Yerba Mate Caffeine Content – All You Need to Know

Have you ever wondered how much caffeine is in yerba mate? Or how it compares to coffee and tea.

In this article, I will explain everything you need to know about yerba mate caffeine content and how it matches with coffee and tea.

Yerba mate tea is a drink traditionally consumed in South America. Nowadays it’s becoming more popular all over the world because of its refreshing taste and energizing effect.

Many people are also switching from drinking coffee into drinking yerba mate or replacing part of their coffee consumption with it. Read my article about yerba mate to learn more about the history and cultivation of this amazing plant.

If you just want to quickly compare the caffeine content between yerba mate tea, coffee, black tea, and green tea, take a look at the chart below:

Yerba mate caffeine content vs coffee and tea
Yerba mate caffeine content compared to coffee and tea

As you can see the caffeine content of yerba mate greatly depends on the brewing method. Of course, the same applies to coffee and tea as well.

There are also other factors that have an effect on the amount of caffeine. The type/brand of the product, and brewing time, to mention a few. Thus, the above chart presents the estimated averages per cup, not exact values that always apply.

Yerba Mate Gives You Energy

Yerba mate tea has a long history among South American athletes. Runners, surfers, football players, martial art practitioners, and many other athletes, as well as regular people, are consuming mate tea in order to feel more vibrant and energetic.

Today, yerba mate is available all over the world. Along with coffee and tea, it has become a favorite refreshment for many people.

Yerba Mate Contains Caffeine and Gives Energy

Athletes often boost their exercise by taking pre-workout supplements that contain stimulants. Some prefer just to drink a cup of coffee before starting to work out.

I like to drink yerba mate before doing sports because it gives me nice energy levels and focus, but doesn’t make me jittery or cause a sudden crash after the effect starts wearing off.

So why is it that yerba mate tea has a different effect compared to coffee? After all, both of them contain caffeine. We’ll get to that a bit later. But first, let’s take a closer look at how much caffeine there actually is in yerba mate.

Yerba Mate Caffeine Content

Yerba mate leaves contain a relatively high amount of caffeine. The caffeine level of an 8 ounce (0,24 liters) cup of yerba mate tea can range between 20mg and 180mg.

Maybe you’re wondering what is causing such a huge variation? The type of mate product, the amount you use, and the way you brew it, all have a significant effect on the caffeine level of your mate tea.

In general, yerba mate tea brewed with tea bags has the lowest level of caffeine, while mate brewed with the traditional method (gourd and bombilla) has much higher caffeine content.

According to a study from 2009, yerba mate brewed with 50 grams of loose-leaf mate and 500 ml (17 oz) of water had a caffeine content of about 380mg, which equals to about three cups of coffee.

yerba maate traditional way caffeine
Preparing yerba mate the traditional way produces a strong infusion with high caffeine concentration

These days many different types of yerba mate products are available. Yerba mate energy drinks can have very high amounts of caffeine and yerba mate energy shots can go even further in maximizing the level of caffeine.

Yerba Mate vs. Coffee

Dry yerba mate leaves usually contain between 1% to 1,5% of caffeine compared to about 3% for ground coffee.

A cup of yerba mate tea contains about 70 mg of caffeine on average, while a cup of coffee averages at 120 mg of caffeine. But as mentioned earlier, the caffeine concentration of mate tea can vary greatly.

In South America, yerba mate is almost exclusively consumed with the traditional method. According to my experience, in North America and Europe, it’s also common to use yerba mate tea bags or french press for brewing the tea. Therefore, the above mentioned average caffeine content of a cup of mate tea might not be the most suitable way of measuring.

A cup of coffee

So I mentioned earlier that the caffeine in mate tea seems to act differently compared to coffee. What do I mean by this? And how is it even possible?

If you drink too much coffee it can make you feel jittery and uncomfortable. Many people have noticed that yerba mate lacks these side effects entirely.

It has a stimulating and calming effect at the same time. This is caused by the fact that, in addition to caffeine, mate tea also has two other components that stimulate our central nervous system.

Yerba mate leaves contain theobromine, a stimulant that makes you feel good and is also found in chocolate. In addition, it contains theophylline, a stimulant that is said to give you mental energy and is present in green and black tea.

The combination of these three boosters (caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline) works together and creates an effect different from coffee.

Go ahead and watch this informative video that compares yerba mate and coffee:

Yerba Mate vs. Tea

Usually, a cup of yerba mate contains a much higher amount of caffeine compared to a cup of green tea. However, as explained earlier, this depends greatly on the brewing method of the mate tea.

One cup of green tea contains about 25 mg of caffeine. It is comparable to yerba mate tea brewed with a tea bag.

A cup of strong black tea has approximately 50 mg of caffeine. This is still much less than what yerba mate tea has on average.

Compared to tea, yerba mate is definitely a better energy booster due to its higher caffeine level.

Caffeine: yerba mate vs green tea

Get a Natural Energy Boost with Yerba Mate Tea

Some people may claim that yerba mate contains matteine which is different from caffeine. However, it seems that matteine is just a different term for caffeine.

The effects of yerba mate are truly different from other drinks that contain caffeine, but this is because it also contains two other stimulants: theobromine and theophylline.

Instead of drinking yerba mate tea, you can also use yerba mate capsules or other supplements. A have also put together an article with more information related to yerba mate extracts and supplements.

As a conclusion, we can say that yerba mate tea is a very refreshing and energizing drink that has relatively high caffeine content.

Yerba mate is also a healthy drink but you should still avoid consuming excessive amounts of it. Especially if you’re pregnant or sensitive to caffeine.

If you are planning on buying some mate tea, check out the review of this review article with 5 different yerba mate products. It will help you with choosing the right kind of product for your liking.

I hope you found this article useful. Post a comment in the comments section below and tell us about your experiences related to mate and its energizing effect and caffeine content.

Yerba Mate Caffeine Content FAQ

How much caffeine is in yerba mate?

Dry yerba mate leaves usually contain between 1% to 1,5% of caffeine. The caffeine content of yerba mate tea depends on the brewing method and varies between 20mg and 180mg per cup.

How much caffeine does yerba mate have compared to coffee?

A cup of yerba mate tea contains about 70 mg of caffeine on average, while a cup of coffee averages at 120 mg of caffeine. However, the caffeine concentration of both beverages can vary greatly depending on the type of product and brewing method.

How much caffeine does yerba mate have compared to black tea and green tea?

On average, a cup of green tea contains about 25 mg of caffeine while a cup of strong black tea has approximately 50 mg of caffeine. The caffeine content of one cup of yerba mate tea is about 70 mg (it depends on the brewing method). Compared to both green and black tea, yerba mate has more caffeine.

 

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12 thoughts on “Yerba Mate Caffeine Content – All You Need to Know”

  1. Hi, there.

    So, now I know why our yoga teacher actually suggested drinking a cup of Yerba Mate before meditation. Although I can only manage half a cup, I have to say it truly does help with mental clarity and focus.

    My husband says, that it has similar effects on him like the serotonin and dopamine in dark chocolate. Yerba Mate does, indeed, make you feel better and happier. It’s become a daily habit to drink a cup (me half) together in the afternoon.

    More people should reach for Yerba Mate instead of pills when they’re feeling depressed or low. It’s way healthier and just as effective in the long term.

    Thanks so much for this thorough info.

    Best wishes,

    Keryn

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment Keryn!

      The right amount of yerba mate can be very useful before yoga practice and meditation. The theobromine in yerba mate truly is good for your serotonin levels. I also drink yerba mate (almost) every day. For depressed people, I would definitely recommend trying yerba mate, healthy diet and regular exercise before taking any medicine pills.

      Cheers,
      Joonas

      Reply
  2. I’ve not been much of a coffee or tea drinker – I tend to avoid caffeine because I don’t like the ‘buzz’ it gives me. Reading the differences between Yerba Mate and tea and coffee, it sounds like it might be a drink that still gives an energy kick, but not in the same way that coffee or tea does. I think I need to read up more!

    Reply
  3. I never heard of this drink does the flavor resemble tea or coffee?
    Also, theophylline is a drug used to treat asthma, chronic bronchitis, and other lung issues. It’s a bronchodilator so I guess it could help with yoga breathing and the caffeine would help with focus.

    Reply
    • Hi Melissa!

      The flavor is closer to green tea than coffee, but still quite different. You have to try it yourself!

      Yes, I think yerba mate tea is excellent for yoga breathing and other exercises too. I have allergies and it seems to help with that too.

      -Joonas

      Reply
  4. I have never heard of yerba mate before. As an avid coffee enthusiast and occasional tea drinker my body knows all about the buzz left after one too many a cup. The benefits of using this as an alternative to caffeine seem extremely beneficial. How would you describe the flavour?

    Reply
    • Hi Ben,

      The flavor of yerba mate is kind of grassy and earthy, it is also a little bit bitter. The taste varies according to the product and how it has been grown and aged. When I tasted yerba mate tea the first time, I didn’t think it was very good nor bad. After I started drinking it more often, mainly because I replaced coffee with it, I started to enjoy the taste more. If you make an ice tea from yerba mate and add some lemon and honey, that’s probably the best tasting option for a first-timer!

      -Joonas

      Reply
  5. The title or article is misleading, a person who drinks Yerba Mate with Bombilla (i think it’s probably around 90%-99% of people) will not know how much caffeine is inside, based on this article. Who measures yerba mate in “cups”? Also, why you put a picture of Matcha tea?

    Reply
    • Thank you for the feedback.

      I added information about the caffeine content of yerba mate prepared with the traditional method (gourd and bombilla) where 50g of dry mate and 500ml of water is used. You are right, everyone in South America uses a gourd and bombilla for drinking mate. However, I know many people who drink yerba mate but they are not using a gourd and bombilla. They are not from countries that have a tradition of consuming mate but from the US and Europe. These people prefer brewing mate with a french press or tea bags because they think of it as a herbal tea amongst other herbal teas.

      I have included a picture of matcha tea in a chapter called “Yerba Mate vs. Tea” because I think it fits the context.

      -Joonas

      Reply
  6. I couldn’t live without tea. I try to stay away from caffeine so that makes my options slightly more limited, and tea has so many more choices for decaf than coffee does (I also prefer iced coffee over hot). I love anything fruity, decaf green tea, and lemon black tea. There are very few teas that I dislike other than chai!

    Reply
    • Thanks for commenting Lorrie. Since you are trying to stay away from caffeine herbal teas/infusions are probably the best choice for you.

      -Joonas

      Reply

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