Yerba Mate vs. Coffee: Which Caffeine Fixes Your Cravings?

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on July 5th, 2023

In the realm of popular caffeinated beverages, coffee has long ruled supreme. However, a contender has been quietly gaining ground — yerba mate. This unique drink with a loyal global following boasts a myriad of health benefits, a distinct flavor, and a rich cultural history.

In this article, we’ll journey through the intriguing world of yerba mate and coffee. We’ll unravel their distinct origins, nutritional values, caffeine contents, and effects on the body, ultimately helping you make an informed choice catered to your preferences and lifestyle.

yerba mate vs coffee

Diving into Yerba Mate and Coffee: An Enlightening Comparison

Yerba Mate (per 1 oz)Coffee (per 8 oz)
Caffeine Content30-50 mg95-200 mg
Health BenefitsAntioxidants, Improved digestion, Boosted immune system, Reduced risk of heart disease, Improved mental clarity and focusAntioxidants, Lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Lower risk of Parkinson’s disease, Lower risk of liver cancer, Improve cognitive function
ProsContains less caffeine than coffee, Provides a smoother energy boost, Contains antioxidants and nutrients that support overall healthContains more caffeine for a stronger boost, Has a bolder and more complex flavor profile, Can be enjoyed in many different ways (e.g. brewed, espresso, latte, etc.)
ConsMay not provide enough energy for those looking for a strong boost, Requires special preparation tools (gourd and bombilla)May cause jitters or anxiety in some people, Can cause acid reflux or digestive issues, May be addictive and lead to dependence, Can be expensive depending on the quality
PreparationSteeped in hot water using a gourd and bombilla (metal straw)Ground and brewed in a coffee maker or French press, or brewed as espresso
Brewing Time3-5 minutes2-4 minutes for drip coffee, 1-2 minutes for espresso
FlavorEarthy, herbaceous, slightly bitterBold, bitter, nutty, chocolatey, or fruity depending on the roast and bean origin
OriginSouth AmericaEthiopia
Drinking CultureSocial, ceremonial, and medicinal drink in South AmericaPopular worldwide as a morning or afternoon pick-me-up
Typical Serving Size1 oz of yerba mate steeped in 6-8 oz of hot water8 oz cup of brewed coffee
Caffeine Calculation30-50 mg of caffeine per 1 oz of yerba mate95-200 mg of caffeine per 8 oz of brewed coffee

In essence, yerba mate and coffee offer similar amounts of caffeine per serving, approximately 75-80 mg, making them both reliable choices for a caffeine boost. The choice between the two often boils down to personal preference and desired health benefits.

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The Unique Caffeine Journey of Yerba Mate and Coffee

While coffee might be known for its swift jolt of caffeine, which may occasionally cause jitters or a crash, yerba mate’s caffeine content unfolds differently. It offers a smoother, gradual energy boost — a feature that renders yerba mate a more favorable option for those wanting to evade the rollercoaster-like caffeine effects of coffee.

Interestingly, yerba mate houses more caffeine than tea but less than coffee. A serving of yerba mate equates to a cup of green tea in caffeine content, making it an ideal choice for those seeking to moderate their caffeine intake.

For those who appreciate tradition, brewing yerba mate the traditional way can result in a caffeinated brew of around 200 mg per serving. Despite this high caffeine content, the unique composition of yerba mate allows for a more balanced and gentle caffeine experience. Just bear in mind to adjust your brewing methods if you’re sensitive to caffeine.

Coffee vs. Yerba Mate: An Intimate Look at Health Benefits

Yerba mate offers unique health benefits, thanks to its components. Rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, yerba mate can reduce oxidative stress, linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It also contains theobromine, promoting blood flow and reducing blood pressure, and theophylline, which can act as a bronchodilator, helping treat respiratory conditions.

On the other hand, coffee, with its higher caffeine content, provides a strong energy boost and has compounds beneficial for reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and liver disease. The bottom line is that while coffee and yerba mate are both reliable sources of caffeine with unique flavors, their effects and potential health benefits differ significantly, providing an engaging journey for both casual drinkers and caffeine enthusiasts alike.

The Traditional Brew of Yerba Mate

Yerba mate has various brew methods, but the traditional style retains its authenticity and cultural essence. To get a taste of this heritage, you need a gourd and a metal straw called a bombilla.

Fill the gourd with yerba mate leaves, add hot water, insert the bombilla, and your infusion is ready to drink. It’s an ancient ritual, a significant part of South American culture, and a shared experience that strengthens bonds between friends and family.


So, is yerba mate healthier than coffee? The truth is, both have their merits and drawbacks, and the choice often comes down to personal preference. But for those looking for a smooth energy transition, a unique taste, and rich cultural experience, yerba mate could be the perfect caffeine source to explore.

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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.


Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.