Curious about Mate
I want to try this! I hear that it wakes you up without the caffeine jitters? Anyone tried Morning Thunder by Celestial Seasonings? When I can make it into town to Teavana, I’ve heard their Mate Van is really good. Any words of wisdom about Mate? Educate me please:)
I saw a news article a long time about yerba mate causing cancer.
There have also been reports that both tea and coffee cause cancer, too. I think it has more to do with people drinking beverages at scolding hot temperatures, as the risk of cancer decreases with temperature.
Yeah I’ve heard that but this was specific to yerba mate.
Is there more information about this? Like, what’s the news article you saw this in?
Yikes! Is Yerba Mate the only kind, or is that just a type of mate? Need to google this I guess.
Yerba Mate is the long name. Mate is the short name. It’s the same nasty, bitter plant.
I’ve tried Morning Thunder; don’t know that I noticed a measurable difference in the wake-up factor compared to regular stiff black tea.
Bah. The studies so far are pretty inconclusive. They can’t control for alcohol and tobacco very well, since so much of what people consume is homemade (and shared among social circles).
Even the folks who say mate causes cancer admit that they’ve only studied it in folks who drink a liter or more a day. Having a cup or two occassionally won’t hurt you any more than than talking on your cellphone, driving your car, or riding in an airplane.
That said, some of the mates that I’ve tried have a smoky aftertaste that I’m not fond of. The exception is Teavana’s Raspberry Riot which is EXCELLENT (but I am a BIG FAN of fruit tisanes).
Good point! Will have to check out the Raspberry Riot.
I used to drink Morning Thunder every few months for a week at a time because my best friend’s mother (who I greatly admired) drank it. I thought it tasted nasty but I valiantly drank it until I couldn’t bear it anymore. If only I’d known then what I know now: Tea is for fun and if it’s not fun, I shouldn’t do it.
Amen to the “tea should be fun”…I find myself drinking stuff that really is pretty nasty, just because, confound it, I spent money on it and can’t bear to waste it!
Mate can also been drunk cold and sweetened, like a soft drink. I’ve seen several different kinds for sale in my local natural food store (Sol Mate is an example). So that might be worth a shot too.
Mate is one of those weird things you gotta push yourself through.
On its own it’s….eh. If you do it in a gourd, it’s really fun to drink.
I make mine in a french press usually. Kinda nasty, but you get used to it. I’ll generally add some sugar to the first cup, so my tongue can get used to the taste, then I drink the rest straight. It can be enjoyable eventually.
As for the cancer scare -
Is there any data showing people in Argentina and other South American countries, where mate is widely drunk, having higher cancer rates than countries where it is drunk less? Though there a lot of variables in that, it would be somewhat persuasive.
That’s what the articles that I read based their data on – people who drink mate in the S. American countries. You’re right, there are a lot of variables, and the studies have been criticized for not adequately accounting for the effects of alcohol and tobacco (which is difficult to do, since they don’t use commercial products like we do, so the amount of carcinogenic substance used/consumed isn’t easily calculated).
Oh, I though the studies mentioned were based on some controlled experiments… I guess that would be harder to do, though, seeing as it would take years of watching two (or more) groups of people, and recording their cancer rates.
Yah, I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of a study where they told people “drink 8 oz of X a day for 10 years”. Generally they’re observational studies ("how much do you consume? What else do you consume [that we know to be cancer causing]? etc).
You can do controlled experiments on animals, but it’s hard to tell how representative that is.
Yeah, plus animals can’t even brew their own mate!
You don’t see rats boiling water or working French presses.
I guess there’s no way to tell.
I like the Teavana Samauri Chai mate… they’ve got this one blend with it that they’ve been pushing in their stores lately, and I really like it.
Should point out that there are a couple of different types of mate. You can get green mate, which is kind of vegetal and similar to a vegetal green tea or roasted mate which is a bit more like black tea with a slight vegetal aftertaste. We have made blends with both, most recently our Chocolate Malt flavored roasted mate with real organic cacao nibs and all natural dark chocolate and malt flavors. (That is our tea of the week this week, if you are interested: http://www.52teas.com)
The first mate I ever tried was the green mate, and I remember enjoying it and looking up and having a serious wow moment. I drink so much tea and have for so long, I honestly don’t think the caffeine has any effect on me. But with this mate, I looked up and it seemed that everything around me was just suddenly in much sharper focus. I had been having kind of a sleepy day, but whatever sleepiness I had was GONE. Anyway, that has been my experience with it.
One point on the safety issue, this is a beverage that has been consumed for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years by the peoples of South America. We gathered quite a bit of information and several good links to post with our first mate blend, so if you are interested in reading more about mate, I would suggest checking out our post (and the links within it) here: http://www.52teas.com/2008/12/14/121408-stars-vanilla-mate/
That particular blend sold out a long time ago, and probably won’t be reblended, but the information there is good.