What's the difference between yerba mate and matcha?! Perhaps due to their similar names, or to the fact that they're both teas, the two are often confused. We've been asked about the differences many times, so we wanted to provide a comparative summary. At the end of the day, both have tremendous health benefits and are a great substitute for coffee, energy drinks and the like. We obviously have our preference though ;)
Mate: Pronounced "mah-teh". Also known as "yerba mate".
Matcha: Pronounced "ma-cha".
Mate: Discovered by the Guarani Indians of South America.
Matcha: Brought to Japan from China in the 12th Century by the Buddhist Monk Eisai.
Mate: Ilex Paraguariensis plant. Leaves are not shaded. Leaves are dried and broken up.
Matcha: Camellia Sinensis plant. Leaves are shaded prior to harvest. Leaves are steamed, dried and ground into a fine powder.
Mate: The traditional drink is made by steeping the dried leaves in 4-8 oz. of hot water to form a tea. See here.
Matcha: The traditional drink is made by adding 2-3 oz. of hot water to the powder, and then whisking both together into a frothy tea. See here.
Mate: The tea is sipped from a hollow gourd via a metal straw*.
Matcha: The tea is sipped from the rim of a ceramic (or glass) bowl.
*This study revealed that high consumption of mate may increase the risk of lung, esophageal and oral cancers, due potentially in part to its consumption at high temperatures through a metal straw.
Health - Vitamins
Mate & Matcha: Both contain vitamins/minerals, including Vitamin C, Zinc, and Potassium.
Health - Cholesterol
Mate & Matcha: Both have been found to lower cholesterol.
Health - Detoxification
Mate & Matcha: Both contain chlorophyll and dietary fibers, which are natural detoxifiers.
Health - Antioxidants
Mate: ORAC value = approximately 6000 units. The primary antioxidant is chlorogenic acid, which is known to slow the body's release of glucose.
Matcha: ORAC value = approximately 1300 units. The primary antioxidant is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is known to boost the body's metabolism.
Health - Amino Acids
Mate: Contains approximately 15-20 amino acids. Does not contain L-Theanine.
Matcha: Contains approximately 15-20 amino acids. Contains L-Theanine, which stimulates the production of alpha wave activity in the brain, resulting in a state of calm alertness.
Health - Catechins
Mate: Contains no catechins.
Matcha: Contains catechins, which help fight bacteria and infections. Green tea's catechins are generally known to boost metabolism, lower blood sugar and positively correlate with weight loss. Additionally, as matcha is digested, caffeine molecules bind to catechins. This binding slows the breakdown of caffeine and therefore counteracts the usual negative side effects. No jitter. No crash.
Mate: Approximately 85mg of caffeine per 8-oz. serving**.
Matcha: Approximately 34mg of caffeine per 3-oz. serving**.
**Varies by manufacturer.