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tea desire mint mate

January 6, 2010

This is my first experience with yerba mate. I have heard a lot of good things about this herbal tea. Yerba mate is very popular in its native South America, and is traditionally sipped from a hollowed out gourd with a special straining straw called a bombilla. It boasts a number of energy boosting properties: It contains theobromine (the feel-good chemical found  in chocolate), caffeine (the feel-good chemical found in Red Bull) and theophylline (a member of the xanthine family, similar to caffeine). I love a good dose of caffeine, and if I can find a healthier way of getting it, I’m game.I am excited to try it. This could be my new morning brew.

The blend I bought at Tea Desire contains yerba mate, spearmint and corn flowers. The aroma of the un-steeped tea was mostly minty, with a vegetal scent that is reminiscent of many green teas. Since I don’t yet have a thermometer or a kettle that heats water to exact temperatures, I was careful not to pour boiling water over the leaves. After the water started boiling, I left it for several minutes before I started the infusion.

The smell of the brewed mate is very similar to the dry form, but the mint seems a little more subtle, and the slightly green tea smell is still there, but without the “spinachy” aroma that accompanies many green teas.

The first sip is surprising, as I was expecting a stronger flavor from the mate, which is claimed to be very strong and grassy. I think these characteristics may have been masked by the mint. It has a very pleasant palate, the mint is refreshing, and the mate has a bright, almost lemony flavor. This is a gulp-able tea. I really enjoyed it, and I am looking forward to trying more yerba mate in the very near future.

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