We all have our “happy place” that we go to feel good. Some retreat to their man cave, others go shoe shopping, some visit mom and dad. Me? I walk the isles at Ruben’s Grocery. Bizarre right? I agree. I have no clue why I do it, but I just do. There are some isles which have things I buy all the time and other isles that I shy away from because I have no idea what lies on those shelves.
On this particular visit I found myself on isle #2. Isle #2 is not my favorite, mostly because it’s full of things that I don’t know how to use or just seem too foreign for me to get excited about. But I wanted to learn and there were endless bags of this tea-like product that you drink. Here’s what I found: There is a plant, a shrub really, that grows 50 feet tall in central America. It’s called YERBA MATÉ.
What fascinated me was there were so many different bags of this stuff it warranted the question, “Ruben, why on Earth do you carry so many of basically the exact same product?!”
Ruben said, “We get as much as we can get our hands on because we want our customers to have great choices. We carry everything from the least expensive to the most expensive. Marc, we don’t have a private brand and we don’t want one. We want to give our customers as many choices as possible and not push any private label products. I love going around the world and bringing our customers as much variety as possible. And it’s not just the Yerba Maté Marc, we do it with everything until we run out of room on the shelves. Breads, cheeses, meats, wine. It’s why you come here. You pass three other “major” grocery stores to get here because of that one fact: Our cool stuff from all over the world! And all those products are here because we listen; we listen to the customer and we do as they ask.” And he’s exactly right. (I also pass a La Michoacana and a Walmart grocery store too).
Wait… What was I talking about? Oh yeah. This Yerba Maté business.
Yerba Maté has the “strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate,” all in one beverage.
Of the six commonly used stimulants in the world: coffee, tea, kola nut, cocoa and guarana, Yerba Maté triumphs as the most balanced, delivering both energy and nutrition. Think of it like Red Bull that your doctor would approve of you drinking. Yerba Maté is made from the naturally caffeinated and nourishing leaves of the South American rainforest holly tree. For centuries, South America’s Aché Guayakí tribe have sipped Yerba Maté from a traditional maté gourd for its rejuvenative effects. These rainforest people find tremendous invigoration, focus, and nourishment in Yerba Maté.
This stuff is super good for you, and I’m learning tons about it online as I research it. I’m sort of surprised that it’s not better known here in the United States.
The leaves of the Maté tree naturally contain 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids and a lot of antioxidants, too. In fact, The Pasteur Institute and the Paris Scientific society in 1964 concluded, “it is difficult to find a plant in any area of the world equal to Maté in nutritional value,” and that Yerba Maté contains “practically all of the vitamins necessary to sustain life.” (100% cut and pasted as I’m not nearly that smart).
Yerba Maté contains caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine, which are well-known stimulants also found in tea, coffee and chocolate. The caffeine content varies between that of green tea and coffee. Unlike tea, Yerba Maté has a low tannin content so it can be strong like coffee with out becoming extremely bitter. Unlike coffee, Yerba Maté is not oily and acid forming, so it is less likely to cause stomach acid and jitters. Yerba Maté can be drank hot, or cold, served with milk and honey, or even iced with lemon and mint. The combinations are endless.
Ruben’s stocks over 50 varieties of Yerba Maté and his customers say his collection is probably the largest in the world. Expect to pay anywhere from $5.99 up to $29. Just like coffee, Yerba Maté has lots of different qualities and procedures. Add a procedure, add a dollar. I’m actually drinking some right now. It’s not bad, and I think it may have helped me in writing, what people will refer to for centuries as, the greatest article ever written about Yerba Maté. You are welcome.