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Yerba Mate South Africa

Yerba Mate South Africa imports traditional yerba mate tea directly from farms in Paraguay and Brazil for your enjoyment in South Africa.

City bowl / central city, Cape Town, Western Cape


Website www.yerbamatesouthafrica.com    Mobile 079 863 6841    Email jovi@yerbamatesouthafrica.com

Story by Jovald Henriksen

Yours in health

"La salud es de todos", in Spanish means, health belongs to all. This was a lesson in humanity I learned when I spent a year in Argentina while sharing with their citizens the country’s national drink, yerba mate.

Generally referred to as mate (pronounced “maté” – with emphasis on the “e”) the beverage is an infusion of hot water and the dried leaves of an indigenous tree called the yerba mate tree (Ilex Paraguariensis). During preparation, the leaves are treated with the kind of care you may take making a warm bath for a baby. The yerba is distinctly rich in nutrients, but sensitive to hot water, therefore the kettle is never brought to boiling point. The water should be hot yet palatable. Traditionally, as an extra precaution, the leaves first get soaked with cold water in a calabash gourd from which the infusion is consumed using a special tea straw (with a filter on the end). Finally, once the matero (preparer) is happy, the gourd is topped up with hot water and he/she will have the privilege of drinking the first and strongest serving. The taste is intense and earthy. The effect is nothing short of what a gulp from the fountain of youth would feel like. Once finished, the matero will top up the gourd again for the next person, and so it will go on until the flavour is out.

At first I thought nothing more of it than a simple cultural drink, but I was soon to discover the real reason that so many millions of South Americans love maté.

Mate aids concentration

I used to teach English to corporates at their place of work in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I first learned about maté culture and its physiological benefits . While the class was mostly very cooperative and productive, I sometimes found it to be a great challenge to keep these individuals focused. When I taught grammar, many of them got bored and distracted. Eventually I made the observation that our most productive times as a class were when maté was being passed around the learning table. I began to encourage drinking maté in class and I also learned to love the drink which dates back to the pre-Colombian era. Little did I know that this teaching methodology, or shall I say matéology would become the foundation of two South African businesses I would start.

The birth of "matéology"

About a year later, back in South Africa I started to teach Spanish in Stellenbosch and brought the "matéology" home. To my big surprise, everybody loved it and insisted on having more mate in class week after week. Just as I had planned, the maté kept everyone awake and more focused. The popularity of the drink led to my second business: selling yerba mate to Spanish students, which led to other students buying it to help them study more productively, which eventually led to a facebook page and online yerba mate shop, www.yerbamatesouthafrica.com .

A business with a social mission

A new business was born and a new mission, in which I would leverage the physiological benefits of yerba mate in an attempt to share health with South Africa. The diets of too many South Africans are characterised by coffee, bread and deep-fried foods. The daily consumption of any of these substances leads to obesity, exhaustion, disease of the gut and depression. In fact, according to Compass Group Southern Africa’s 2011 report, South Africa has the third most obese individuals in the world. It should come as no surprise when you look at the attitude some South Africans have toward food: doughnuts, vetkoek, bunny chow, deep fried this and deep fried that. In my view the problem is not the affordability of these foods, but rather the lack of education many South Africans have about food. A part of Yerba Mate SA’s mission is to make South Africans more productive by introducing a new healthy habit to South Africa. The point is that all South Africans can benefit from yerba mate and I think it should become a natural staple beverage in this country so that South Africans may look better, feel better and do better.


About Yerba Mate South Africa

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Yerba Mate South Africa promotes the consumption of yerba mate as a healthier alternative to other commercial beverages (hot and cold) that South Africans drink on a daily basis. Yerba mate provides the same stimulating effect that other caffeine containing beverages do, but it is green, natural and rich in a much larger variety of other vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino-acids.

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