Cold Brewed Yerba Mate

Cold-brewed yerba mate in a glass with ice

The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Prep: 2 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Steep: 12 hrs
Total: 12 hrs 2 mins
Serving: 1 to 2 servings
Yield: 1 to 2 drinks
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
0 Calories
0g Fat
0g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 to 2
Amount per serving
Calories 0
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 7mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 5mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 1mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This easy recipe for cold-brewed yerba mate brews in the fridge overnight. It can be enjoyed straight, mixed with honey, or made into a yerba mate smoothie in the morning. It is traditionally consumed in parts of South America, particularly Argentina, Bolivia, southern and central-western Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and southern Chile.

Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) is a species of the holly family that can grow up to 50 feet tall. The leaves are evergreen and are often called yerba (Spanish) or erva (Portuguese)—both of which mean "herb." The leaves contain caffeine and related xanthine alkaloids. When it's harvested, the branches are often dried by a wood fire, resulting in a smoky infusion of vegetables, herbs, and grasses; some people say it tastes a little like green tea. It varies in flavor, strength, caffeine levels, and other nutrients depending on whether it is a male or female plant; the latter tend to be milder in flavor and lower in caffeine. 

Flavored mate is also available, in which the mate leaves are blended with other herbs (such as peppermint) or citrus rind. In Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina, a toasted version of mate is sold in tea bags and in loose-leaf form. It is often served sweetened in specialized shops or on the street, either hot or iced, pure or with fruit juice (especially lime) or milk. In Argentina and southern Brazil, this drink is commonly consumed for breakfast or in a café for afternoon tea, often with a selection of sweet pastries. An iced, sweetened version of toasted mate is sold as an uncarbonated soft drink—with or without fruit flavoring. Yerba mate can also be found in various energy drinks on the market.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (1 cup) cool water

  • 1 tablespoon loose leaf yerba mate (or 2 tea bags)

  • 1 tablespoon honey, optional, or pineapple, orange, or lemon juice, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Cold Brewed Yerba Mate ingredients

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  2. Combine water and yerba mate in a glass or jar.

    Combine water and yerba mate in a glass

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  3. Cover with a lid, plastic wrap, or small saucer.

    Cover the jar with a lid

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  4. Leave it in the fridge overnight.

    Jar with yerba mate in the fridge

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  5. In the morning, strain the leaves or remove the tea bags.

    In the morning, strain the leaves

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

  6. Add honey to taste. Serve and enjoy.

    Cold brewed yerba mate with honey added

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

Tips

  • Some yerba mate leaves and stems are rather fine and will fall through the average mesh tea strainer. If you prefer a cleaner tea, use a micro-mesh strainer or loose leaf tea bag.
  • Make a larger amount of cold brew yerba mate and store it in the refrigerator for a few days. It's generally best with 1 tablespoon yerba mate for each cup of water.
  • Yerba mate can be very bitter if it's brewed at temperatures at 170 F or above; avoid using boiling water.

Recipe Variation

  • Rather than honey (or along with it), sweeten the yerba mate with lemon, orange, pineapple, or another type of juice. Start with 1/2 tablespoon and add more to taste.
  • Add herbs to the yerba mate for a boost of flavor. Chamomile, lemongrass, lemon verbena, mint, and rooibos are good choices. You can also add lemon or orange peel.
  • If you're short on time or want to try iced yerba mate with a deeper flavor, switch to the hot brew method: Use twice the amount of yerba mate (typically 2 tablespoons) per cup of water and heat the water to 170 F. Steep for 4 to 6 minutes before straining. Let it cool in the refrigerator or add a few ice cubes for an instant chill, then serve with more ice and sweeten as desired.


How Much Caffeine Is in Yerba Mate?

Yerba mate's caffeine content can vary, but generally it has less caffeine than coffee and slightly higher than most types of green tea. At about 85 milligrams of caffeine per cup, it falls in the range of Assam black tea and can provide a moderate energy boost.

What Are the Health Benefits of Yerba Mate?

Like many naturally-derived beverages, including tea and herbal tisanes, there are many claims to yerba mate's health benefits. Research is ongoing, though studies have found that yerba mate may be beneficial to liver cells, the central nervous and cardiovascular systems, and possess anti-inflammatory properties. However, it is advised to avoid consuming excess yerba mate or very hot tea.

Article Sources
The Spruce Eats uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Lutomski, Piotr et al. Health Properties Of Yerba MateAnnals Of Agricultural And Environmental Medicine, vol 27, no. 2, 2020, pp. 310-313. Institute Of Rural Health, doi:10.26444/aaem/119994