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What Does Yerba Mate Taste Like?
The flavor of yerba mate
Yerba mate, a South American herb related to the holly whose leaves are drunk much like tea elsewhere, has a taste different from tea, even green tea.
Here's how I would describe the flavor of yerba mate:
- strong and pungent, especially if prepared in the traditional fashion from the gourd and straw
- somewhat earthy, not completely unlike green pu-erh tea
- a slightly camphor/eucalyptus smell and taste (like Vicks)
- bitter, but not very astringent if prepared similar to tea
Yerba mate has quite a bit of caffeine--more than tea, but less than coffee--so it can be addictive (I'm speaking from personal experience...).
It also comes in tiny broken pieces of the leaf, so in hot water, it doesn't take long to steep. I typically steep a couple of teaspoons in almost-boiling water for about 30 seconds, while I usually steep tea for at least 3 minutes.