Yerba Mate vs Coffee: What’s the Difference?

Yerba Mate vs Coffee: What’s the Difference?

Perhaps you’re looking for a healthier alternative to coffee and you’ve been suggested Yerba mate.

You might even be looking to know more about how different yerba mate vs coffee are because you’ve witnessed a lot of people making the switch.

Not only do Yerba mate and coffee have their similarities, but they also have a lot of health benefits to offer.

But if you’re going to be deciding between either, you need to know what sets them apart.

Let’s start by talking about what Yerba mate is...

What is Yerba Mate?

Yerba mate is a type of herbal tea made using the leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis plant native to Paraguay, Argentina, Southern Brazil, and Uruguay.

It is associated with its restorative, uplifting, and medicinal properties.

In South America, it’s called “the drink of the gods” for that reason!

Drinking Yerba where it originated could be considered a ritual or social activity and is usually drunk from a gourd-shaped cup and out of a metal straw. Just like tea, you prepare it by steeping the dried leaves in hot water.

Key Differences

  • Taste


    Yerba mate has a unique, distinctive taste that is described to have an earthy or grassy taste to it.

    Like coffee, it could be called an acquired taste – though Yerba mate has a distinctly bitter undertone, it is not as bitter as rich black coffee.

    But its intensity or bitterness can be compared to regular brewed coffee vs. espresso. Its rich flavor is somewhat reminiscent of green tea.

    The more you drink Yerba, the more you’ll be able to notice some notes of honey, lemon, or even chocolate.

    Some brewers or sellers even add extra flavors like mint or vanilla to give it a more pleasant taste.

  • Caffeine Content


    How much caffeine coffee holds depends on how it is brewed.

    But usually, the same amount of Yerba or coffee will give you approximately the same caffeine content.

    However, it is said that Yerba matte has slightly less caffeine according to the Journal of Food Science.

    That being said, both drinks contain a high level of caffeine; but the caffeine in either seems to work differently. Though both will give you a kick, herb affects your nervous system in a different way than coffee does.

    The energy that comes from drinking Yerba mate is more of a slow build-up than the instant boost and buzz of coffee.

    Yerba has theobromine and theophylline, two chemical compounds with soothing and calming properties.

    Because of that, Yerba mate provides more of a dual-action of both energizing and soothing due to those compounds’ combination with caffeine.

    While drinking Yerba mate, you won’t get the jittery or crashing effects that are associated with coffee. It is also much less likely to give you an upset stomach.

  • Benefits of Yerba Mate


    Yerba is rich in a chemical compound called polyphenol that has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.

    It also reduces cholesterol, stabilizes blood glucose levels and protects against diabetes, and promotes weight loss for its ability to suppress appetite. It also promotes liver and heart health.

  • Benefits of Coffee


    Coffee also has an impressive set of health benefits.

    Besides boosting your mood and getting you to focus better, drinking coffee can aid your digestion by boosting your metabolism and pumping the production of stomach acids.

    Similar to yerba mate, it also has antioxidants and can reduce risks of obesity and diabetes.

    But coffee also has risk-reducing properties when it comes to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer. It even lowers your risk of mortality!


So there you have it!

Yerba mate and coffee are both caffeinated drinks that can both wake you up and offer you plenty of health benefits.

If you’re looking for a less jittery energy boost, yerba is your go-to.

The thing about yerba, though, is that it’s much less accessible than coffee.

And though both can be a great aid when it comes to long-term medical conditions, coffee can reduce the risk of more life-threatening diseases.

But if it’s an alternative to coffee you’re looking for instead of just deciding between either, yerba is definitely one of your best bets.