One herbal tea that I rarely see reviewed on steepster is yerba mate. Perhaps the taste of yerba is so radically different from actual tea that most people just don’t drink much of it.
Anyway, before I started drinking tea, I drank a lot of yerba. I was introduced to the fantastic beverage by an Argentinian counselor at a spanish camp I attended in Bemidji, Minnesota. The counselors and the campers would often drink a round of yerba (as is customary in many Latin American countries) during the day to enjoy each others company and feel the soothing and uniting effects of the yerba.
I tried all types of different brands of yerba during this time, canarias, cruz de malta, rosamonte, amanda, la hoja, taragui, la merced, guayaki, etc. In particular, I enjoyed cruz de malta and rosamonte.
I also found a site called aviva. Whereas most yerba is grown on farms, aviva’s main yerba mate product is harvested from the forest where it grows in the shade. This gives it a much smoother taste without as much of an aftertaste that most people do not enjoy when they first try yerba.
Recently Aviva also began selling this product that I am reviewing today, an unsmoked yerba mate. In the traditional preparation of yerba mate it is typically exposed to some smoke and fire while deactivating the enzymes. In this one though they avoid that exposure giving this yerba a much less smoky taste and also a smaller after taste. It still has a very grassy taste like all yerba, but the flavor is more consistent and smooth.
I typically steep my yerba in a traditional gourd because I think it has the best taste. In a gourd I can typically resteep my yerba 15-20 times before it loses most of the flavor.