The Ladies' Tea Guild

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Yerba mate tasting in San Jose!

Yerba mate gourd with straw. Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation.
Join the South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild for their August event, which will be a tasting class featuring different kinds of yerba mate, led by local tea expert Stephanie Thompson. Yerba mate and other refreshments, and all brewing and tasting equipment will be provided. Here's the event information:

Date: Saturday, August 14, 2010, 2 p.m.
Location: a private home in the Berryessa area of San Jose.
Cost: $25 (Ladies' Tea Guild members)/ $30 (non-members)
Suggested Costume: modern dress, or South American-inspired.

Contact the South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild at for more information or to buy a ticket. Credit card payments accepted through PayPal (e-mail and the Director can send you an invoice), until Friday, August 13th!

So what is yerba mate anyway? Yerba mate is a South American herb that has come onto the North American beverage stage within the last 10 years. It is one of the three known plants to be natural sources of caffeine, along with tea and coffee. It has been enjoyed by the Gurarani people of Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil for centuries. The plant’s Latin name is Ilex paraguariensis, also known as the yerba tree – and a relative of the holly -- and it is native to a small area of South America. It produces leaves which are cut, dried, and infused similarly to true tea; the infusion is served in a special gourd cup – called a cuia or guampa -- and is drunk through a straw – or bombilla -- which contains a strainer to remove the leaf pieces.

As with tea and coffee, yerba mate tends to be an “acquired taste.” It is said to resemble green tea in flavor. Proponents of the beverage sometimes claim that yerba mate is caffeine-free, but that is not really true. The energy-increasing substance in yerba mate is called mateine (i.e. the energy stuff that’s in yerba mate), but it is another form of caffeine (i.e. the energy stuff that's in coffee). However, yerba mate is said to be less addictive than coffee, less likely to cause the “jitters” from over-consumption, and it shares over 100 of the almost 200 beneficial chemical compounds in true tea. It is also touted as an appetite suppressant. Come and see what it's all about!

“Tea 101: yerba mate tea”
“Know your yerba mate” by Chris Cason, Fresh Cup magazine, July 2010 issue,
“Yerba mate History and Culture”

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Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)