Let’s talk about tea. We all heard about green tea, the health benefits it brings, and the caffeine kick that’s often a great alternative to coffee. But things get a bit interesting when you put yerba mate and matcha in the same sentence.

Both of these teas offer a unique twist on the typical tea experience. And with the increasing trend of mixing up drinks, like Yerba Mate Kombucha, the question is: Yerba mate vs matcha, which one’s your cup of tea?

yerba mate vs matcha - Tea cup in front of the mountains

What Is Yerba Mate Tea?

traditional yerba mate tea

First, let’s sip on some knowledge about yerba mate. This tea, native to South America, is often associated with the term “mate tea.” It’s not your typical green tea.

In fact, it’s not even made from the same plant. Yerba mate is made from the branches and leaves of the plant called: Ilex paraguariensis.

When you think of a cup of yerba mate, you might picture it served traditionally with a metal straw from a carved gourd. The taste of yerba mate can be one you have to get used to at first, being very different from other teas.

The dried leaves and twigs are steeped to create this infusion. Yerba mate contains caffeine, so if you’re looking for an energy boost without the jitters of black tea or coffee, mate might just be your go-to.

What Is Matcha Tea?

modern matcha tea cup

Now, let’s talk about matcha. Matcha is a type of green tea, but it’s not your usual leaf tea. It’s made from the leaves of the plant called: camellia sinensis.

When you consume matcha, you’re not just consuming the leaves; you’re consuming the entire matcha powder green tea leaf. That’s where matcha gets its vibrant, bright green color.

The properties of matcha are many. It’s rich in antioxidants, and matcha contains the amino acid L-theanine, which works together with caffeine to provide an alert calmness without those jitters.

If you’re wondering about the caffeine content, matcha does have slightly more caffeine than yerba mate but less than coffee.

So, with yerba mate vs matcha, we’ve covered the basics: Yerba mate is an infusion from South America, while matcha is a powdered green tea from Japan.

Both are excellent sources of caffeine, but their benefits and differences don’t stop there. Next, we’ll go deep into the similarities and differences of these amazing teas. 

8 Important Differences Between Yerba Mate vs Matcha Green Tea

So what’s the difference between mate and matcha tea? When it comes to flavorful and refreshing beverages with numerous health benefits, two teas stand out: yerba mate and matcha.

While they may seem similar to the untrained eye or palate, a deeper look reveals stark differences between the two in their origins, taste, nutritional value, and even in the way they’re consumed. Here’s a detailed comparison between yerba mate and matcha.

1. Origin

Matcha’s roots can be traced back to China, but its true cultural and ceremonial identity was given in Japan. Introduced by a Zen monk in 1191, this green powdered tea became an integral part of Japanese tea ceremonies.

On the other hand, yerba mate stems from the tropical rainforests of Brazil and Paraguay in South America. Originally consumed as a ritual drink by the ancient Guarani Tribes, its popularity soared when Jesuit priests recognized its potential as a social beverage. 

In essence, while matcha represents the Zen spirit and artistry of Japanese culture, yerba mate encapsulates the communal bond and vibrant energy of South American traditions. Both beverages, despite originating from entirely different continents, hold deep cultural significance and have ritualistic roots that shape the social fabric of their respective societies.

2. Taste & Form

Matcha is made out of green tea leaves crushed into a fine powder, giving it a vibrantly green look. Its taste is a blend of sweet vegetal notes with a tinge of astringency, making it a favorite in both beverages and culinary creations. 

On the other hand, mate is derived from the dried leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis tree. Its taste leans towards astringent bitterness due to the high tannin content and the retention of veins and stems. This strong, woody flavor often leads drinkers to add sweeteners.

Additionally, while matcha’s finely ground texture allows for a smooth blend in various recipes, mate’s appears more naturally, typically steeped and strained. The unique complexities of their flavors make both matcha and mate acquired tastes, with enthusiasts often developing a deep appreciation over time.

3. Preparation

Matcha is versatile. While you traditionally prepare matcha by putting the powder in hot water, it’s also a sought-after ingredient in lattes, baked goods, and smoothies. Mate stays true to its roots. Dried leaves are steeped in hot water inside a hollow gourd, and the resultant beverage is consumed through a bombilla, a traditional metal straw. 

Mate’s preparation is deeply tied to South American culture, emphasizing social connection and shared experiences. The act of passing the gourd in a circle among friends and family is a symbol of community and hospitality. 

Meanwhile, matcha’s diverse applications reflect its adaptability and rising global popularity, as it seamlessly integrates into both traditional and contemporary culinary landscapes.

4. Nutritional Facts

When you’re discussing tea and diving into the debate of “yerba mate vs matcha,” the nutritional facts are bound to pop up. Both of these drinks pack a punch in terms of health benefits, so let’s break it down.

With its bright green color, Matcha green tea isn’t just a treat for the eyes. This powdered green tea is a nutritional dynamo. Imagine a cup that’s a mix of vitamins like C, vital minerals such as zinc and potassium, and, of course, caffeine – but not just any caffeine.

Quality Matcha contains the amino acid L-theanine, which, together with caffeine, offers a calm and sustained energy boost, an alternative to coffee, if you will. Its high antioxidant content, including catechins and chlorophyll, makes matcha an excellent choice for those looking for health benefits in their cup. It’s worth noting that the bright green powder you see is a testament to its rich nutrient profile, especially if you’re sipping on ceremonial grade matcha.

Now, if we’re talking about yerba mate or matcha as a tea choice, you’ll find that mate has its own set of health benefits. Native to South America, this traditional tea made from the leaves and twigs of its plant is more than just a drink. Yerba mate tea is a fusion of amino acids, antioxidants, and stimulants like theophylline and theobromine.

Another cool fact? If you’re watching your caloric intake, you might choose yerba mate. This drink is low in calories, helping with weight management. Mate does not contain L-theanine like matcha, but its unique components make it a great source of caffeine and energy boost, slightly different but just as potent.

5. Caffeine Content

When it comes to caffeine, both matcha and yerba mate are go-to choices for many looking for a pick-me-up. A cup of matcha tea has roughly 75mg of caffeine (8 fl. oz serving). But here’s the cool part about matcha: it’s not just about the caffeine.

Matcha green tea also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which, when paired with caffeine, gives you a calm, sustained energy. So, while you’re getting that energy boost, you’re less likely to experience the jitters you might with other caffeine sources.

On the flip side, yerba mate is also pretty charged up. An 8 fl. oz serving of yerba mate tea has about 80mg of caffeine. You might’ve heard the term ‘mateine’ being thrown around when talking about the caffeine in a mate. Some say it’s a different form of caffeine, while others argue they’re one and the same.

What is the difference between yerba mate and other sources of caffeine? The jury’s still out, but what’s clear is that mate is a reliable source of caffeine, like matcha, offering a similar energy kick. Whether it’s matcha or yerba mate, you’re getting a solid alternative to coffee with great health benefits.

6. Antioxidants 

Let’s chat antioxidants, and boy, both matcha and yerba mate have some bragging rights. Starting with matcha green tea, it’s an antioxidant bomb. Dive deep into its bright green color, and you will find it bursting with an impressive ORAC value.

Not sure what ORAC is? It’s just a fancy way to say it’s super good at fighting free radicals. But the real show-stealer in matcha’s antioxidant line-up is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Besides having a name that’s a mouthful, EGCG is known for perks like cranking up your metabolism and stopping bacterial growth. So, drinking matcha is like giving your body a little superhero team.

Now, don’t let yerba mate feel left out. It’s packing some serious antioxidant punch too. While matcha is an excellent choice for EGCGs, yerba mate is showing off with Chlorogenic Acid. This isn’t just any old antioxidant; Chlorogenic Acid is known for many health benefits. So when you sip on that cup of mate tea, you’re not just enjoying a traditional tea native to South America; you’re also soaking in some great health benefits.

In the antioxidants showdown of matcha vs yerba mate, it’s not really about who’s the winner. It’s about appreciating the unique benefits each brings to the table (or tea cup!). And hey, more antioxidants in our life? That’s always a win!

7. Energy Boosters 

Alright, if you’re looking for that pick-me-up, both matcha and mate are your mates (pun intended). Let’s break it down. When you drink matcha tea, you’re not just getting that caffeine kick. Oh no, it’s a two-punch combo with L-theanine jumping in.

What’s the big deal about that? Well, while caffeine gives you the boost, L-theanine calms you down. The result? You’re alert, your mood’s lifted, and your focus is sharp. Oh, and for those who love hitting the gym, matcha even helps prolong physical endurance. So, next time you’re feeling that mid-afternoon slump, you know matcha’s got your back.

Now, on to yerba mate. While it might not have L-theanine it’s all about increasing energy and saying a big “nope” to fatigue. So if you’re craving that energy lift without the jitters, a cup of mate tea might just be your new go-to.

8. Weight Loss

Need a little help in the weight loss department? Both matcha and mate are here to lend a hand. Matcha, with its wealth of EGCG, is not just content sitting pretty in a tea bowl. This powerhouse antioxidant helps in loosing fat, putting the brakes on fat accumulation, and revving up metabolism.

It’s like matcha’s telling your body, “Hey, let’s burn some extra calories!” And guess what? If you pair matcha with exercise, the fat-burning party just gets wilder.

Swinging over to yerba mate, it’s not just about the energy boost. It’s got some weight management tricks up its leaves and twigs. Yerba mate has a knack for reducing appetite and making digestion smoother.

So, if you’re looking to manage your weight, sipping on yerba mate might just be the boost you need. Mate and matcha are more than just teas – they’re your partners in the weight loss journey!

Which One is Better: Yerba Mate or Matcha?

In my view, both yerba mate and matcha bring unique benefits to the table. I noticed they seem to have similar caffeine contents, gentler than what you’d find in coffee. However, matcha seems to edge out with a higher antioxidant count.

Yerba mate impresses with its 196 active compounds, including a mix of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and stimulants. In contrast, matcha offers 144 active compounds. Since matcha is essentially ground green tea leaves, you’re getting more of those compounds as you’re consuming the entire leaf.

Each has distinct compounds – yerba mate offers chlorogenic acid, theobromine, and theophylline. In contrast, matcha offers unique elements like EGCG and L-Theanine.

Personally, I’ve found that matcha provides a balanced, calming effect with a bit of stimulation thanks to its caffeine and calming L-theanine. Yerba mate, on the other hand, offers a kind of joyful, euphoric stimulation.

I appreciate the versatility of matcha – it’s easy to mix into water, craft a latte, or even incorporate into desserts. However, I’m not particularly fond of matcha’s taste; yerba mate remains my preferred choice.

Yerba Mate vs Matcha: Final Words

When it comes to the battle of yerba mate vs matcha, it’s clear both these teas have a lot to offer. From their roots in traditional tea ceremonies to their bright green colors and their many health benefits, they won over tea lovers worldwide. While they stem from different corners of the globe, both have a lot to offer in terms of flavor and benefits.

Now, whether you’re a fan of ceremonial grade matcha or the earthy taste of yerba mate, you can’t deny the great health benefits of these teas. Both offer energy boosts without the crash of alternatives like coffee, and their rich antioxidant profiles are nothing to scoff at. And if you’re diving deep into the world of mate, make sure you don’t miss out on exploring the best yerba mate teas on the market.

In essence, whether you choose yerba mate or matcha or even decide to mix it up between the two, you’re in for a treat. Remember, it’s not about which is better but about finding the one that resonates with your taste and needs. So, sip on, explore, and enjoy the unique experiences each has to offer!

Similar Posts