The 600 Year History Of Yerba Mate

The 600 Year History Of Yerba Mate

Yerba mate is a traditional South American drink that has been enjoyed for hundreds of years. It’s brewed hot from the dried leaves of the yerba mate plant. Yerba mate is known for its energizing and health benefits, as well as its unique earthy flavor.

In this article, we will explore the fascinating history of yerba mate, its cultural importance to the people of South America and where we see it going in the future.

The Origins of Yerba Mate

Yerba mate has a rich history that dates back to at least the 1500s to the indigenous Guarani people of Paraguay and Brazil. The Guarani used the leaves of the yerba mate plant to make tea-like beverages, which they believed had medicinal properties. According to legend, the Guarani received the yerba mate plant as a gift from the gods and considered it to be a sacred plant.

The consumption of yerba mate was an integral part of the Guarani's social and cultural practices. Yerba mate was often consumed during communal gatherings and ceremonies, such as weddings and funerals. The Guarani also used yerba mate for its medicinal properties, believing it to have a range of health benefits, including aiding digestion and providing energy.

The Spread of Yerba Mate

During the 16th century, Spanish settlers in South America began to cultivate yerba mate and export it to Europe. Yerba mate quickly gained popularity in Europe and became a fashionable drink among the aristocracy. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Jesuit missionaries established yerba mate plantations throughout South America, which helped to spread its cultivation and use.

The Jesuits recognized the value of yerba mate to the Guarani and worked to promote its use among the indigenous people. They also developed new methods of cultivation and processing, which helped to improve the quality of yerba mate and increase its production. As yerba mate became increasingly popular throughout South America, it also became a symbol of national identity. Today, it is considered the national drink of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

Yerba Mate Today

Yerba mate continues to be an essential part of South American culture and is consumed by millions of people worldwide. It is commonly consumed in social settings, where people gather to share a gourd of yerba mate and pass it around. Yerba mate is also used in traditional medicine and is believed to have a number of health benefits, including boosting energy, aiding digestion, and reducing inflammation.

Yerba mate has also become quite popular among athletes, particularly South American soccer players. Lionel Messi posted an image of himself on Instagram drinking yerba mate the morning after his world cup victory with Argentina.

In recent years, yerba mate has gained popularity in other parts of the world, particularly in the United States and Europe. Many people are drawn to yerba mate's health benefits, unique flavor and the cultural experience that it provides.

Animate Yerba Mate

Traditionally, yerba mate is brewed in a gourd as a loose leaf tea and consumed through a filtered straw called a bombilla.  Animate Yerba Mate is lowering the barriers to yerba mate consumption in order to introduce more people to its magic. We’re doing this in two ways:

First, we source delicious unsmoked organic yerba mate from Brazil, ship it up to New Jersey and pack them into convenient plastic-free tea bags. Now as long as you have hot water and a mug, you can enjoy the amazing benefits of yerba mate without all the equipment.

Second, we’re blending yerba mate with other 100% organic ingredients to create some of the most delectable yerba mate tea blend you’ve ever had.  Our first blend is our 100% organic chai mate tea, with others coming very soon. 


Yerba mate has a fascinating history that reflects the cultural and social practices of the indigenous Guarani people of South America. From its medicinal properties to the unique flavor and cultural experience that it provides, yerba mate has a rich and complex history that Animate Yerba Mate helps to celebrate today.

Whether you are looking for a smooth energizing drink, a cultural experience or simply a tasty beverage, yerba mate is a drink that is well worth exploring.

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Our most popular Yerba Mate teas

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