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We recently received a partial shipment of this year's yerba mate. The crop was harvested in May of last year and as Jack proudly says from the ranch, "it is all hand harvested and hand filtered!" When the shipment arrived, I was transformed back to my childhood, eagerly waiting for the first bag to be opened— just like I used to wait for the cake to be cut! I quickly gathered some of our new shipment in a bag and went to my office to brew. Ahhh, the aroma and flavor took me to the middle of the jungle in Paraguay. Not only is the appearance of this yerba beautiful, the flavor is fresh, earthy and has a nice finish.

Because yerba mate is relatively new to North America, it poses challenges from a marketing standpoint. Many consumers are under the impression that all yerba derived from South America contains a blend of sticks and stems. For the most part, that is true. However, it doesn't have to be that way! We've embraced this notion as we continue to educate our customers about yerba mate and the different production methods prevalent which result in various grades of product.

Like any agricultural product, yerba mate is influenced by the environment in which it grows. The ecosystem, amount of water, sun, etc. determine the end result. If you are currently a yerba drinker, or thinking of becoming a yerba drinker, the first thing to know is Yerba Mate is not a generic name. All yerba coming out of South America is not the same. Here are some things to look for when searching out quality yerba mate.

  • Growing environment— Farm Grown, Organic, Sustainable, Wild Harvest
    We are the only company of which I'm aware who has a wild harvest product. Our yerba grows in the jungle on our partner's ranch in Paraguay. This practice is to not to be confused with sustainably grown yerba mate. As part of our "wild harvest" approach, we leave the entire forest intact. Sustainable organic growers often leave the upper canopy in place, but clear the jungle floor. Here they plant and grow nice neat rows under the canopy. Not as friendly to the environment, but much better than farm grown yerba.

  • Absence of sticks and stems
    For over five hundred years, harvesters of yerba mate have included the sticks and stems in the final product. Some believe it mellows out the mate, and some believe it keeps the bombilla from getting clogged. I agree with the bombilla part, but the fact is, the sticks and stems do nothing for the flavor or add nothing to the nutritional aspect. However, it does add weight. I suggest taking a sieve to separate the sticks and stems and you will see just how much tea leaf you actually have and how much sticks and powder is present.

  • Absence of powder
    Even if you purchase product sin palo (without sticks or stems), one should look out for a high amount of powder in the bag. This could be a combination of ground up sticks and stems. One of the leading Argentine brands of yerba has a traditional grade product with sticks and stems, as well as a sin palo blend. When asked about the ratio of the sin palo blend, they indicated " still has about 15% sticks, stems, AND powder!"
Aviva Yerba Mate
A Leading Competitor

These three factors are what separate quality yerba mate from the more generic farm grown yerba mate. The culmination of these three factors and others is what makes Aviva's wild harvest yerba mate special. Because our yerba is grown in the jungle, in its natural ecosystem, it has the potential to possess more naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than any yerba coming out of South America (referenced from a recent study on shade-grown versus direct sunlight). Aviva yerba also has less caffeine than coffee, green or black tea. Rest assured, we have had our yerba tested by an accredited laboratory and that is why I personally know every cup of our wild harvest yerba I put in my body is one cup closer to good health. Stay green and the next time you meet a new friend, offer them some mate. "When one offers a cup of mate, he offers a cup of friendship."

A REMINDER OF THIS MONTH'S SPECIAL.....This is an exclusive offer only available to our newsletter subscribers. For the month of February, order two boxes of 25ct tea bags and get a third box FREE! Limit one per order. This offer is good for any flavor of Aviva yerba mate that we sell in 25-count packages. Follow this link to take advantage of the offer!


Dan Garcia
Founder, Aviva Ltd.

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