Matcha vs. Yerba Mate: Comparing Flavor, Benefits, and More

Matcha vs. Yerba Mate: Comparing Flavor, Benefits, and More - Lucid™

In the world of herbal beverages, two green contenders have been gaining quite the fan following - matcha and yerba mate. These delightful drinks are not only trendy but also pack a punch of health benefits. 

Still, there are distinct differences in matcha vs. yerba mate, and we intend to fill you in on everything you need to know about their origin, benefits, safety, and more. Let's go:

Key Takeaways

Matcha is a unique form of green tea that incorporates the whole tea leaf, offering enhanced benefits and a bold, earthy flavor.

Yerba mate is an herbal tea known to be a nutritional powerhouse with energy-boosting properties.

They both have similar benefits, drawbacks, and caffeine content, so choosing between the two mostly comes down to taste preference.

What is Matcha? A Cultural Delight From the Heart of Japan

Matcha has been the heart and soul of Japanese tea culture for centuries. The ancient art of cultivating and processing matcha involves carefully shade-growing tea leaves to enhance their vibrant green color and unique flavor. This brilliant green richness is what sets matcha apart from every other tea in the world, and it's also part of the reason that matcha's benefits outweigh that of traditional green tea

Matcha isn't just a beverage; it's an experience! Japanese tea ceremonies are a beautiful blend of tradition, mindfulness, and respect. Sip by sip, you'll savor the harmonious dance of matcha and tranquility.

How is Matcha Made?

To create the fine matcha powder used to make this traditionally frothy beverage, the tea is first shade-grown with pristine care. Shading the leaves enhances chlorophyll production, which adds numerous benefits and an earthy flavor. The tea leaves are hand-picked, steamed, dried, and then stone-ground into a silky powder.

This process ensures the tea retains all its healthful goodness and velvety smoothness without over-processing or risking contamination.

What is Yerba Mate? A Brief History of Yerba Mate in South America

Meanwhile, in the land of tango and soccer, yerba mate has been cherished by South Americans for centuries. With a history as rich as its taste, yerba mate holds a special place in the hearts of its enthusiasts. It's well known for its energy-boosting properties, and each sip carries a delightful combination of earthiness and vigor.

Yerba mate is more than just a drink; it's a social ritual. Sharing a gourd of mate with friends and family fosters unity and connection in South American cultures.

How is Yerba Mate Made? 

Its cultivation is just as involved and careful as that of matcha. Unlike many teas (including matcha) that are derived from the Camellia Sinensis plant, yerba mate comes from the leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis tree. The leaves are dried and aged for months to years. Then, they may be ground into a fine powder, or more commonly, steeped whole in hot water. 

Benefits of Matcha vs Yerba Mate

Matcha Benefits

Matcha is renowned for its vitality-boosting benefits, and is often used as a spiritual tool for reaching a state of zen that enhances focus and, in the modern world, productivity. Here’s what we know about matcha’s benefits:

  • Rich in Antioxidants - Catechins and EGCG: Matcha boasts a superhero lineup of antioxidants that help fight free radicals and keep you feeling fresh and youthful. Catechism and EGCG in matcha are both associated with many of the benefits linked to matcha, like the ability to protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

    Some sources suggest that the antioxidant content of matcha is up to 137 times higher than some low quality tea brands, and even 3 times higher than leading brands.
  • Boosts Metabolism and Aids Weightloss: With matcha in your corner, your metabolism gets a boost that helps you stay fit and fabulous. The combination of caffeine and catechins in these teas has been linked to increased calorie burning and improved fat oxidation.

    In one study consisting of 13 female participants, consuming matcha before a brisk walk was linked to enhanced fat burning. In general, research has confirmed that there is a link between EGCG and increased fat burning, though the limited evidence makes it difficult to say how much of an impact it may have on overall weight loss.
  • L-theanine for Enhanced Focus and Relaxation: Matcha's unique combo of L-theanine and caffeine offers you calm alertness without the caffeine jitters. 

    In fact, in combination, L-Theanine and caffeine may promote each other's nootropic benefits, enhancing focus, memory, and more. It's like a zen master and an espresso shot had a love child. For this reason, matcha is widely considered a nootropic superfood that can enhance focus and mental clarity.

Yerba Mate Benefits

  • Abundance of Vitamins and Minerals: Yerba mate contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, E, B, and more. It truly is like a multivitamin in a cup. Sip your way to a nourished body and mind.
  • High in Antioxidants and Polyphenols: With its potent antioxidant army, yerba mate helps your body fend off the effects of oxidative stress. Some sources say that drinking approximately one liter of yerba mate daily will cover a significant portion of your elemental mineral and antioxidant needs. 
  • Increases Energy, Mental Alertness: Need a gentle pick-me-up without the caffeine rollercoaster? Yerba mate's got your back! Yerba mate has been found to contain approximately 80 milligrams of caffeine per cup, similar to a cup of coffee. This means that it may improve cognitive performance similarly to other caffeinated beverages. 
  • Boosted Physical Performance: Yerba Mate’s caffeine boost may also stimulate physical performance. A 2014 study revealed that participants given a 1-gram capsule of ground yerba mate leaves right before exercise burned 24% more fat during moderate intensity exercise. 

    By increasing fat reliance during exercise, your body will hold into carb stores longer, providing a quick energy burst during the most vigorous parts of activity. So, it’s thought that yerba mate may help to increase athletic output during critical high-intensity moments.
  • Supports Weight Loss: According to research, yerba mate could be effective for reducing body weight, belly fat, and overall body mass index. In one 2015 study, participants who were overweight and who were taking 3 g of yerba mate powder per day lost an average of 1.5 pounds (lbs) over 12 weeks, compared to the placebo participants who gained an average of 6.2 pounds during the same trial period.

Side Effects and Considerations

Matcha Side Effects

For some, too much matcha can lead to a jittery situation. Moderation is key! Other side effects may include:

  • Caffeine-related effects: Matcha contains caffeine, which can lead to side effects such as:
    • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
    • Jitters or restlessness
    • Increased heart rate or palpitations
    • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Stomach upset: Some individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, including:
    • Nausea
    • Upset stomach
    • Diarrhea
  • Allergic reactions: People with a sensitivity to green tea or specific components of matcha may experience allergic reactions, such as:
    • Rash or hives
    • Itching or swelling
    • Difficulty breathing
  • Interference with medications: Matcha may interact with certain medications, including blood thinners or medications for heart conditions, potentially reducing their effectiveness or causing adverse effects. It's important to consult a healthcare professional before consuming matcha if you are taking medications.
  • Heavy metal contamination: There have been concerns about some matcha products being contaminated with heavy metals due to the way they are grown and processed. Regular consumption of contaminated matcha may lead to heavy metal accumulation in the body, which can have adverse health effects over time.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consume matcha in moderation due to its caffeine content.
  • Iodine content: Matcha may contain a significant amount of iodine, which can be problematic for individuals with thyroid disorders. Excessive iodine intake can interfere with thyroid function.
  • Bone health concerns: Some studies have suggested that excessive green tea consumption, including matcha, may hinder the body's ability to absorb calcium, potentially affecting bone health if not balanced with a calcium-rich diet.

It's essential to consume matcha in moderation and be aware of individual sensitivities. If you experience any adverse effects or have concerns about matcha consumption, it's best to consult a healthcare professional.

Yerba Mate Side Effects 

Don't overindulge on mate if you're caffeine-sensitive or have allergies to its botanical cousins. In general, yerba mate side effects are similar to matcha and may include:

  • Caffeine-related effects: Yerba mate contains caffeine, which can lead to side effects similar to those of other caffeinated beverages, including:
    • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
    • Nervousness or anxiety
    • Increased heart rate or palpitations
    • Jitters or restlessness
  • Gastrointestinal issues: Some individuals may experience digestive discomfort, such as:
    • Upset stomach
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea
  • Allergic reactions: Certain people may be sensitive to yerba mate and could experience allergic reactions, such as:
    • Skin rash or hives
    • Itching or swelling
    • Difficulty breathing
  • Interference with medications: Yerba mate may interact with certain medications, potentially reducing their effectiveness or causing adverse effects. It's essential to consult a healthcare professional before consuming yerba mate if you are taking medications.
  • Potential carcinogenic risk: Studies have suggested that drinking yerba mate at very high temperatures may increase the risk of esophageal cancer. The risk may be related to the heat of the beverage and the formation of carcinogenic compounds during the preparation process.
  • Impact on iron absorption: Yerba mate contains compounds that can inhibit the absorption of dietary iron, which could lead to iron deficiency in susceptible individuals.
  • Bone health concerns: Excessive yerba mate consumption has been associated with a potential reduction in bone mineral density, possibly due to its high fluoride content, raising concerns about long-term bone health.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consume yerba mate in moderation due to its caffeine content, as excessive caffeine intake can have adverse effects on the pregnancy or nursing baby.

As with any food or beverage, it's important to consume yerba mate in moderation and be aware of individual sensitivities. If you experience any adverse effects or have concerns about yerba mate consumption, it's best to consult a healthcare professional.

How to Drink Matcha vs Yerba Mate

In general, matcha and yerba mate are both used the same way. A couple of cups of either a day will keep you in the safe zone while providing a significant cognitive and physical boost. Still, the way that these two traditional teas are prepared are different. Take a look: 

Matcha Preparation

To make matcha, a small amount of stone ground matcha powder is whisked in a “W” motion with hot water in a ceramic bowl using a special tea whisk. This creates a frothy and velvety beverage with a smooth, rich taste. 

The entire process, steeped in tradition, results in an invigorating and captivating drink enjoyed by tea enthusiasts worldwide. Matcha's versatility makes it a star in both traditional tea ceremonies and modern treats like matcha lattes and desserts.

Yerba Mate Preparation

Yerba mate, a traditional South American beverage, is prepared with a gourd (called "mate") and a metal straw (known as "bombilla"). The yerba mate leaves are dried, aged, and ground into a greenish-brown herb. The mate is filled two-thirds with yerba mate leaves, and hot water is added. 

Sipped through the bombilla, the infusion is shared among friends or family in a circle, fostering a sense of camaraderie and tradition. 

Yerba Mate or Matcha: Which Herbal Beverage to Choose?

  • Personal Preferences - Taste, Caffeine Sensitivity, and Desired Effects: Are you in the mood for a Zen garden or a South American fiesta? Your taste buds will guide you to the right cup.
  • Consideration of Cultural Significance and Ritual Practices: Respect and honor the heritage of these beverages while embracing them in your own way.
  • Application in Various Lifestyle Contexts - Work, Relaxation, Socializing: Matcha for laser-focused productivity, yerba mate for friendly gatherings - choose your potion for every occasion.

Try Lucid Nootropic Matcha, Coffee, or Chai to Boost Cognitive Energy and Enhance Vitality

Lucid beverages contain a blend of brain-boosting nootropics + powerful mushrooms designed to unlock your brain's full potential so you can zone in on what's important. 

Ready to become lucid?  Check out our starter kit. 

Older post Newer post