From robust, full-bodied, and muscular, to soft, gentle, and light, there’s a yerba mate strength for everyone. But what do I mean by “strength”? Well, today we’ll discuss strength in terms of effects, both mental and physiological—how yerba mate affects the mind and body. Though, many a seasoned mate drinkers have come to know that there’s a correlation between strength, in terms of taste and body, with mental and physical effects too.
Below, I’ll offer my totally subjective list on yerba mate strengths based on over 6 years of intimately studying dozens of yerba mate brands from Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay. Throughout these years, I’ve kept meticulous notes on how most of these brands made me feel, recording what effects they had on my body and mind throughout the day, while I gladly enjoyed mate in my gourd.
It should be said, on a scientific note, that mates with more palos (white stems) usually have less stimulating effects, since caffeine, the principal stimulating compound found in mate, is concentrated in the leaves, with little to none in the stems. Other factors such as time of year the mate is harvested also has an effect on the stimulating properties: in the summer months, mate grown in direct sunlight usually produces higher levels of stimulating chemicals; in winter, the opposite occurs, making for a lighter mate. Mate grown in partial to full shade usually has lighter stimulating effects; though, what’s lost in stimulation is usually made up for with a more fruity, floral taste profile.
Unfortunately, at this point, most producers don’t specify what season the mate was harvested in—though, through deduction, you may be able to ballpark it based upon the date the mate was packaged, which is usually stated on the labels of traditional South American brands.
Nevertheless, each body will respond differently to each brand listed. Some may find the strongest effects from some of the mates listed in the weak column, and vice versa. Nothing is categorical, but approximated based upon personal experience. I hope this list helps you select the strength of mate you’re seeking.
And keep in mind, when I use the term “weak” I’m not meaning ineffective, only less pronounced stimulating effects. All the mates listed are relatively popular, with loyal followings, offering a wide range of complex flavors and depths, irrespective of stimulating properties.
Below this article you’ll find a yerba mate strength guide. Feel free to download and share it. It’s for you to keep. To download guide, right-click the link or image and select “save” to your computer. Salud!