Yerba Mate Tea in 5 Easy Steps

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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.

Yerba mate tea in a mug

Yerba Mate Tea

  • Yerba mate is an herbal tea made up of leaves and twigs of the yerba mate plant steeped in water.
  • Traditionally, yerba mate is served in 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.
  • It 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

Yerba Mate Brewing Guide

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

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

RELATED: 5 Easy Steps to Make Herbal Tea Properly




My Yerba Mate Pick:

Yerba Mate

Photo Credit:

100% yerba mate from Argentina with nothing else added.
Hot yerba mate tea

How to Make Hot Yerba Mate

STEP 1: Heat water.

To make yerba mate, you don’t want boiling hot water. Simmered water that’s between 160°F and 180°F is best.

Heat water just until you start to see little bubbles form. 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.

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.

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

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.

STEP 4: Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.

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

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.

Iced yerba mate

How to Make It Iced

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

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 and cold filtered water in an airtight container or a cocktail shaker. Just like with hot tea, filtered water makes for the best cold brewed tea. (I’m using this glass container with a plastic lid.)

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.


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How to Make Yerba Mate

Author: Jee Choe
Get step-by-step directions on how to make this caffeinated herbal tea.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 mins
Steep Time 5 mins
Total Time 7 mins
Course Drinks
Yield1 serving



  • 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.
  • Warm up teapot.
    Pour some hot water into a teapot and swirl it around a bit. Discard the water.
  • Put yerba mate into teapot and add hot water.
  • Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.
  • Strain yerba mate leaves and pour hot tea into a teacup.


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 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.
Keyword cold brewed yerba mate tea, iced yerba mate tea, yerba mate
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