Yerba Mate Tea in 5 Easy Steps

Yerba mate tea is a caffeinated herbal infusion since it is one of the few plants that naturally produce caffeine. Whether making it hot or cold, yerba mate is a great herbal alternative to coffee.

How to Make Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate Tea

Yerba mate is an herbal tea made of the leaves and twigs of the yerba mate plant steeped in water.

Traditionally, yerba mate is drunk from a mate, or gourd, with a bombilla, which is a particular kind of straw. I make mine in a teapot and pour the drink into a cup.

  • There’s caffeine in yerba mate tea, unlike most herbal teas.
  • Has a strong, distinctive flavor.
  • Both the plant and the drink originated in South America.
  • Yerba mate is thought to have more antioxidants than green tea, making it a nutrient powerhouse.

RELATED: Sparkling Hibiscus Yerba Mate

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Brewing Guide

2 teaspoons loose yerba mate tea
WATER: 1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
STEEP TIME: 5 minutes

TEA: 2 teaspoons loose yerba mate tea
WATER: 1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
STEEP TIME: 15 seconds

My Yerba Mate Pick:

Questions You May Have

What does yerba mate tea taste like?
Yerba mate has a strong, earthy flavor that has an herbal aroma. It can also be slightly bitter, so the unusual flavor is definitely something that you have to get used to.

Is there caffeine?
Yes, yerba mate naturally contains caffeine. In fact, it has nearly as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.

Are there any calories?
There are no calories in yerba mate.

Is yerba mate good for you?
The drink was initially consumed for wellness because of its antioxidant properties which have been confirmed since then by scientific studies.

Loose tea, tea sachets, or tea bags?
For the best quality yerba mate, use loose tea. Tea sachets are next best, followed by tea bags which are the lowest quality. 

Is yerba mate a real tea?
Yerba mate tea isn’t a real tea since it’s an herbal tea. To be a real tea, it needs to come from the camellia sinensis plant like black or green tea.

RELATED: 5 Easy Steps to Make Herbal Tea Properly

Yerba Mate Tips

  • You don’t need a gourd to enjoy this tea properly. A teapot and cup do the job just as well.
  • Buy yerba mate in small portions. It doesn’t go bad but the herbs do go stale over time, so buying smaller amounts will help maintain its flavor.
  • Yerba mate tastes great when it’s sweetened with a bit of sugar and brightened up with lemon. Try my yerba mate with lemon recipe.

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Yerba Mate Ingredients

What You’ll Need

Yerba Mate in 5 Easy Steps

How to Make It

STEP 1: Heat water.

For yerba mate, you don’t want boiling hot water. Water that’s between 160°F and 180°F is best and I set mine to 165°F.

Heat water just until you start to see little bubbles forming. Turn off the heat.

Good quality water is an important part of making any kind of tea, so instead of just boiling tap water, use filtered water. An electric kettle with a temperature setting is the easiest way to boil water. 

Don’t forget to heat some extra water to use for warming up the teapot.

RELATED: Best Water Filters for Tea

STEP 2: Warm up teapot.

Warm up the teapot by pouring some of the boiled water into a teapot. Swirl the water around and then throw the water out.

This step is important to help make sure that the temperature of the boiled water doesn’t drop while the tea is brewing.

RELATED: How to Make Hibiscus Tea Properly

How to Make Yerba Mate in 5 Easy Steps

STEP 3: Put yerba mate into teapot and add hot water.

You’ll need 2 teaspoons of loose yerba mate for every cup of water.

How to Make Hot Yerba Mate

STEP 4: Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.

To keep the water hot, don’t forget to keep the teapot covered.

Yerba Mate Tea

STEP 5: Strain yerba mate leaves and pour hot tea into a teacup.

Now you’ve got yourself a nice, energizing cup of yerba mate.

If you want to sweeten your drink, add sugar, honey, or even date syrup.

RELATED: How to Make Rooibos Tea Properly

Step-by-Step Yerba Mate

How to Make Iced Yerba Mate Tea

Cold brewing is the best method for making iced tea. It tastes so much better than iced tea made other ways.

It’s super quick and easy to make cold brewed yerba mate. Other cold brewed teas take 12 hours, but with yerba mate, it only tastes seconds!

RELATED: 30 Refreshing Iced Tea Recipes

Easy Cold Brewed Yerba Mate

STEP 1: Put yerba mate and cold water in an airtight glass container.

Cold brewed yerba mate tea uses the same ratio as making hot tea, so it’s still 2 teaspoons of yerba mate for every cup of water.

Combine yerba mate into an airtight container with cold filtered water. Just like with hot tea, filtered water makes for the best cold brewed tea.

(I’m using this glass container and with a plastic lid.)

Iced Yerba Mate

STEP 2: Cover container and shake for 15 seconds.

Make sure the lid is on securely so that liquid doesn’t go flying around the kitchen when you shake.

Cold Brewed Yerba Mate

After shaking, you’ll see the color difference in the water.

Iced Yerba Mate

STEP 3: Strain yerba mate tea leaves and pour tea into a cup with ice.

There are a lot of small bits so use a strainer to filter out the tea leaves.

There will still be little particles of yerba mate leaves in your cup after you strain and that’s perfectly fine to drink.

Yerba mate tea isn’t usually sweetened, but if you want to it’s best to use simple syrup (half water, half sugar). It incorporates into iced tea the easiest.

Simple syrup is easy to make. Just mix sugar and hot water in equal parts until the sugar dissolves.

How to Make Yerba Mate Hot and Iced
Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate

Yield: Makes 1 serving

How to make yerba mate, hot and iced.


  1. Heat water.
    Don't use boiling hot water for yerba mate. Heat water to where it just starts to simmer. Turn off heat.
    If using an electric kettle with temperature setting, set it to 165°F.
    (Filtered water is best.)
  2. Warm up teapot.
    Pour some hot water into the teapot and swirl it around a bit to warm it up. Discard the water.
  3. Put yerba mate into teapot and add hot water.
  4. Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.
  5. Strain yerba mate leaves and pour hot tea into a teacup.


To make cold brew iced yerba mate:

  1. Put yerba mate and cold water in an airtight glass container.
    (Filtered water is best.)
  2. Cover container and shake for 15 seconds.
  3. Strain yerba mate tea leaves and pour tea into a cup with ice.

To sweeten your tea:

If you want to sweeten your yerba mate, use simple syrup.

You can easily make simple sugar at home by mixing equal parts sugar (or honey, date syrup, or brown sugar) and hot water until the sugar dissolves.

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