depends on how it’s brewed. A serving can have between 30-180 mg of caffeine. 

On average, a cup of Yerba Mate contains about 70 mg of caffeine, while a cup of coffee has around 120 mg. To give you a better idea, green tea has around 25 mg of caffeine, and black tea has about 50 mg. 

So, for someone who can’t handle coffee but still needs a higher amount of caffeine than normal tea types, Yerba Mate is the perfect middle ground!

Q: Is Yerba Mate’s Caffeine Different?

A: Many of you (including us at first) might think that caffeine in every drink is the same. However, this is not true.

Unlike coffee, Yerba Mate produces a natural stimulant called “Mateine”, which is made up of three compounds: caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline. 

This combination encourages stimulation and soothing at the same time, which saves drinkers from heavy crashes while still offering mental alertness. This makes it a perfect choice for those seeking focused energy without unwanted jitters and acid reflux in their busy live.

Health Benefits

Q: Which one is healthier? Yerba Mate or Coffee?

A: A much-awaited question. Many of us have become increasingly conscious of leading a healthy lifestyle and are keenly focused on the health benefits of beverages we consume.

Therefore, before answering your question, we will go through the health benefits and side effects of Yerba Mate and Coffee and debunk the myths surrounding these beverages.

Yerba Mate: The Nutritional Profile

Packed with vitamins, minerals and slow-releasing caffeine, this herbal infusion provides a nutrition-filled option that coffee may not offer and an arsenal of antioxidants that could make a green tea blush with envy. Here are some remarkable health benefits that Yerba Mate attains:

1. Antioxidant Power: Its abundance of polyphenols makes it an excellent ally in neutralising harmful radicals to slow down ageing and protecting against heart disease. 

2. Vitamins and Minerals Galore: Packed with vitamins A, B, C, and E, as well as essential minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, sodium, and magnesium, Yerba Mate plays a crucial role in DNA functioning, cell renewal, and the assimilation of fats and proteins.

3. Weight Control: Yerba Mate induces a sense of satiety and aiding in weight control. It’s highly recommended in diets for its purifying properties, which help accelerate metabolism. For further information, check out our article about Yerba Mate for Weight Loss.

4. Natural Energiser: With its mateine content, a form of caffeine, this tea type provides stimulation and enhanced concentration. It stimulates neurons, memory, and reasoning abilities, making it a fantastic choice for combating fatigue and enhancing physical performance.

5. Infection Fighter: Yerba Mate’s potent extract has shown the ability to deactivate E. Coli bacteria and inhibit the growth of Malassezia Furfur, a fungus responsible for flaky skin, dandruff, and rashes.



Debunking Yerba Mate’s Myths


Myth #1: Yerba Mate causes cancer

Misconceptions surrounding Yerba Mate causing cancer primarily centre around throat cancer. However, it’s essential to understand that studies linking hot drink consumption to throat cancer apply to all beverages, including coffee and other hot drinks.

In fact, Yerba Mate proves to be a formidable ally against most cancers, thanks to its rich reservoir of antioxidants and beneficial compounds, particularly effective in countering colon cancer.

To fully appreciate Yerba Mate’s benefits and avoid any risks, it’s crucial to consume it at hot but not scalding temperatures. Proper preparation and serving mate at a comfortable drinking temperature ensures a satisfying experience without burning your mouth or compromising the Yerba’s delightful taste.



Myth #2: Yerba mate leaves contain carcinogens

Another prevalent myth is that it contains cancer-causing carcinogens, surrounding polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Similar to coffee and grilled meats, Yerba Mate does contain a small amount of PAHs, which develop during the drying process that involves smoking the leaves and stems.

However, there’s no need for undue worry today. Our Yerba Mate is roasted to assure minimised PAH levels so the risk of PAH exposure should be negligible.



In essence, yerba mate has its own set of virtues that can make it a beneficial addition to your beverage lineup, offering more than just a caffeine kick. For further health benefits and possible side effects, check out our article about 7 Remarkable Health Benefits of Yerba Mate.

When To Be Cautious with Yerba Mate?

Much as Yerba Mate has a lot of health benefits to offer, it’s important to avoid consuming this herbal tea after 8 pm due to its diuretic effect, which could disrupt sleep.

Additionally, individuals with gastric issues should steer clear of this tea type because of its laxative effect, which may intensify pain. Moreover, due to its energising properties, medical experts advise against giving this beverage to children under the age of eight.



Coffee: Benefits Beyond Caffeine

Coffee, the world’s most beloved beverage, is not just a delightful pick-me-up; it also offers a range of health benefits. Let’s take a look at some of them:

1. Reduces the Risk of Heart Attacks: Contrary to concerns about caffeine and blood pressure, coffee consumption increases blood pressure but does not promote cardiovascular disease. In fact, it may help reduce the risk of heart attacks.

2. Combats Depression: A study conducted by Harvard University reveals that caffeine can have a positive impact on reducing depression. Participants who drank four or more cups of coffee daily had a notably lower risk of depression compared to those who consumed less than one cup per day. 

3. Fights Neurodegenerative Diseases: The caffeine in coffee plays a crucial role in reducing the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease by a remarkable 65% among regular consumers. It also demonstrates a 32-60% lower risk of Parkinson’s disease.

4. Energy Booster: Infused with caffeine, coffee serves as a potent central nervous system stimulant renowned for its ability to combat fatigue and enhance energy levels. 

5. Liver Guardian: One study revealed that individuals with liver disease who consumed more than two cups of coffee daily exhibited lower rates of liver scarring and liver cancer. Other research also demonstrated that consuming four cups per day is linked to a significant 71% lower risk.

When to Be Cautious with Coffee?

While coffee offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to consume it in moderation. Excessive intake can lead to insomnia and mental fatigue due to its impact on brain chemistry. 

Drinking coffee on an empty stomach may trigger acid production, leading to mild discomfort in the short term and more severe issues over time.

3. Yerba Mate and Coffee: The Art of Preparing 

Coffee and Yerba Mate offer not just a delightful sip but also a unique and enjoyable preparation process. The preparation showcases not just the flavours they hold but also the rich cultural traditions they embody.

While coffee enthusiasts revel in the art of brewing the perfect cup, Yerba Mate aficionados also embark on a journey of exploration with a diverse range of tools and brewing techniques.

Coffee Making: A Ritual

For coffee lovers, the process of making their favourite brew is an integral part of the enjoyment. From selecting the finest coffee beans to grinding them just right, the anticipation builds with each step. The rich aroma that fills the room as hot water meets the freshly ground coffee is a sensory delight that invigorates the soul.

Coffee offers versatility in brewing methods. Whether using a classic drip brewer, a French press for a robust taste, or the delicate art of pour-over for a more refined flavour, the options are endless. Each brewing method imparts its unique touch to the cup, giving coffee enthusiasts a chance to tailor their experience to their liking.

Yerba Mate: An Excursion

Just like coffee, Yerba Mate has a devoted following that relishes the preparation process. This traditional South American herbal tea, requires special tools such as the gourd (calabash) and the bombilla (straw with a filter) for the brewing ritual. This ceremonial aspect adds a touch of elegance to the experience.

Traditionalists may opt for the classic method of arranging the leaves in the gourd and savouring the unique flavours through the bombilla. Others may prefer the convenience of mate tea infuser. For further information, check out our Yerba Mate 101: Must-Have Tools and Brewing Techniques 

So Coffee Or Yerba Mate?

Each beverage has its particularity and taste. It will be up to you which one you choose for your well-being and lifestyle. If you have an emotional bond with your espresso machine or consider coffee a fundamental part of your identity, then just go for it!

For us, Yerba Mate stands out as an energising beverage without the typical coffee crash. Its plethora of cancer-fighting antioxidants, vitamins and minerals makes it a delightful and healthful choice. On top of that, there are also lots of recipes that you can try out and get creative with Yerba Mate! Check out our article about 7 Yerba Mate Recipes to Energise Your Day!

However, the enjoyment of beverages should not solely revolve around their benefits or taste; it should also encompass the experience and appreciation of their cultural significance!

Maybe you want to reduce your coffee consumption. Maybe you’ve experienced caffeine-related issues from coffee. Maybe hot tea just isn’t doing it for you anymore. If you’re seeking a healthier alternative to coffee without compromising on flavour or energy, Yerba Mate could be your new go-to drink!

A cup of butterfly pea tea a day keeps the doctor away. Communication and Media Student. I cook, dance, travel and watch a lot of films and musicals.

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