The amount of caffeine in a glass of Yerba Mate is somewhere between tea and coffee. This can be a problem for some people who are sensitive to caffeine. The biggest brand of Yerba Mate in the US, Guayaki, doesn’t offer a low or decaffeinated Yerba Mate blend. To find our desired targets, we’ll have to venture off the beaten path and look at some lesser known Mate brands.
Low Caffeine Yerba Mate = Milder, Female Plants
According to Wikipedia, it’s the female Mate plants that we’re after if we want a relatively lower amount of caffeine in our glass of Yerba Mate:
The plant Ilex paraguariensis can vary in strength of the flavor, caffeine levels and other nutrients depending on whether it is a male or female plant. Female plants tend to be milder in flavor, and lower in caffeine. They are also relatively scarce in the areas where mate is planted and cultivated, not wild-harvested, compared to the male plants.
So although female plants are rare, we can try experimenting with Yerba Mate that is marketed as milder in flavor to curb the caffeine content.
Mild Varieties of Yerba Mate
Nativa 1-Pound Suave/Mild Blend is available at nativayerbamate.com
Paula from Nativa Yerba Mate had this to say about their blend:
The ‘Suave’ blend is achieved by using a higher percentage of female leaves than male leaves, which tend to be milder in flavor.
There aren’t any studies to indicate any difference in caffeine or other plant elements as a result. These levels seem to vary widely depending on the region it is grown; the wild-harvest forests tend to contain the least caffeine and most of the female trees. That is why Paraguayan/Argentinean mate is usually more bitter.
So searching for “wild harvest” Mate plants may be another way to source Yerba Mate that is lower in caffeine.
Yerba Mate Facts & Tips
- Don’t drink when it’s too hot. Allow Yerba Mate tea to sit until it’s cool so as to avoid burning your oral mucosa tissue. Yerba Mate, in conjunction with burning hot water, has been implicated in oral cancer in some studies.
- Yerba Mate may inhibit MAO-B enzymes. This MAO inhibition is part of what gives tobacco smokers euphoria and keeps them addicted (although nothing suggests that Yerba Mate is addictive).