Yerba Mate Guide
Which to Buy?
Loose Leaf vs Powder vs Extract

Which yerba mate product is the best to buy, loose leaf, powder or extract?

If you are looking for an alternative to tea and coffee, then this beverage should be high on your list.

All tea beverages are energy boosters, but yerba mate may be the most powerful of all. It contains significant amount of caffeine, but is less likely than coffee to give you the jitters.

Also, it hosts significant health benefits by protecting your heart and providing antioxidants. Although it may contain less health benefits than green tea, if you need something more caffeinated, it is healthier than coffee.

Best of all, this beverage has been widely consumed in South America for hundreds of years. There is very little that goes go wrong if you drink in moderation and follow proper guidelines to minimize any side effects.

How to Buy

It is sold in three different forms:

  • Dried and loose leaves that are meant to brewed and drunk as a tea.

  • Ground into powder that are meant to drunk as a beverage.

  • Made into capsules or liquid extract.

What are the advantages of each form? Let's take a look at each type of product to see what we can find out.

Loose Leaf

Loose leaf mate is simply the dried leaves (and sometimes stems) of the plant.

In many parts of South America, tea brewed from loose leaf is consumed frequently, much as the British drink tea or Americans drink soft drinks.

While loose leaf mate is traditionally consumed in a hollow vegetable gourd through a metal straw with a sieve on the end, you could just as easily brew it using an mesh infuser intended for tea or using a french press.

It is also sold in tea bag form.



Loose leaf mate is also ground into powder, which may be standardized to ensure it contains a set amount of caffeine.

If you like your mate tea concentrated and caffeinated. powder may be a good option.

You may also mix the powder with other beverages such as milk.




Yerba Mate tastes faintly smoky, bright, and almost grassy (in a good way), and it may not be everyone's cups of tea.

Consuming it in the form of capsule or liquid extract is convenienient but given the additional chemical processing required, may not be worth it.

The main disadvantage is that unless you have researched the brand beforehand, there is no way to tell a high-quality product from a low-quality product.

As with all dietary supplements, there is a risk that the yerba mate powder in the capsules could be adulterated.

If the adulterants are harmless and inactive, you have wasted your money on a product that is less effective than it should be. If the adulterants are harmful (in one isolated case, the product was adulterated with poisonous belladonna leaves), you could become ill.

When you drink it, you can stop as soon as you feel like you have had enough. However, when you take capsules, you could potentially end up accidentally taking more than you need, resulting in caffeine-related side effects.

Make sure you purchase mate extract from a trusted source that has their product tested!

Related Articles on Yerba Mate

Health Benefits - More Antioxidants Than Green Tea?

Six benefits you should understand. Does it contain more antioxidants than green tea? Why it is too early to draw certain conclusions.

Weight Loss - Does It Work?

Can drinking this beverage help you shed pounds? A look at the science behind yerba mate weight loss.

Side Effects - Caffeine, Cancer and Pregnancy Risks

Important information about side effects. How much caffeine does yerba mate have? Are there any dangers relating to pregnancy and cancer?

History - Guarani, Jesuits and Three Types Explained

Learn more about this beverage history and legends! Who discovered it, and how did it become South America's favorite beverage?

New! Comments: Like This Story? Leave A Comment!

Back to Top of Yerba Mate

Back to Herbal Tea Main Page

Back to Amazing Green Tea Home

Amazing Green Tea

The definitive guide to Gourmet Tea and healthy drinks
Tea Alert: Want green tea that looks good, taste good and feel good? Check out my top three recommendations!